In the third book of the Hallie James Mysteries, Hallie and Ben are hunting a ruthless kidnapper/murderer. The cold-blooded criminal knows the detectives are getting close and will do anything to stop them. Can Hallie and Ben stay alive and save the child’s life?
Will the detectives find enough clues to find the killer before they strike again? DK Herman, has kindly agreed to sit down with me to assist the process of sleuthing through the third novel in her Hallie James series ‘Down Colder’. DK, what germinated the seeds for Hallie’s new adventure?
Down Colder is the third book in this series. I get the ideas for my plots from real life. Everything I see can be turned into something sinister in my mind. The idea for Down Colder came to me in the supermarket check out. I watched a parent take away a screaming, unruly child and thought of a kidnapping. Then after a few days with a tablet and pen, I have my outline.
*Laughs* Getting your next writing idea in the supermarket check-out! I love it! I just hope the parent never finds out that the behavior of their child inspired a kidnapping novel. Were there other many additional experiences from your life that you used to support this central experience of the child’s tantrum to add to the story?
Not as much with this book as in book one, Dig Deeper.
It must be interesting to you as a writer to see your approach towards how the plot of a book is formed change from novel to novel. How do you find the characters have evolved through the course of your work?
The characters evolve from the plots. Sometimes it feels like they are telling me what they are going to do and say.
How did your central characters within this series come and tell you what they wanted to say?
The Hallie James Mysteries evolved from a nightmare. The dream stuck with me for days. I expanded upon it in my mind before picking up a pen and paper. After I finished the first story, I decided to write the book and publish it.
That’s a neat progression from nightmare to published work. What has been so strong about Hallie and her mystery series that pushed you to publish?
My protagonist hates bullies and anyone who takes advantage of others. I’m like Hallie in that respect. Also, older people are not worthless. If you play attention to them, you can learn a great deal. Their experience is priceless.
I’m always astounded by how little people regard those older than themselves, because the older people can often point you in the right direction and save you untold stacks of money and years. Like you said, their experience is priceless. Did you seek the experience of others through research for this novel?
Yes. I research all the time. My stories take place in a town very much like where I live. But I’m not a PI. So, I Google, or ask a pro about anything I don’t know. It’s fun to learn new things.
I know! There’s few things as fun in life as learning something new! What was your big learning during the progress of this novel?
I learned to have more confidence in myself and to be persistent.
Was there any one aspect that you found the most rewards with during this journey of persistence?
I love the entire process.
So there’s nothing you’d changed if you could do this novel over?
Fantastic! Now that you have a little more confidence in your writing ability where are you pointing your power of writing and self-publishing persistence?
I’m writing the second short story in another series. It’s called The Herville Mystery Shorts. These short stories take place in the same town as The Hallie James Mysteries, but Hallie isn’t in them. Different characters from the series pop up in each one. The first is called Mean Street. The new one is titled Still Acres.
Good luck with your progress on your new series! What has drawn you back to keep writing in Hallie’s world, either with or without her?
I enjoy it very much. I love to read, but it’s more fun to write my own stories!
How does your writing fun flourish? Do you keep avid notes that you can use as the basis or weave into your next work?
No, but I should.
If you haven’t felt the need for copious notes so far then you mightn’t need them. So if you’re not a big note-taker how do you find yourself getting in to a new story? Are you one to plan where you and your characters are going to go before you setout in Hallie’s town? Or do you just start walking around and see where you end up?
As the story unfolds, I have changed my mind. Sometimes the characters take over and tell me what they want to do and say.
*Laughs* It is easier when you let them talk, isn’t it! How does your persistence manifest in your writing rhythm?
I write every day because I want to. I get comfortable, either inside my home or on my front porch, and let it flow.
Do you switch on any music to get that flow started?
It depends on my mood. There are days I prefer silence.
I’m guessing the silent days are probably when your characters have so much to say that anything you hear would be a distraction! How do you deal days when your characters aren’t talking to you and nothing seems to flow?
I put the leash on my dog, and we go outside. After a walk, I’m ready to work again.
I’m sure your dog appreciates that recovery strategy! Is editing a piece of the writing puzzle that you like to do yourself?
At this time, I do everything.
Are you working around a full-time job while you do everything for your writing?
I write full time. In the past, I’ve been a CNA and a convenience store manager.
Is writing your top career choice?
I’m where I want to be, right now!
That’s awesome, you can’t ask for much better than that! If someone approached you for advice on how to see great enjoyment from their own self-publishing career, what advice would you give them?
Just go for it!
I’d like to change gears a little now to from the writing point of view to take it a level back to see some of the components of a great writing brain through the fun and fantastic quick fire questions. We’ll start our levelling down with: what is your favourite ocean?
What is your zodiac sign?
Who decides what morality is?
I think that as long as you’re not hurting anyone else, do what makes you happy! The hell with what people think.
Hell yes! Have fun and don’t hurt others – that’s wisdom right there. Are you able to apply that wisdom to the question I’ve been pondering – where is the line between insanity and creativity?
I’ll let you know when I find it.
*Laughs* Finding that line sounds like a tonne of fun! Let’s go a little sugar bender with our next few questions. What is your favourite jellybean flavour?
Yum. And let’s chase up those jellybeans with some ice cream. What’s your favourite flavor?
Toasted marshmallow jellybeans and chocolate chip ice cream. A winning combination after a long day’s work on the latest chapter of your novel. Returning to the literary world, what is your favourite word?
*Laughs* We can’t get off of the sugar theme! Okay, let’s add the mocha latte to the ice-cream and jellybean mix! Before we both collapse from sugar overload is what is your favourite line from your novel that you feel does the best job of enticing and intriguing readers?
Lately, I’ve been off the sauce and on a dating bender.
I hope the dating bender works! DK, thanks for chatting about the joys of writing and sugar with me today and I wish you the best of luck adding new tales to each of your series!
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Down Colder: A Hallie James Mystery, Book 3 ( ASIN: B071WF354V )‘.
Want to find out more about DK Herman? Connect here!