Welcome to the book tour for Shadow Cay by Leona Bodie! Today she is stopping by to answer a few questions.
What was the inspiration behind Shadow Cay?
Shadow Cay's Dark Secrets - The Thriller I Had To Write
The MDPD Crime Lab was inspiration for some parts. The book speaks to the challenges Forensic Professionals face every day.
It's a steamy suspense about murder, greed and corruption that takes place in the tropics between Miami and the Bahamas.
I wrote Shadow Cay on our 34-foot sailboat surrounded by crystalline water, unspoiled white beaches and surreal sunsets. Here's a photo gallery of what seized my attention. And the show stopper was Normans Cay.
My research into its history led me to flash back two decades: A dramatic flying adventure, international intrigue, a forced crash landing, a brush with death, and a tropical island paradise with a seedy secret.
How much help did you get from your husband, who is a forensics expert?
He makes sure my scientific facts and forensic procedures are accurate.
Have you ever worked with forensics?
No, I’m not a forensics professional. Can you imagine a thriller author married to a CSI star? My husband Walter, a Miami-Dade Police Department forensic specialist for 21 years, actually appeared in the pilot episode of the long-running TV series, CSI. He and I often collaborate.
Why is this such a fascinating topic for readers?
There’s a lot of misinformation out there. No crime lab in the world looks like the CSI ones, because there's simply not the money for all those fancy machines. Even the Miami-Dade Crime Bureau which is well-funded (though could use more), doesn't have everything, and there is a tremendous backlog to examine the evidence sent in. Consequently, nothing happens quickly, so when I'm explaining in a novel that DNA was found or that there's a clue to be sent to the lab, I have to make sure the reader knows this isn't going to come back in 45 minutes.
Readers are so familiar now with law enforcement, whether through news coverage or fictional portrays on television that crime writers do have to anticipate readers' assumptions and find ways to surprise them.
Who is your favorite character in the book? Your least favorite?
Of all my characters, I truly admire Madeleine Nesbitt the most. Her bravery is unique. Although young, sheltered and naive, she’s stronger than she realizes. Even when her world falls apart, she manages—despite the odds—to pull her life together. She’s one of the strongest female characters I've seen in ages.
If I were to devote a spinoff character to a new series, I’d give serious consideration to Vanessa Vidal. She’s exciting with tons of nervous energy and the right touch of humanity. She’s a savvy criminalist, loving wife and nothing can stop her from following her instincts and finding her own answers, even if grappling for the truth is risky business.
I don't really have a least favorite, because the bad ones are more challenging to write. Even Nina and Rico get up to some crazy things in SEAS OF FURY, my next one, but that's what makes it fun.
Tell us about your other works in progress.
I have 3 novels and an audio book in progress. Here are the details:
- Shadow Cay Audiobook (A Sea of Secrets, Book #1- -January 2013)
When the Nesbitts anchor in the Southern Bahamas one night in a moonlit cove, Madeleine discovers someone wants to make sure her family never makes it out of paradise alive. The double murder of her parents shatters the only security she’s ever known. Now thrust into a world of international intrigue, she vows to find answers before the killer returns for the next of kin. ‘Shadow Cay’ is a contemporary thriller about the bravery of those determined to fight injustice.
- Seas of Fury (A Sea of Secrets, Book #2 - -Coming Summer 2013)
Claude is unhappily married to Nina. Goaded beyond her limit, mean-spirited Nina takes revenge on Claude by destroying something he highly values. The couple retaliate against each other and suffer a series of tragedies, each believing the other has died.
- Fear the Whispers (A Sea of Secrets, Book #3- Coming 2014)
It’s a thriller about a murder on the high seas with a strong sense of place set in Miami and the Caribbean. Madeleine Nesbitt works for the Island Windsong Cruise Line and sails the Caribbean. On the tall ship, she discovers more than unspoiled beaches. Submerged in the water and tangled in the anchor chain, is a male passenger, the body nearly decapitated. On deck is the severed hand belonging to that corpse, a dark-haired man dressed all in black. A ring, an engraved pocketknife and unusual tattoo are Madeleine’s only clues, but they’re enough for her and forensic expert Vanessa Vidal to make a startling discovery: This violent death had a chilling prequel.
