March Wrap-up : Hunted

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As we wrap-up the month of March, I want to say thanks to all who have participated in my first book club selection. Also, a special thank you to Elizabeth Heiter, for being so incredibly generous with her time.

For those of you who read Hunted, I hope you enjoyed the book. Below are a few book club questions. Please feel free to comment and start a conversation!

Don’t forget about the March giveaways – you may win either a signed copy of Vanished or a $10 Amazon gift card, just for leaving a comment on one of my book club posts. I will pick the winners on April 5th.

1. How do the characters’ pasts influence their current actions?  What does that say about the influence of genetics versus environment?  How much does personal choice play a part?

2. How does sexual discrimination and sexual violence impact the story, and in what ways? 

3. What does it say about protagonist Evelyn Baine that she can understand the motivations of killers, but has trouble dissecting social cues?

4. Does Evelyn Baine’s insistence on self-reliance ultimately help or hurt her?

5. How does the theme of redemption play out in the story?  How does survivor’s guilt impact the need of certain characters to gain self-redemption?

6.  How does Evelyn Baine change through the course of the novel?  At the end of the story, do you feel that she is substantially different than she was at the start?

7. How does Evelyn’s past impact her relationships with her friends and family, and how does it impact potential new relationships, such as the developing relationship with Kyle MacKenzie?

Character Interview – Evelyn Baine

Character Interview with Evelyn Baine of Hunted

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I am so pleased that the star of our book club pick, Hunted, has taken time out of her busy schedule to grant me an interview

Thanks for joining us Evelyn. I know you’re a busy woman so I promise not to take up too much of your time. Please explain to your readers what it takes to become a FBI profiler?

Well, first, you have to make it into the FBI.  The Academy is no joke – besides learning all the laws, and the PT, you actually have to do things like box fellow trainees.  Once you finish the Academy, it’s time to prove yourself as a regular Special Agent.  I was assigned to a Violent Crimes Major Offenders (VCMO) squad in Houston, where I worked ten hour days for six years, trying to get myself noticed.  Then a spot opened up at the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) and I jumped at it.  It’s where I’ve wanted to be since I was twelve years old.  But that’s a story for another day.

You’re relatively new to the profiling task force and one of the only women in the department. How did you break the glass ceiling in the FBI?

Only 20% of Special Agents in the FBI are women, and in some ways – like a lot of law enforcement – it’s still an old boys’ club.  My method was to work harder than the agents around me, trying to stand out.  It doesn’t hurt that I’ve been studying profiling since I was a kid, since I knew this was where I wanted to be when I grew up.  Don’t tell them, but it’s not just the criminals I use my profiling skills on – it’s also my fellow agents.

Besides the case you’re working on in Hunted, what has been your most difficult case?

When I was in the Houston field office, we were investigating a serial rapist.  The police were stymied – the perpetrator was really skilled at leaving behind no physical evidence.  They had a suspect who had the right history and who had acted suspiciously in interviews, but something just didn’t feel right about it to me.  I dug and dug and ultimately, I uncovered that the rapist was actually a member of their police force.  It was a tough case, but it was the one that finally got me noticed by the BAU.

Okay, give it to us straight…what are your feelings for Kyle? He seems like a really good guy. Maybe you should give him a chance.

He is a good guy, and a good agent.  The problem is, we both work for the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG), and the FBI doesn’t allow its agents to date and work the same squad.  Kyle would argue we’re not precisely in the same squad, but the rules here are murky.  Our jobs are important to both of us, and I’m not willing to give up profiling.  It’s pretty complicated, though, especially because of what happened after this Bakersville Burier serial killer case (in HUNTED) ended…

Thanks Evelyn for answering a few of my questions.

Do you have any questions for the main character, Evelyn Baine, of Hunted?

Don’t forget to leave a comment or question for a chance to win a signed copy of Vanished, the sequel to Hunted or a $10 Amazon gift card!!!

March Book Club – Hunted

I hope everyone is enjoying Hunted so far!

Ms. Elizabeth Heiter, has been kind enough to answer a few of my questions regarding her first published book.

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Thanks Elizabeth, for taking the time to talk with me today!

Your main character, Evelyn Baine is a FBI criminal profiler. What first drew you to the FBI and criminal profiling?

I’ve always been intrigued by law enforcement characters (they’re perfect protagonists for mystery series, because there’s only so many times you can have someone not in law enforcement stumble upon a mystery to solve!).  About a decade ago (wow, as I’m writing this, I can’t believe it was so long ago!), I picked up a book by a former FBI profiler about his experiences tracking down serial killers and other criminals.  I was fascinated – and I knew a profiler would make for a unique character, someone who would approach a case in a totally different way.  Instead of following typical investigative methods, my character would get to come in and look at the behavioral evidence – things about the crime that told my profiler how the perpetrator thought, and from that, how to find him (or her).

I’m sure you had to spend a lot of time researching for the book. What are some of the resources that you used? Was there anything you learned that really surprised you?

I love the research!  I’m committed to being as accurate as possible, so I did do a TON of research for these books.  Besides reading stacks of books on psychology and personality disorders, the FBI and investigative methods, and criminal personality profiling, I did a lot of up-close research.  I talked to current and former FBI Special Agents, I visited FBI field offices and the FBI Academy at Quantico, and I even shot the weapons used by the characters in my books.

