Chrinda Jones, one of our bloggers at Readers Unbound, has recently published her debut crime novel, Darkness Knows Me. Here, she joins me for a discussion of the interplay of reading and writing in her life.
Chris: What particular kinds of books are you drawn to?
Chrinda: I greatly enjoy reading memoirs. I suppose they satisfy my curious side in a legalized voyeuristic sort of way. I also enjoy crime and mystery novels, books on writing and anything that sheds light on why we behave the way we do.
Chris: What books would we be surprised to see on your bookshelves?
Chrinda: If you saw my bookshelves for the first time, you probably wouldn’t expect to find books on the psychology of serial killers, forensics studies, police procedure and textbooks on deviant behaviors, unless you knew I was a crime writer. Since I am usually a pretty mild mannered person, you would probably find the selection a bit disturbing.
Chris: What books do you stay away from?
Chrinda: I will read just about anything, including fix- it manuals and the plastic wrapping on the outside of a block of toilet paper, but I stop at erotic novels. I have no problem with the subject matter, I just find with all the bodice ripping going on, I continually lose the plot. It’s a focus problem for me. When the clothes start flying, plot concentration goes out the window.
Chris: You’ve gone back to school to receive a degree in Psychology, why?
Chrinda: This might sound a bit like overkill, but I went back for the degree so the characters in my books would feel more believable, especially the antagonists. It seems a little extreme, I know, but I’m hoping my characters and the way they are written will be one of the reasons why people will enjoy the Olivia Gates and Will Green crime series.
Chris: Why write crime novels?
Chrinda: Seriously – I think it’s in my blood. Not that I have famous crime/mystery novelists in my family, but there are some very accomplished crime/mystery readers on my mother’s side. You might call crime and mysteries the family genres. My great grandmother read the mystery genre prolifically, hoarding the books in hundreds of neat stacks around her home. When I began writing Darkness Knows Me, my aunts revealed that the same great grandmother aspired to write mysteries. I feel bad that she never took the leap.
Chris: How would you describe the emotional conflict in your two main characters?
Chrinda: Olivia’s biggest struggle is balancing family and faith with her job as a police detective that would consume her from the inside out if she let it. The biggest emotional conflict for Will, a criminal psychology professor, is his past. It makes him feel underserving of the basic things people need to survive emotionally- love, kindness, care- which is the barb under the saddle in his relationship with Olivia.
Chris: What do you find is the hardest thing about writing?
Chrinda: The hardest thing about writing . . . well, I would have to say it’s ignoring the nagging voice that tries to convince me I don’t have anything interesting to say. Fortunately for me, I have ‘nag’ cancelling ear buds.
Chris: First writing memory?
Chrinda: The first writing memory that mattered to me was probably the writing project my sixth grade teacher assigned. We were studying the Oregon Trail, so to make the study real to us, she asked the class to write a diary of the journey as it might be seen through the eyes of a boy or girl making the trek. The diary was a lot of fun to write, and surprisingly, I received a good grade for the effort. I think that might have been the first time I realized I might have a knack for telling a story.
Chris: It seems you left Darkness Knows Me open for a sequel. Can we expect another book in the near future?
Chris: Where can readers find your book?
Chrinda: Darkness Knows Me can be found at Amazon ebooks. In a few months, it can be purchased through the ebook sites at Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, Smashwords and others. A paperback copy will be available soon.
Have a questions about Chrinda’s writing process or her book series? Leave a comment below.