I got to sit down with my darling friend Savannah Kade to discuss writing, research, and her new book, Dark Secrets!
When did you realize or decide you wanted to be a writer?
When I was a kid. I wrote an 80-page novella when I was 8. It sucked. Bad. I thought it was adult romantic suspense. But I was a naive eight.
What has been your best experience as an author so far?
I don’t know that there’s a single best. I really like hearing from strangers who loved my book. They have no reason or obligation to reach out to me other than that they loved my work enough to do so. But sitting on a panel and finding out the nice guy (Jim) that I was chatting with was actually Jim Butcher was pretty awesome, too.
How do you research and plan your books? Do you find outlining helps or hinders your process?
I research the hell out of my books. I’ve almost been arrested twice for it. (Mostly for the suspense stuff.) I do ride alongs with fire stations and police departments. I got a degree in human forensics (though that’s to *work* in the field, it does help the writing.) I just took a trip to Nebraska to specifically research a book…and on the silent parts of the drive I thought up a new romance series.
I don’t outline, but it’s all in my head, so it’s kinda the same thing. By the time I’m writing it, I know my characters well and what happens. There are always surprised though.
Have you learned anything really cool or interesting while researching your books? What’s been the weirdest research you’ve ever had to do?
OMG. I learned how to shoot out someone’s kidneys. I can shoot two-handed! I learned that what they do on Chicago Fire will kill you because they are that bad at understanding fires. I’ve been on a SWAT raid. I toured a plantation under construction.
What advice would you give to new writers in the field?
I’m a research girl. two pieces of advice.
1) look it up or ask. If I read about another car blowing up because it hit a pothole, I’mma homicide someone. And I was *this close* to buying that whole series.
2) Take a writing class in a form you never intend to write in. I took prose poetry. While everyone else cried because their poems sucked, I was able to incorporate the advice better. So what if my poems sucked? I’m a novelist, not a poet.
Tell us a little about your writing nook! Favorite tea/coffee/writing snack?
I have a gorgeous black and lacquer desk….that is covered in post-its and calendars and pens. Natural Cheetos. MexiCoke. Mocha Iced Blendeds. (I do eat good healthy meals…but those are good writing snacks!
What project are you currently working on?
I just finished the first of my Dark Falls, Colorado books. It’s a romantic suspense series set in a police department. There are six of us authors writing in a shared world, so readers will get 3 books on Oct 9th, then a new book each month until all 12 are out! I’ve been writing suspense under the name A.J. Scudiere and contemporary romance under the name Savannah Kade. This is my first foray into romantic suspense, but hey, it’s my two favorite things in one place!
What’s next for you?
Whew! I’m finishing up my second Dark Falls book (which is actually Dark Falls #7 Savannah), I’ll be writing book 7 in the NightShade Forensic Files series (A.J.) and then getting three books ready to release in late spring for the start of a new series set in a small town in Georgia. It’s called “Breathless” and the first three of those books should be out in May, June, and July next year. But it’ll be seven books total.
Find A.J. on Facebook and www.ReadAJS.com
Find Savannah on Facebook and www.SavannahKade.com
About the Book!
Tell us a little about your new release: Dark Secrets!
In Dark Secrets, Grace Lee (a forensic scientist) knows that the DFPD botched her brother’s death report. He wasn’t a suicide and she wants to know who murdered him. Detective Nate Ryder realizes Grace is right, only all the signs point right back to the Medical Examiner’s office and … the Dark Falls PD. Grace and Nate have to save themselves from the organization that already murdered her brother, only now there’s no one to trust.
Where did your inspiration for the book come from?
I don’t even know! I was asked to be part of this book set and boom! there was a story for me. Though I am a forensic scientist and it was great fun writing Grace Lee.
How did your characters come to life?
Grace is a Chinese/Vietnamese/Hillbilly Southern Belle. So she has a voice and accent that makes you think she’ll tell you what kind of sugar to use in your tea, but instead, she’ll tell you what you should use if you want to fake human ashes. (That’s in the book! You’ll probably be surprised!) Grace traces things backward–she’s solving things that already happened. So her perfect foil is Nate… the guy who’s trained to look forward. I love that clash when people have different objectives for the same goal.
What was your favorite part of working on this story? What was the most challenging?
Both of these questions have the same answer and that’s: working in a group. Usually I “own” all the characters and the town. And none of us do. We “own” it collectively. So I have to chat and say “who was on that case?” and “What does so-n-so look like? Is it okay if she’s cranky?” I had one character changed out for another because she fit into another book. But we’re weaving all the stories together. So a character in book one will turn up in book four and you’ll get to revisit the characters you loved and see where they are later.
What’s next for this story – is it part of a series? When does it come out?
Nate felt for the awkward, too-smart, unusual-looking kid she’d been. But now? The combination was beautiful. He’d seen heads turn when she’d come into the station. Then she’d opened her mouth and completely dispelled the idea that her stunning looks were the best thing about her. He was going to hit the ground hard on this one.