One thing that surprised me: there’s a scene in HUNTED where my protagonist, FBI profiler Evelyn Baine, tries to shoot a perpetrator as he’s driving away.  She aims at him through the window, but when she doesn’t hit him, she can’t take a shot at the wheel of his truck to try and stop him (which was in the original draft!).  But a Special Agent informed me that if you’re going to fire your weapon, it has to be for very specific reasons and it has to be to kill.  You can’t shoot to wound, and you can’t shoot to stop someone.

How long did it take you to write Hunted?

That’s an interesting question, because I actually wrote the manuscript twice.  I wrote the first version back in 2005, then many years later, I completely re-wrote it.  I’d gone out on submission to publishers with a humorous mystery that came close to selling but didn’t, and my agent asked if I had anything darker.  I did, so I pulled out HUNTED, but my writing had come a long way since I’d originally written it, so I took the basic plotline and characters and started over.  The second version of the manuscript took me somewhere between eight months and a year, I believe.

So, I kind of have a crush on Kyle, from the FBI’s HRT, or Hostage Rescue Team. Please tell me those HRT guys are for real. How much fun was it to research them?

The HRT guys are definitely for real!  And the ones I’ve met are real characters – like Kyle and his friend and fellow HRT agent Gabe.  This was a really interesting job to research, because it’s so different from most positions at the FBI.  The HRT agents are more like a military Special Operations team than regular FBI agents.  (In fact, HRT trains with SpecOps teams!)  And unlike most tactical units (like SWAT), HRT agents do it full-time.  If they’re not on a mission, they’re training for a mission.  Very interesting stuff (and good hero material!).

Evelyn has a very troubled past. How do you feel that played into her adult life and career choice?

My heroine came from an abusive home.  When she was ten years old, she moved in with her grandparents, who provided the most stable life she’d ever had.  She became best friends with the little girl who lived next door, Cassie.  Even though she was a biracial child living in a mostly white town in the south, things were looking up.  Then Cassie went missing – the final victim of the Nursery Rhyme Killer – and was never found.  It was the impetus for Evelyn to join the FBI, and has been the driving force in her life.  It gives her purpose and determination, but her childhood also left her socially awkward and closed off from people, things that cause her problems in HUNTED.

You’ve had a very busy year, with the release of five books, one of the being Vanished, the sequel to Hunted. Congratulations! What’s up next for you?

Thank you so much!  Right now, HUNTED and VANISHED (books 1 and 2 in my straight suspense books, The Profiler series) are on shelves, as are DISARMING DETECTIVE and SEDUCED BY THE SNIPER (books 1 and 2 in my romantic suspense books, The Lawmen series).  Up next are SWAT SECRET ADMIRER (book 3 in The Lawmen series, out next month) and SEIZED (book 3 in The Profiler series, out later this year).

Thanks Elizabeth and best wishes on your continued success!

Readers – As you see in Elizabeth’s interview, it can take years of work between a first manuscript and a publish novel. Hours worth of research, writing, and editing went into Hunted, with no guarantee that it would ever be sold.

If you were to spend that amount of time researching and writing a book, what topic(s) would you choose? Law enforcement like Elizabeth? Military? Medical Mystery?

In Hunted, Evelyn Baine has issues with trust. Which supporting characters do you see has the most likely hood of success in breaking through her protective wall and earning her trust?

Don’t forget – A comment in any Book Club post in March gets you qualified for a chance to win either a signed copy of Vanished, the sequel to Hunted, or a $10 Amazon gift card!

Welcome! March Book Club

Hunted

by Elizabeth Heiter

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I am very excited to share this book as my first ever book club pick! You are in for a thrilling ride as you dive into Ms. Heiter’s world of FBI criminal profilers and serial killers.

Here’s a quick summary:

Terror stalks a small Virginia town…

FBI rising star, criminal profiler Evelyn Baine, knows how to think like a serial killer.  But she’s never chased anyone like the Bakersville Burier, who hunts young women and displays them, half-buried, deep in the woods.  As the body count climbs, Evelyn’s relentless pursuit of the killer puts her career – and her life – at risk.  And the evil lurking in the Burier’s mind may be more than even she can unravel.

Terror is closer than she thinks…

The Bakersville Burier knows he’s got an FBI profiler on his trail.  He knows who she is and where to find her.  And he’s biding his time, because he’s planned a special punishment for Evelyn.  She may have tracked other killers, but he vows to make this her last chase. This time it’s her turn to be hunted!

Sounds good, right?

If you haven’t purchased the book yet, I have the Amazon link below.

Check back throughout the month for an interview with Ms. Heiter and also the star of Hunted, Evelyn Baine. While I hope to encourage discussion about the book, please wait until the end of the month to post comments that include spoilers. We wouldn’t want to give away the ‘who done it’ for other readers.

March giveaways:

I have two giveaways for the month of March. Anyone who leaves a comment in any of the book club post during the month is eligible. First is an autographed copy of Vanished, the exciting sequel to Hunted. I also will be giving away a $10 Amazon gift card. If you don’t follow the blog, please leave your e-mail address with at least one of your comments so I know how to contact you if you win.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment in any March book club post!

I hope that you enjoy Hunted and let’s have some great book club discussions throughout the month.

So my first question to start things off is…How do you think you’d do as a criminal profiler? Would you be able to work a violent crime or would witnessing a brutal scene, like the Bakersville Burier, leave you up at night?

Buy Hunted on Amazon