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ABOUT THE BOOK: When someone murders Chief of Police Jo Oliver’s abusive husband, Jo becomes the prime suspect. Teaming up with old flame and FBI agent Nick Vitarello to hunt a serial killer who is framing her for murder, her fledgling faith is severely tested. The situation escalates when Nick declares his love for her—but his loyalty comes under fire. As the manhunt heats up, the only thing Jo is sure of is that her time is running out. Shattered by Death is the breathtaking follow-up to series debut, Cleansed by Death (HopeSprings Books, April 5, 2016), in which Jo must fight for her marriage and life when she is caught in the crosshairs of the vicious Little Sister Serial Killer, and stalked by an evil presence that threatens her very soul.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
The Pulp and Mystery Shelf
What initially got you interested in writing?
I’ve loved to write for as long as I can remember. My diary was my treasured companion when I was a little girl, and to this day I begin my mornings writing long hand in my journal. I love language and the written word. I wrote a play that was published and produced when I was a high school freshman and somehow I always knew I’d write novels “when I grew up…”
What genres do you write in?
I think of my first two novels—Cleansed by Death and Shattered by Death—as thrillers with a spiritual kick. The third book in my Jo Oliver Thriller series will be out in 2017 and all I can share is that the thriller factor is alive and well—even as some characters may not be!
In addition, I am slowly writing a non-fiction book on leadership and I am enjoying the process immensely.
What drew you to writing these specific genres?
Simply put, I LOVE suspense! I love that heart-pounding, ‘must check to make sure all of the doors are locked’ panicky feeling that crisply written thrillers evoke. The connection between the spiritual world and the physical world is near to my heart and it was a natural fit for me to add a spiritual twist to my books.
How did you break into the field?
Like all published writers, I wrote a thousand versions of my first book and weathered about as many rejections before I finally got the formula right. I have worked with some amazing professionals, and spent five years honing my writing before finding a good fit with the right publisher for my work. Even though as an educator I should have seen this coming, I was surprised how much better my writing has become as I work through each book. Writing is a skill, and like any other, you get better at your craft as you practice it. Having the opportunity to learn from other writers, editors, publishers, publicists, and agents in the field has helped me grow as a writer, and I am grateful for my friends in the field.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
I want my readers to stay up late, wondering whether they locked their own doors, thoroughly enjoying the ride! And I want them to experience the full range of human emotions alongside my characters as they cope with complicated life events. I want my readers to feel tension as they wonder whether difficult circumstances will serve to make my characters better—or bitter. Finally, I want my readers to get a glimpse of the spiritual world, to be surprised by hope, and to develop a hunger and a thirst for spiritual truth.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I love it all! The daily encounters with my characters at the keyboard; sharing my stories with the world; and being transformed myself through the mysterious process of writing. And I love, love, LOVE falling into the grip of a great new story idea! At the moment, I am thoroughly in love with a really bad dude I am writing into the next installment…
What do you find most challenging about writing?
The daily discipline of writing, and quieting the voices within that would have you doubt yourself are two of the toughest parts of the writing life. And like any good warrior, I take up my shield, hit the computer, and write on! A favorite quote by Martin Luther comes to mind: “You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head; but you can stop him from building a nest in your hair.” I don’t let inner fears or negative self-talk stop me. I identify it, do my best to kick it out of my head by replacing it with truths, and then I just keep writing!
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
Do it! Writing is a beautiful journey. I feel a little more whole-hearted, like a little bit better version of myself, with each book I write. There is something incredibly intimate about writing from the heart that sets you free. Readers can sense your voice of authenticity and they resonate with it. Writers talk about the character arcs in our writing, but we don’t often admit that we’re the ones experiencing the character arcs just as deeply as our characters! Write from the heart, write what you love, write what you must—just write!
What type of books do you enjoy reading?
I’m very eclectic in my reading tastes. You’ll find theology; fiction of all genres; zombie lit; leadership books; relationship books; positive psychology; organizational development; and a host of personal favorites (Black Beauty comes to mind) on my shelves and my ereaders. I read and listen to books everyday—it’s one of my guilty pleasures!
Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?
Hmmm…I love to travel and I find some of my best dialogue by listening to strangers in airports, drug stores, train stations, cab stands, strange cities, and etc. I love animals and children and cannot bring myself to allow harm to come to either in my novels…I may have a little ‘zombie thing.’ I just love ‘em! I was probably the only fifty-something year-old woman at the 2015 Walker Stalker Convention in Chicago!
What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
Drop by my website CatherineFinger.com; or Catherine Finger, Author on Facebook; or @BeJoOliver on Twitter.
Thank you for your interest in the Jo Oliver Thriller Series!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Like her heroine Police Chief Jo Oliver, Dr. Catherine Finger is committed to protect and serve. But instead of handcuffs and handguns, she uses her wit and wisdom as a high school superintendent and church and community volunteer in northern Illinois. Shattered by Death is her second novel. Learn more at http://www.catherinefinger.com/