Can a sheltered young seamstress, disillusioned by the horrors of WWII, escape an arsonist/murderer who has killed her employer and mentor, while trying to decide if she can trust the dashing war hero who’s ridden into town on his Harley—who some say is the murderer?
Erica Brogna’s parents doted on her and taught her to think for herself. Many boys she grew up with have fallen in the war, shaking her childhood faith. In rides a handsome stranger, at the hour of her most desperate need. A woman who is her best friend and mentor is trapped in a burning house. After making an unsuccessful rescue attempt, Erica stands by as this man rushes into the inferno and carries her friend’s lifeless body out.
Lorne Kincade can’t out run his past on his Harley Davidson WLA, the civilian model of the motorcycle he rode in the war. He’s tried. He’s been a vagabond biker in the year since the war ended. His Uncle Ivar bequeathed him a ramshackle cottage in Sanctuary Point, on the Great South Bay of Long Island, NY and now he’d like to hope for a future again, repair the miniscule place, and settle down. The only problem is, a young woman with hair the color of mink is starting to get under his skin and that’s the last thing he needs.
Let’s find out a little more about Nike Chillemi, Crime Fictionista:
Nike Chillemi has been called a crime fictionista due to her passion for crime fiction. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes monthly book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. Burning Hearts is the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series.
Crime Fictionista. What a cool title. How did you get that name?
NC: I’m a crime fictionista all right because my passion is crime fiction. For me a good book starts out with a dead body and then the detective character(s) with all his/her flaws showing must seek justice for the victim by finding the killer.
How did you come up with the premise for Burning Hearts?
NC: I have a vivid imagination. I get caught up in the various scenarios I come up with. I think…what if this, or that? I sometimes actually dream a scene in my book, or it comes to me in that twilight state in between sleep and awakeness. I’ll jump out of bed in the morning and run to my computer with a scene in my head I have to get down. Once I had the entire thing, word for word with dialog. That was incredible. I keep a potential plot file. As soon as I get the idea, in a dream, while washing dishes, whatever…I get to my computer as fast as possible and add it to my file.
The idea for BURNING HEARTS started with thoughts about two people, a heroine and a hero battling a raging fire. The story took off from there. It took four years to write and went through many drafts. Since it’s set in 1946, I had a lot of research to do. Some of the characters changed over time. The basic story line stayed the same, but I realized I had to add a few more twists. That meant rewriting…again. Not all my novels have taken four years to write, but every story has taken at least a year to get it the way I want it for my readers.
What does a normal workday look like for you? (when do you start, how long do you write, etc.)
NC: I’m a wife, mother, and homeschooling mom as well as an author. I get up and walk the dog. Then I have cats who want to eat breakfast. After the feline attack, I’ve got to have my cup of tea. At that point, the house is still quiet. DH is getting ready for work and I have about an hour to write, which I do every day. Then it’s five hours of homeschooling and another hour of writing. Then it’s getting dinner on the table, reminding DD that she REALLY needs a shower. I try to get in some reading before bed.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
NC: I’m both. I start off a seat-of-the pantser. I get an idea, like a raging house fire that opens chapter one in BURNING HEARTS. I’ve got my characters set in my mind and I drop them into the scene. I write seat of the pants at that point. When I’m done with the chapter, I put a short synopsis of it in my “plot outline file.” After the first chapter is set in the outline, I have to get technical. I’ve got to pretty much alternate scenes between my heroine and my hero. One can dominate, but not by much. As I enter the synopsis for each chapter, I see how the plot is flowing. If there’s too much darkness, I might have to go back and add a little humor. However when I’m writing the first draft of a chapter, it’s totally seat of the pants. Of course, then there’s editing. Sometimes I edit a chapter two or three times. When I submit to my publisher, it’s pretty clean.
What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not writing? Least favorite?
NC: I love the ocean, particularly the eastern seaboard and the Atlantic Ocean. There’s nothing I like more than sitting under a pavilion or cabana by the sea with a good book. I’m also a foodie and spend a considerable amount of time looking recipes up on the Food Channel’s website. I love eating out in a good restaurant, a little café perhaps. My least favorite is cleaning house, though I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when it’s done.
If you had a Friday night all to yourself, what would you do?
NC: I’d read. Or, I might write. Since I have to be alone for this, I can’t get DH to take me out to eat. So, I might go to Starbucks and get a cappuccino, soak up the atmosphere and soft music, and read. I love to drive. I could take Sophie, our malti-poo to Long Island and drive out to the ocean in Southampton, or Montauk. I’d find a café that allows dogs outside and order an exotic coffee drink and read or write and watch the surf come in.
Where can readers find your books? Do you have a website, blog, etc.?