Monday, November 12, 2018

Writing an Engaging Series: A Look at FBI Thriller On the Count of Three by Carolyn Arnold


A well-written police procedural is worth every lost moment of sleep. But they have to be done just right, otherwise they aren't worth it. Carolyn Arnold is a bestselling author who has mastered this art. Today she is telling us how to write an engaging series. You can also check out an excerpt from her latest book, On the Count of Three, and leave her further comments and questions. Be sure to follow the tour and take advantage of all the opportunities to win the giveaway!

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Writing an Engaging Series

The more books you write in a series, the steeper the challenges. The overall plot, the killer(s), the method, the victimology are rather easy. What is more difficult is coming up with ways for your characters to grow. It requires that you dig deep into out their backgrounds, their motivations, and their experience. If authors get lazy in this regard, it will show in the final product.

For this reason, I endeavor to interview my characters to really drill down and find out what about the plot has that can parallel to their personal or professional lives. Sometimes it’s harder than it sounds. When it came to writing On the Count of Three, I interviewed several of the characters—even ones outside the series’ main characters.

In this book, I’m introducing someone who may become a part of the series and there’s only one shot at a first impression. You need to make sure the character is strong and relatable—real—so that readers can connect with them and want to know more about that person. Further than that, you want the reader so invested in the character, they’ll want to follow them for many books to come.

Also, if you’re writing a police procedural series like me, it’s crucial to get the facts right. If you’re familiar with my work, you realize just how important this aspect is to me. I’ve even adopted the trademark Police Procedurals Respected by Law Enforcement™. This wasn’t a decision that I chose, but rather that chose me. I’ve had many people from law enforcement reach out to me over the years to tell me how accurate my books are. Some have said they even see themselves in the characters as if looking in a mirror.

So how do I get my facts right when I don’t have a background in law enforcement? Research, but I’ve also been blessed with a network of people who have experience in law enforcement to answer my questions. They are so understanding and selfless with their time in responding. What I’ve found is they are appreciative that I am taking the time to make sure procedure is as accurate as possible.

I am pleased to say that even though the challenges can be great—and at times seem insurmountable—I believe my hard work has paid off again with the seventh installment in the Brandon Fisher FBI series. On the Count of Three took much longer to finish up than I would have liked, but I believe the final product makes up for any delay.

I invite you to download a copy of On the Count of Three or order in paperback or hardcover from your favorite retailer. But be warned: this book isn’t for the faint of heart.




On the Count of Three

And they thought prison was hell…

When a woman’s disappearance ticks off all the same boxes as two unsolved murders, Miami homicide detective Kelly Marsh is convinced there’s about to be a third. If she’s right and the killer sticks to their previous MO, she only has three days before Jenna Kelter’s decapitated head will show up somewhere in the city. With no time to waste, Kelly reaches out to the one person she knows can help: her former mentor and family friend Jack Harper, who just happens to lead a team with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit.

BAU special agent and profiler Brandon Fisher easily sees the similarities between Detective Marsh’s missing person case and the two cold cases: all three victims served time for DUI vehicular homicide and disappeared three days after being released from prison. But is that enough to assume Kelter has been abducted by a serial killer? Brandon’s not so sure and fears his boss may have let his personal connection to Marsh cloud his judgment. Surely there isn’t any other explanation for why they jumped into an investigation less than twenty-four hours after Kelter was reported missing. Then again, maybe Brandon is letting his own differences with the detective affect his perspective. He’ll need to move past it, though—and quickly.

After all, this killer has evaded capture for the past six years, and they may be looking at a lot more victims than originally suspected. This serial killer is calling the shots and pulling them into a macabre game of cat and mouse. While the team has no choice but to play, if they don’t make the right moves, one of them may not make it out of Miami alive.



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Read an excerpt:
“We’ll start on the count of three,” he said in a singsong voice. The Night pulsed beneath his skin with a heartbeat of its own.

“No, no, please!” the woman screamed.

It pierced his ears, but he smiled, moving into position next to her. “One…” He reached out for the chain that suspended the blade. “T—” His phone rang. His body quaked, the tremors of the Night snaking through him.

He grabbed a roll of duct tape from a nearby utility shelf and slapped a piece across her mouth. He normally didn’t have to worry about their screams out there, but he wanted to answer this call. The ringtone told him it was his girlfriend, Roxanne. She fit into his life plan—at least for now—and he didn’t want to mess things up with her.

He kept his eyes on the woman as he answered his phone. “Hey, sweetie.”

He listened as his girlfriend prattled on about their plans for the following evening—dinner, then a movie. Nothing new there. She said maybe dancing afterward, but they’d never make it to a club. She’d be ready for bed by ten, and he’d tuck her in. She was as predictable as drying paint and about as exciting. But she played along with his sexual fantasies without contention, and she’d do anything to make him happy.

“You’ll pick me up? My place at six o’clock?” she asked.

“I can do that. I’m looking forward to spending some time with you.”

“Love you,” Roxanne told him.

“Love you, too.” He hung up, smiling, and let the expression carry for his victim to see. He set up his cell phone to record again and walked toward the woman. “Let’s pick up where we left off, shall we?”

She was screaming behind the tape and bucking her head wildly. She was clearly trying to slide back, as if she could worm her way out of the guillotine.

Yes, fight. It makes it so much more fun…

“One,” he roared above her. “Two…” He wound the chain around his fingers. With a flick of his wrist, he released it. “Three.”

About Carolyn Arnold

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:
Website - http://carolynarnold.net/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Carolyn_Arnold
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynArnold

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters


Carolyn Arnold will be giving away a paperback copy of Remnants. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

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