Wednesday, April 25, 2012

L. F. Crawford, Born in Blood

AUTHOR: L.F. Crawford
PUBLISHER: New Concepts Publishing

Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?

I write primarily suspense these days, but I started out writing dark fantasy, then romance, then fantasy romance, then contemporary, humorous romance, then mysteries and suspense/thrillers.  So you’ll find suspense by L.F. Crawford, fantasies by L. Crawford or Louise Crawford, and romantic suspense or contemporary romance by Louise Crawford and Ramona Butler.

Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.

I’m currently promoting BORN IN BLOOD by L.F. Crawford, my first book in a new series about Jane Doe AKA Jane Blackwood, a female stunt helicopter pilot who hooks up with her foster brother, Nelson Blackwood, again after she nearly crashes in a Hollywood stunt because her memories are returning (she can’t remember the first 12 years of her life).  What she doesn’t know is that he’s an freelance assassin and currently killing off drug dealers in Sacramento.  So on her return to Sacramento, she finds out her brother has two detectives trying to nail him for murder.

How long have you been writing? 
For about 20 years.
What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?
I read a lot of spy novels, like Ludlum, and a friend of mine wanted to try writing one together.  That got me started.  Then my first agent wanted me to rewrite my dark fantasy into a romance and after that I started writing romance.
Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?

My initial process is to have a basic idea of the plot, the beginning, middle, and possibly the end, then work on characters with problems that will make the problem-solving around the plot more difficult. Once I work on characters, they often change the ending because of who they are, so I’m not too wedded to my initial ideas. For Jane, not having her memories has life-and-death consequences in the second book, MEMORIES IN BLOOD, when someone from her past finds out she’s alive.

What comes first: the plot or the characters? 
Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?

Right now I love Nelson Blackwood’s character most because he’s a sociopath and it’s interesting to write his point of view and contrast it to Jane’s and also to the detectives.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
All the rewrites after the first draft and the final proof before publication.  By the time I read the proof, it’s been usually 2 or 3 years since the contract and I’m in the middle of some other book.  It’s hard to go back and proof something I’m no longer entrenched in--but it’s also fun to read it and think, “Wow, I wrote that!”
Did your book require a lot of research?

Depends on what you mean by a lot.  I did quite a bit of research on helicopters, flew in one, talked to a female pilot at Silver State Aviation, talked to a mechanic about the best way to sabotage one, etc.  I often buy manuals on the subject so I can highlight information that I might need.

How long does it take to write a book for you?

Usually about a year.  I’ve found I might write 2-3 books over the year, but switch from one to another when I get stuck.  I like having more time to think about problems and what my characters would do.

What are some of the challenges in your writing process?

Getting past the blank white page. Fear! Letting go of the outcome and just writing.

Describe your writing space.  
I have an official desk near a window, but often sit on my couch with my dog and my laptop.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I have a day job and I like it.  I also enjoy walking my dog for exercise!

Brief excerpt from BORN IN BLOOD by L.F. Crawford

The airport had grown quiet, nighttime had fallen, and the only noise I could hear was the blasts of the video game’s helicopter laser guns.  Nelson had cranked up the sound.  I watched him maneuver the joystick he’d plugged into my PC, his dark eyes intent on the screen.

The 3-D imagery of the game looked so darn real it seemed like I was flying down the Nile and between pyramids, using them for cover, then firing on green alien invaders.  Feeling uneasy, I found myself wishing that the problems in my life, since Nelson’s arrival on my doorstep, could be as easily resolved.  I’d returned to Sacramento to get away from that hallucination or memory or whatever it was, away from the near crash, and away from Nick’s marriage proposal.  It seemed I couldn’t escape them here either.

When I heard the phone ring, the blocked Caller ID, I figured it was Detective MacCaffrey and let it go to voice mail.  I didn’t want to talk to him with Nelson listening.  Better to wait until tomorrow, after the charter.

“You’re not going to answer that?” Nelson asked, his gaze fixed on the screen.

I could tell he was going to ask why, so I gestured at the screen.  “How does Neal get a message from this?”

Nelson shut off the game, dropping us into silence.  He straightened, his gaze on the door.

My gut screamed a warning, then the hangar door burst open, banging against the wall.  

Three men in loose black clothing, carrying pistols surged inside, spreading out.  I flattened myself between the end of the credenza and the wall.

Nelson leaped over the counter at the white-haired thug nearest the door.

Blam.  Blam.  Blam.

White Hair went down, Nelson on top.  I couldn’t see if he’d been hit, couldn’t see who was shooting, couldn’t see shit.

The middle thug, black guy with a ski cap, dashed around the counter toward me, then saw Nelson on top of White Hair, and made the mistake of turning his gun on Nelson.

I grabbed the hot coffee carafe, still three-quarters full, and threw it.

It hit Ski Cap’s shoulder, coffee splattering his neck and clothes.  He yelped, then cursed, his shot going wild.

The third thug, guy with a buzzcut, had bee-lined toward the bathroom as though he suspected someone could be hiding in there.  Next thing I knew he was shooting at me.

The hangar exploded with noise, gunfire echoing within the metal walls like canon blasts.  I dove behind my desk.

Nelson yelled something, but my ears were ringing and I couldn’t make out the words.

I lifted my head to take a peek over the top of my desk.  Couldn’t see Nelson or anything on the other side of the counter.  But glimpsed Buzzcut peering from behind my five-foot Craftsman tool chest which he’d managed to drag away from the wall.  And he saw me.

Bullets plowed into my computer and peppered the wall behind me.  I covered my ears and hunkered down, but I knew I couldn’t stay there—a sitting duck.

I heard Nelson yell, “Jane!” heard more gunshots, popped my head out in time to see Buzzcut shoving the tool chest toward the middle of the hangar, using it as a shield.  It weighed over four-hundred pounds and moved awkwardly, but it was effective as a tank.

Nelson had clasped White Hair’s bullet-riddled body in front of him for protection, blood everywhere.  But what made my stomach curl was White Hair’s slashed neck, the glimmer of Nelson’s hunting knife and furious satisfaction on my brother’s face.

It was one of those moments where everything froze, and then everything started up again with renewed frenzy.

Nelson, gun in his other hand, shouted at me and fired repeatedly.  At his cue to move, I crab-crawled to the side of my desk nearest the hangar wall.

It got quiet.

Then I heard the scrape of the tool chest’s wheels.  Buzzcut was on the move.

I shoved upward to get a look over the counter.

Ski Cap was pressed behind the counter in the space between it and the guest chairs in front of my desk.

His gaze narrowed on me
I ducked.  “Nelson!” I needed another volley of gunfire.
No answer.

I heard a whump and realized Ski Cap had thrown one of the chairs over the counter.  I didn’t stop to think, just scuttled around my desk chair and along the front of the credenza, then grabbed my phone and my keys.

From the direction of the big Craftsman, bullets plowed into the credenza.  The coffeemaker shattered, along with my answering machine.

I squeezed down under my desk.  Either I was damn lucky, or they wanted me alive.

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