Title: The Blood Trail
Synopsis: Nine-year-old Kayla Ahmetaj is the only grandchild of a notorious mafia boss. The day she arrives in California is the day she truly begins to run for her life. Fearful of ending up like her parents, she calls the one man her grandfather trusts. Not sure of who her enemies are, she hopes the world-class contract killer, Padukshëm, can keep her alive.
Jacqueline Spencer is an ex-army ranger living off grid. According to newspapers, she’s hung up her military uniform to become a cold-blooded murderer. Having lived with the dark secrets of her family, it’s those secrets that prompt her out of hiding. She wants nothing more than to get her hands on Kayla, because the secret that Kayla is hiding can cost many their lives.
Dardian Dreshaj thought the job would be simple. Protect three women and a child for seventy-two hours. Before he can meet his youngest client, his family and a member of his organization suddenly are missing. The frantic call from Kayla provokes the killer inside him. On the streets he’s known as the contract killer, Padukshëm. When he discovers that his new enemy will sacrifice anyone, including the police, to get their hands on Kayla all rules fly out the window. From the beginning he senses things aren’t what they seem. Little did he know that agreeing to protect a child may very well cost him his life.
CH: Today’s Guest Author is Shelley Young, who is a strict hearer of ‘the voices’ when she writes novels. Welcome to my blog, Shelley.
CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?
SY: If you’re looking for adrenaline rushes, heartbreak, romance and suspense, I’m your gal.
CH: What inspired you to write a fast-paced novel?
SY: The storyline of The Blood Trail was the inspiration for me. Once it got rolling, it became unstoppable—a locomotive traveling in fast speed to its final destination.
CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?
SY: I have many family members who are soldiers, and I know people who are police officers. LOL. I write the story as it comes to me. The entire time I wrote this novel, I kept thinking about family members and the police officers I know and if they thought of killing me.
CH: Your book has a lot of ups and downs and potholes and high rises, so do you prefer writing a book with a lot of twists and turns?
SY: It’s hard for me not to include a twist of some kind in my novels, because the best books I’ve ever read—the books that inspired me to become an author—included twists and high moments. I think its makes for a better read.
CH: How do you develop the characters—beforehand or as you write the story?
SY: I am definitely an author who listens to ‘the voices.’ Once the characters introduce themselves to me, I try and spend as much time as possible with them. Many times this happens while I’m writing a novel. The Blood Trail is part of a series, so some of the main characters I know quite well. Some of the other characters, I had to listen to what they had to say, as in who they are and the kind of person they are. I think this is necessary to make characters become real on the page.
CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?
SY: Yes, I hope the message readers get in The Blood Trail is many times there’s a reason why people do bad things, and this reason sometimes drives them almost to obsession. In the end it’s up to the reader to decide if these characters are bad or simply misunderstood.
CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your unique and suspenseful writing?
SY: Life seen in a different perspective—in this case the characters’ perspective. In life you have moments that are heartbreaking and things happen that are out of your control. And the way someone responds to these things are different. For example, the lead character, Dardian Dreshaj, leans on his wife to provide light at moments when he feels surrounded by complete darkness. I also like to depict the intimate relationships of the characters, good and bad. I think it lets readers see more about the characters than just bad things and gives more insight into who they are.
CH: Where did you get the premise for this story?
SY: The young character, Kayla, came to me. I saw this young child running, and frightened, and wanted to know why, as well as help her. My way of helping was introducing her to a contract killer who can get her out of the situation with, hopefully, both of them surviving.
CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book?
SY: I had to have several conversations with my police officer friends, as well as, friends and family in the military. Also, one of the locations used in the story needed some research, so I could depict it correctly.
CH: How long does it take you to write one of your books?
SY: Usually, it doesn’t take me too long once I devote time to writing it. I would say about three months from first page to last to achieve the rough draft. It’s the process after this that takes the longest. I tend to allow characters to run amuck while creating the rough draft and must rein them in during the rewrites. Total time, I would guess six months to complete the final draft.
CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?
SY: I see things in the news, a headline mostly, that captures my interest. It makes me wonder what happened and why did it happen. I don’t use the articles or the information in them, but something about the article usually sparks my creative juices. So, I create situations inspired from news reports or things I’ve seen and examine them from different angles: emotion, response, description, or consequence. For example, I saw Kayla running and fearful. Who was she running from? And then I saw a news article, and the story took off from there. Writing action, suspense and romance is in my comfort zone, so I didn’t find writing the book hard and found, more or less, that knowing the reason behind it was all the challenge.
CH: Which character was hardest to write?
SY: I’m a pantser who listens to the voices. For me, this makes characters easier to write. What I found hard in writing this novel was not knowing which of the voices (characters) was the actual bad guy. There were so many suspects, and although, I wrote the book, I allowed the characters to tell me the story. I got all the way toward the end of the novel before I figured out who the bad guys truly were. I literally gasped and thought, ‘It’s you!’ when I figured it out. I love writing, and I love when characters keep me and readers in suspense.
CH: What can we expect next, is there another book in this series?
SY: Oh, yes! So many readers tell me it takes only a day or two to read my novels, which is usually followed by when is the next book coming. I didn’t want to be caught off guard like I was after releasing Plain Dealing, so I have spent the last eight months writing, writing, and writing. I have book one of a historical series, book one of a psychological thriller series, as well as, the next book in the Dardian Dreshaj series coming out soon. I’m close to completing the rough draft in the fourth book in the Dardian series titled The Blood Sport. I’m having so much fun writing it. Readers will get a chance to see the Dreshaj family interact in this one, while murder, mayhem and chaos happen around them, as usual. I have also started the storyboard on book five. I’m excited about it all.
CH: How long have you been writing? How did you start writing thriller/suspense novels?
SY: I have been writing approximately thirty years. I love writing about romance, and new relationships, but I didn’t like having to write in the formula necessary for romance novels. I like thriller/suspense, because bad people get to do whatever they do, and good people have a moment to shine and prove that everyone doesn’t collapse under pressure. The excitement of this genre pulled harder on me. It’s my love for romance that causes me to sneak a little of it into my suspense/thrillers. LOL.
CH: Can you give my audience your website address
SY: Sure. My website is www.shelley-fiction.com
CH: Can you tell my audience where they can purchase your book?
SY: It is available through Amazon and is listed on many eBook sites. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1OHC5ww
CH: Any closing remarks?
SY: First, Cheryl, thank you for this interview. It was lots of fun! To readers, I would like to say if you enjoy action, and sometimes complex characters, and romance, then give one of my books a try. But I warn that my books are for ages eighteen and over because of adult content. Thanks again for the interview!
CH: Thank you, Shelley Young, it has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.
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