Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review--Methods of Madness


Methods of Madness by Stephanie Black. I had the privilege to be in Stephanie's critic group and the LDStorymakers conference this past May. She gave me wonderful insight on my writing and I just had to pick up one of her books. I loved this story. I thought I had solved it, but in the end I wasn't even close. Books that prove me wrong and so much fun. The characters kept me involved and I felt for them, although I will admit the ending was odd. It worked really well, I just remember thinking, "Huh, that's weird." I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good mystery. It receives a :):):):):)

Here's a blurb about the book, a link to read the first chapter, and an interview with Stephanie. Let me know what you think!

It’s been three years since the terrible night Emily Ramsey suffered a double tragedy—the death of her sister and the disappearance of her fiancĂ©. She deserves another chance at happiness, and gentle, adorable Zach Sullivan is just the man to mend her shattered heart. But from the moment Emily opens the hand-carved box holding a glittering diamond solitaire, she’s seized by an unshakeable fear: she’s going to lose Zach.


That’s exactly what Monica, Zach’s ex-girlfriend, is banking on. Bitter with envy, Monica will stop at nothing to sabotage Zach and Emily’s romance. A troubling note shows up in Emily’s mailbox, fanning the flames of suspicion. A bloody photograph sends her reeling. But when someone is brutally murdered, will Emily be able to escape suspicion and the possibility that she might be next?



What made you decide to become a writer?

I've always loved books, even when I was a very young child. Besides loving to read, I loved playing Barbies as a child--which may sound like it has nothing to do with writing, but I think it has lots to do with writing! Making up stories about make-believe characters--that sounds like writing fiction to me! For me, I think writing is a grown-up way of playing Barbies :)

When I was a senior in high school, I took a creative writing class, and on the last story I wrote for the class (my other stories were all very boring) the teacher wrote something like, "Interesting--don't stop!" I didn't stop. I played with that idea for years. Eventually--after many years of writing, rewriting, and reading lots of fiction technique books--that story evolved into my first novel, a futuristic thriller called The Believer.

Who inspires you?

In my personal life, my husband is a great inspiration--he's always encouraged and supported me in my desire to write. My family and my husband's family have also been a great support to me. And I receive so much support and encouragement from fellow authors--the support network among authors is really fantastic!

A literary inspiration for me is Mary Higgins Clark--I've enjoyed so many of her suspense novels. I also admire Connie Willis--I'd like to write some more science fiction (my first novel was sci fi).

What would you like your readers to get out of your writing?

With my mystery/suspense novels, I'm hoping readers will get a good, fun, exciting, nail-biting, clean read!

Where did this idea come from?

Brainstorming. The two novels I wrote before Methods of Madness both came from ideas that had been percolating for a long time, so when I finished my second book and it was time to start a new one, I had no idea what it was going to be about. I only knew that I wanted a contemporary suspense novel with a young female protagonist. It was a bit daunting to start from scratch! I wrote down ideas--I brainstorm best by typing into a brainstorming file on my computer--and played with them until a story finally started to take shape. Then I ended up taking the story in a different direction than my original ideas, and eventually, it developed into Methods of Madness.

Who was your favorite character to develop?

Hmm. That's a tough question. It's been a while since I wrote it, so who knows what I was thinking at the time? But if I have to pick a fun character, I think I'll vote for Brent.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Study technique. There are tons of fiction technique books available. A couple of my favorites are Jack Bickham's The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them) and Jack Bickham's Scene and Structure. Be willing to learn and improve your craft. Don't expect instant success--be ready for rejection. The ability to get back on your feet and dust yourself off after a disappointment is vital to success as an author.

What can we expect next from you?

My next suspense novel, Rearview Mirror, will be released in October.

Where can we purchase your book?

Any LDS bookstore, online or brick-and-mortar, Amazon.com.

THANKS STEPHANIE!

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