Monday, July 16, 2007

Alafair Burke

New Mystery Reader Magazine interviewed Alafair Burke, author of the successful legal series featuring DA Samantha Kincaid and Dead Connection, a new novel introducing New York City Detective Ellie Hatcher.

The first two questions and answers from the interview:

Congratulations on your new title! This latest is quite the departure from your previous legal thrillers; so why don't you tell us a bit about your new character and where she comes from?

Dead Connection introduces NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher. Ellie has been a detective for only a year when a more seasoned but controversial and publicity-hungry detective in the homicide squad taps her to help him track down a killer. The killer is using an online dating service to target young women. Ellie fits the profile of the victims, and she herself is haunted by thoughts of a serial killer who she believes killed her detective father where she grew up in Wichita, Kansas.

Ellie is a very different character from Samantha Kincaid, the protagonist from my first three novels. Although both excel at their jobs in fields dominated by men, Ellie shoulders more responsibility in her life as a woman outside of work. She has a second job taking care of her family -- long distance in the case of her mother, still living in Wichita, Kansas, and on the couch of her living room in the case of her mooching older brother, Jess. She also has more at stake in her cases.

With your background being in criminal law, it was no doubt a familiar world in which you created your legal series; so how fun and/or difficult was it to create a story from this new perspective of investigation?

I’m still writing from experience, but from a different perspective. For two years while I was a prosecutor, I worked directly out of a police precinct, going on ride-alongs with cops, leading in-service trainings, and teaming up on pre-indictment investigations. I learned more about policing in my first month at that precinct than I’d learned my entire time at the D.A.’s Office. There’s no question it’s helping me write about policing with authenticity. It’s been a fun change for me.
Read the entire interview.

The Page 69 Test: Dead Connection.

--Marshal Zeringue