Beverly Long’s latest book, Ten Days Gone is a procedural crime thriller with definite romantic suspense overtones. It’s the first book in her new series, A.L. McKittridge. She’s joining us today to chat about her new book and what we can expect from her next.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to chat with us. I want to tell you upfront, you had me at hello, I am a huge Criminal Minds fan so the blurb of this book hooked me before I could finish the paragraph. Now that the mushy stuff is out of the way let’s chat!
Donna: You have a backlist of books filled with contemporary romance and romantic suspense, but Ten Days Gone has a heavier, police procedural style, dare I say even psychological thriller elements. Yes, there is some romance in the story, but the mystery is the star of the show. Did you find the planning, plotting, and writing of this book harder or easier than your earlier books?
Beverly Long: Thank you for inviting me. And, how nice to hear that you were intrigued by the premise of Ten Days Gone. You’re right that I’ve written a few different things over the years. Most recently, I’ve done a lot of romantic suspense. In those books, there are generally two story arcs, one for the romance and one for the suspense plot. They advance in tandem and ultimately, they merge. For this particular book, however, I wanted something a little different. The story is complex and the stakes are high. I’ve always enjoyed reading police procedurals and as I thought about the book before I started to write it, it seemed like the right approach. It was not easier or harder to write, just different.
Donna: I have never visited Wisconsin, is Baywood is a real place? What is your connection to this town, specifically and Wisconsin in general?
BL: Baywood is not a real town but I’d like to think it could be. For the last thirty years, I’ve lived in northern Illinois, about fifteen minutes south of the Wisconsin state line. Certainly close enough to go for dinner—supper clubs are a thing there which is why one of those made its way into the book. When time allowed, we’d venture further north, into the middle and upper regions of the state. For many years, my family vacationed at a cabin on a lake in an area that would not have been far from fictional Baywood. I now no longer live quite so close but suffice it to say that I have fond memories of my time in Wisconsin and have used it as a setting in several of my books.
Donna: The flow and pacing of this book make it a pleasure to read. Add that to the rich character development of our detectives, and you have a winner. A lot of Ten Days Gone read like a movie playing in my mind. I know who I pictured as A.L. McKittridge and Rena Morgan who would you like to cast to play their roles?
BL: Thank you! That’s a fun question but one that I absolutely don’t have an answer to. I know that there are writers who enjoy loosely basing a character off someone famous; I have some writer friends who keep a photo of the famous person close while they’re writing. I don’t do that. My characters live in my head and I don’t associate them with any other real or fictional people. I am fascinated, however, by who you think would be perfect if you were the casting director.
Donna: I’ll never tell because I want people to create their own images but I will say, my love of adventure and escape has pretty much every female lead ever written, regardless of descriptions, resembling a 5’5”, early 50s, dark haired, Tina Fey glasses wearing, hazel-eyed woman with a penchant for snark, cupcakes and black nail polish. I don’t make the rules.
Donna: Tess is a special sort of potential victim. She’s a bit of a problematic victim, I guess is the best, most spoiler-free way to describe her?! Reaching her emotionally made for exciting reading. Would you please expand upon the thought process when creating her character?
BL: When I was planning the book, I knew that Tess was going to be reluctant to help herself or other potential victims. That was necessary to make the story work. But I didn’t know WHY until I had started writing and her backstory became clearer to me. I grew to really like Tess as the story progressed. I’ve had favorable feedback on her character which makes me happy. Tess is stronger than she thinks. I suspect most of us hope that we would be the same if faced with a significant challenge.
Donna: You go to great lengths to create our main characters; they are incredibly fleshed out. Clearly, this sets the stage for more in the A.L. McKittridge series. What can we expect next?
BL: The second book in the series is done and will be released in late June, 2020. The title is No One Saw. A five-year-old is missing and nobody seems to have seen anything. But it soon becomes apparent that everybody is lying about something.
Donna: Are you a fan of tv or movies? Do you have something, in particular, you enjoy watching, binge-watching, perhaps? What does your Netflix queue look like? What is it about these movies or tv shows that appeals to you?
BL: I’m not a huge television watcher but I certainly can binge-watch with the best of them. My comfort food is reruns of The Office, but I also enjoy detective shows, especially those set in the UK like Broadchurch. I just finished Unbelievable and thought it was very good.
Donna: After years of writing, has your idea of success changed over the years? What does success look like to you?
BL: I wrote for eight years before I was published. Self-publishing wasn’t a viable option then. I was associated with a group of writers, some already published. The advice from them was to continue writing, to continue to improve with every book. So I did. The book that sold first was the fifth book I’d written. (Yes, I did ultimately sell the first four but only after I’d revised them substantially). Because I realized how tough it was, my idea of success in the beginning was to simply sell a book or two.
But I loved writing books, loved creating characters that readers enjoyed, loved building a world for readers to escape to. In other words, doing for other readers what so many authors had done for me over the years as I devoured their books. That’s what success looks like now. To be able to continue to create work that I’m proud of, to construct characters that resonate with readers, and to write stories that, when the last page is turned and the book is put down with a satisfied sigh, the reader immediately thinks, I wonder what she’s got coming next.
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About Beverly Long:
I was raised in a small town in Illinois and was a frequent visitor to our little library. While I read many types of books, I was drawn to those featuring feisty heroines in dangerous situations. I so wanted to be Trixie Belden or Nancy Drew.
I co-authored my first book in fourth grade, discovering the love of creating characters. In high school, I knew that writing was easy for me. If there was a choice between dissecting the frog and writing the five page paper about it, I volunteered for the paper every time.
But I never considered writing as a career. I went to college, got a business degree and later an MBA and worked for many years as a human resources leader.
I continued to be a reader, however, gravitating toward romantic fiction. And in my mid-thirties, decided that it might be time to write my own book. Many years later in 2005, my first book, Stay with Me, was published. In the years since then, I’ve written many more books and novellas and am always grateful for the opportunity to do so. Find her here: http://www.beverlylong.com/
Ten Days Gone by Beverly Long, out today!
They know exactly when he’ll strike… They just have to find him first.
In all their years working for the Baywood police department, detectives A.L. McKittridge and Rena Morgan have never seen anything like it. Four women dead in forty days, each killed ten days apart. With nothing connecting the victims and very little evidence, the clock is already counting down to when the next body drops. A.L. and Rena will have to act fast if they’re going to find the killer’s next victim before he does.
But identifying the killer’s next likely target is only half the battle. With pressure pushing in from all sides, a promising breakthrough leads the detectives to Tess Lyons, a woman whose past trauma has left her too damaged to appreciate the danger she’s in. Unwilling to let another woman die, A.L. and Rena will put everything on the line to keep Tess safe and end the killer’s deadly spree once and for all—before time runs out again.