R. Barri Flowers is an award winning criminologist and bestselling author of more than sixty books, including thrillers, true crime, criminology, and young adult mysteries. He’s here today to talk about his latest suspense novel, Before He Kills Again: A Veronica Vasquez Thriller. Enjoy the interview!
When did you decide you wanted to become an author?
I think at some level I knew I wanted to become a writer while still in grade school, where I loved to read everything I could get my hands on.
The idea of becoming a money making writer hit home when I got my Masterâ€™s degree thesis published by an academic publisher shortly after graduationâ€”telling me that there was interest in my writing.
From that point on, I was totally bitten by the writing bug and have been ever since!
Do you have another job besides writing?
I am fortunate enough to be able to write full time at this point in my life. Previous jobs have been in research, security, and retail.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?
Indeed, as noted earlier, I loved reading as a child, planting the seeds for becoming a writer myself. I was big on reading probably all the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books, as well as such classics as The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnÂ and anything by Dr. Seuss.
Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.
My latest book is a crime thriller, BEFORE HE KILLS AGAIN, and first book in a new series. It is about an FBI criminal psychologist and profiler, Veronica Vasquez, who returns to her hometown of Portland, Oregon, to assist the local authorities in apprehending a vicious serial killer, dubbed, :â€The Rose Killerâ€ who kills beautiful women in pairs.
I was inspired to write this novel because of the great interest in fictional serial killers in society, as evidenced by such popular television series as Dexter, Criminal Minds, The Following, and CSI.
With my background in criminology and an expertise in serial killers, I wanted to bring credibility to fictional serial killers in creating this tale.
Having once lived in Portland, I also liked the idea of having the Rose City, as it is known, as the backdrop for the story.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?
The creative process in writing this book basically consisted of thinking through all the key points of what I wanted to happen, crafting strong three-dimensional characters, and using both my actual knowledge on criminality and vivid imagination to tell the tale.
I never use an outline for my novels, preferring to simply keep it free flowing and even surprise myself sometimes on the direction to go.
Did your book require a lot of research?
The book did not require much research, per se, however, for the serial killer villain, I did look at some of my own criminology books on subject to refresh memory on some keep characteristics and related methods to the madness to try and make the perpetrator as realistic as possible.
What was your goal when writing this book?
My goal was to write a page turning thriller that give readers a truly bad but realistic serial killer, while at the same time, presenting a likable and determined FBI profiler, with flaws of herÂ own, in her pursuit of the unsub.
Who is your target audience?
Fans of bestselling thriller and suspense fiction, as well as those who love thriller movies and television seriesâ€”especially those involving a crafty serial murderer and those kin hot pursuit.
What will the reader learn after reading your book?
They will learn that Portland is a great city to live in, in spite of some dangers that are inherent in any big city. Readers will also learn more details into the psyche of serial killers than it typically shown in thriller fiction by authors who lack the knowledge in presenting a more realistic portrayal of both the villain and FBI profiler and criminal psychologist.
They say authors have immensely fragile egosâ€¦ How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?
My feelings are that you need a thick skin to become a successful and long term writer. Reviews, good and bad, are part of the landscape of writing, for better or worse. I always try to look at negative reviews constructively, just as I do with positive reviews. At the end of the day, I believe that great writing will always come with its rewards. If you steadily work at your craft and believe in yourself, you can get there.
Are you a disciplined writer?
As a writer, I am probably as disciplined as they come. It is not uncommon for me to literally spend months holed up in my office till I perfect and complete a book. Taking my craft very seriously, I am not easily distracted by other things when working on a project.
When it comes to writing, are you an early bird, or a night owl?
Definitely an early bird writer. I am usually at my desk working at 7 a.m., seven days a week. If it is a particularly challenging book, I get up even earlier to tackle it, while leaving my nights to spend with family, doing chores, etc.
What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?
I would have to say book promoting through social media works best and is most cost effective as well. I am active on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, CrimeSpace, Goodreads, YouTube, etc., in building my brand and fan base successfully.
Any favorite books or authors?
My favorite books are THE FATAL SHORE by Robert Hughes, 84 CHARING CROSS ROAD by Helene Hanff, and FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD by Thomas Hardy. All three books inspire me in their own way, while captivating at same time for the strength in writing and rich subject matter.
What is the best writing advice youâ€™ve ever received?
I would have to say that the best writing advice Iâ€™ve ever received came from a bestselling crime writer who told me when I first got started: â€œThe thing that separates serious writers from those who arenâ€™t in it for the long haul is the ability to shake off rejections and look at as constructive criticism rather than personal attacksâ€”making yourself a better writer in the process with each rejection letter.â€
Definitely words to live by for any writer willing to work at it to hone your craft till you get where youâ€™re going in finding success in the business.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
Writers can learn more about me on Twitter (@RBarriFlowers), Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._Barri_Flowers), my thriller blog http://hawaiimysteriesauthorrbarriflowers.blogspot.com/, Facebook ((https://www.facebook.com/rbarri.flowers?ref=tn_tnmn), and website, www.rbarriflowers.com
Do you have another book on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?
Would be happy to tell readers about other current and upcoming projects.
Recently published mystery and thriller fiction include a trio of Hawaii based novels, SEDUCED TO KILL IN KAUAI, MURDER IN HONOLULU, and MURDER IN MAUI. All are in print, eBook, and audio.
On young adult mystery front, my new vampire novel, COUNT DRACULAâ€™S TEENAGE DAUGHTER, is out in eBook and print, and soon to be audio.
Also just had a true crime short published, THE PICKAXE KILLERS: Karla Faye Tucker and Daniel Garrett. It is in eBook and soon to be in audio.
Upcoming projects include the next book in my Hawaii thriller series, MURDER ON THE BIG ISLAND, and a young adult mystery, TEEN GHOST AT DEAD LAKE.
Anything else youâ€™d like to say about yourself or your work?
I invite readers to follow me on Twitter and befriend on Facebook.
Here is the book trailer for BEFORE HE KILLS AGAIN: A Veronica Vasquez Thriller:
Thanks for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here!
Enjoyed the interview and hope to do another one soon.