Ten years earlier, a double murder in the Bahamas leaves two people dead. Madeleine is the one person connected to that massacre still alive. A mysterious politician knows a secret he dare not tell, a secret that lives and breathes in the shadows. Now Madeleine’s the target of someone, relentlessly evil. Cracking this crime, she must outwit an unseen enemy with years of cunning.
- Jonathan-Coming Summer 2013. http://www.jonathandickinson.org/
This epic adventure of Jonathan Dickinson portrays the life and times of a colorful historic figure raised in the wickedest city on earth. Despite Port Royal’s temptations, Jonathan leads a sheltered privileged life until he narrowly escapes a devastating earthquake. He is about to discover the price of survival and adventure are sometimes too dear to pay; that dreams are bittersweet and when you start an odyssey, sometimes something truly unexpected slithers out. This an action packed historic novel based on the true adventures of Jonathan Dickinson with an earthquake, tsunami, pirates, a shipwreck and cannibal Indians.
You have been quite successful with this book, earning all kinds of awards. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Authors are isolated and we tend to live in our own minds. We can be self-absorbed, oh that’s me. To write a good novel, you must be a good storyteller. Readers want to be entertained, want to be taken out of their humdrum lives, and want to lose themselves in a novel. It must be exciting, build interest. Authors find the time to write and to invest in their own careers. We have to learn how to write passionately, it’s the burning drive to get down something that the reader has to see.
I like Sylvia Plath's advice, "...everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." To this I'd add, today's technologies level the playing field, but there's no substitute for hard work. Whether you're 6 or 106, as long as you're doing your due diligence, you'll succeed. Stay connected, know the trends, take no shortcuts, hone your craft and write, write, WRITE. What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that I've heard? "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't midn." ~ Dr. Seuss.
How do you make yourself stand out in this competitive market?
Be myself and follow my dreams. Last, recognize that social media is a valuable tool, use it wisely.
What are you reading right now?
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah, New York Times Bestselling Author of Mystic Lake
Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
Without a doubt, channeling my muse and unfurling my imagination until I get what’s in my head on paper . . . that’s my favorite compulsion! It’s satisfying and always pleasing to paint a scene with words. I invoke the senses . . . all of them, sight and sound and smell and touch and taste, to make my world alive. My second greatest thrill is harnessing that plot and sailing through the words.
Thanks for stopping by!
About the AuthorLeona DeRosa Bodie is Vice President of the Florida Writers Association, a nonprofit organization of 1,300 members. She started doing the happy dance when her debut thriller 'Shadow Cay', won First Place in the Mystery/Thriller/ Suspense category in the 2011 Reader Views Annual Literary Awards, and hasn’t stopped yet. Her biggest surprise and most memorable milestone . . .When Gelati's Scoop recognized it as one of the top thirty-five novels of 2010, she landed on the list alongside such giants as James Patterson, David Baldacci and Daniel Silva. Leona is now working on two novels, including 'Seas of Fury'. She currently resides in Florida and often collaborates with her husband, a Miami-Dade forensic specialist for 21 years, who appeared in the pilot episode of the long-running TV series, CSI. For more information about her and her books, check out her website: http://www.leonabodie.com.
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When the Nesbitts anchor in the Southern Bahamas one night in a moonlit cove, Madeleine discovers someone wants to make sure her family never makes it out of paradise alive. The double murder of her parents shatters the only security she’s ever known. Now thrust into a world of international intrigue, she vows to find answers before the killer returns for the next of kin. 'Shadow Cay' is a contemporary thriller about the bravery of those determined to fight injustice.
Purchase: Kindle | Amazon | Nook | B&N | Indigo | FWA
The author will be giving away an Island Temptations Tropical Gift Box with signed print copies of her first three books, including 'Shadow Cay', Book #1 of the Sea of Secrets Series, along with great Caribbean goodies and a tempting selection of tropical treats, such as Life's a Beach Saltwater Taffy, special tropical tea, aromatic candles with paradise scents, wine for two, picnic basket, tote bag, beach towel. And of course, it wouldn't be complete without Florida sand and sea shells too! It's a luxurious Caribbean Vacation--without spending a dime!
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