Today I’m delighted to be a part of the blog tour for Joyce Schneider’s latest novel, Her Last Breath. Due to my TBR, which I’m almost certain multiplies by itself, I haven’t had a chance to read Joyce’s books , YET!!! But I will get to them eventually!
Anyway, I have a great guest post for you all today that Joyce has kindly written for my stop on the blog tour. You can catch it further down the page!
About the book:
Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can’t remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help. Can she trust either of them – or even her friends? Detective Kerri Blasco battles her police bosses believing Mari is innocent…but is she?
Struggling with the Plot Writing Her Last Breath, by J.A. Schneider
Her Last Breath feels like the most ambitious book I’ve written.
Fear Dreams, though equally scary, focused more on Liddy Barron, the sensitive artist fearing insanity, with NYPD Detective Kerri Blasco running second as the story progresses and she tries to unravel what really haunts Liddy. And my Embryo medical thrillers were pretty straightforward crime thrillers. Also, in Fear Dreams there were twists, but the biggest OMG twist came at the end.
Her Last Breath, on the other hand, starts with a double bang – Mari Gill waking to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and Kerri Blasco arriving right away as one of the responding detectives. That double-thrills structure of Mari struggling and Kerri investigating continues throughout the book, sharing space with lots of misdirection on my part, making the reader believe one thing before turning the story on its head.
It was incredibly hard. When I started to write Her Last Breath I had no idea how complex it would become or how, halfway through, I would be plunged into hair-tearing despair, wondering over and over that dreaded thought: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Often, I was stuck, really stuck. Then came to me the most unexpected method for dealing with plotter’s block.
I just let Kerri…think. I showed her thinking, and that helped me push the stressing gray cells. Kerri is a highly intuitive character whose mind is always analyzing, questioning, battling too-easy solutions that other cops latch onto. On days of feeling overwhelmed by the sticky morass of characters and plot threads, what helped me to keep going was just…leaving it to Kerri, who has to be, I guess, my stubborn subconscious. It helped to show her furiously going back over facts, staring again at fingerprints sent by the lab to her laptop, re-reading witness statements with fresh, skeptical eyes. Despite being a crack shot and a terrific cop in the general sense, Kerri’s mind is more along the lines of, well, Sherlock Holmes in the sense that she sees what others don’t, makes connections that others reject. Poirot and his “little gray cells” come to mind, too; also, Patrick Jane in the TV series, The Mentalist, who does his best work just…thinking! Lying flat on his back on a couch at PD headquarters. Cops at Kerri’s station admire, sometimes begrudgingly, her gift for reading people and the language of a crime scene. Sometimes they kid her, tell her she’s psychic. “Noo,” she protests. “This just doesn’t feel right, go deeper!” (Did I mention that she also has a sense of humor?)
Where did this character come from!? I feel a little bit like Geppetto after creating Pinocchio, amazed to see him come to life in full, determined Technicolor and start running around, thinking and doing things on his own.
It’s an interesting idea. Create a character who helps you think? I never planned this, it just happened. Kerri Blasco started out as just one of the detectives in my Embryo medical thrillers, but she grew. Kept pulling me, helped the big gaps in my subconscious mind to kick in, work it all out while I slept, even. Obviously, she is my subconscious, but anything that helps is a relief, right?
This is still the story that most exhausted me, but I’m also excited to continue with my next Kerri Blasco thriller. I’ve decided that I love Kerri, I think I’ll keep her.
She even keeps me away from the Internet.
Huge thanks to Joyce for joining me on the blog today!
You can keep up with the blog tour by checking out the tour poster: