Cary Allen Stone - Psychological Thrillers with Heart
Author Cary Allen Stone is fascinated with what makes criminals tick. In life, things are rarely black or white and readers of his award-winning Jake Roberts novels find themselves rooting for both the hero and anti-hero. Today, Stone reveals to us how an interview with a mother who murdered her six-year-old son made him want to tell his stories from a different perspective, why he doesn't write murder mysteries and how his job as a pilot influenced his writing.
Please give us a short introduction to After the Evil
Tormented detective Jake Roberts just killed a suspect in a firefight. Behind the ski mask was a sixteen-year-old girl. Cop-shop policy requires a visit to the precinct shrink after a shooting. Leaving the session in anger, Jake passes a beautiful woman entering the doctor’s office. Later that night, Dr. Thaddeus Abrams is found murdered. The kill is the work of a prolific serial killer and FBI profiler Mika Scott is obsessed with capturing the killer. She arrives to lead the investigation at the Atlanta PD where she was once Detective Jake Roberts’ partner and lover. Jake is sent to question the doctor’s clients and he comes face-to-face with the beautiful woman he passed in the office earlier, a flight attendant named Lori Powers. Jake and Lori fall into a steamy love affair. Working with Mika, tensions are running high when Jake discovers who the killer is and the once cold trail is on fire. Will they get there in time to stop another murder? The killer is within a fingertips reach.
Tell us a bit about Jake Roberts - how was this character "born"?
Jake Roberts was abandoned as a baby to St. Mary’s Home for the Will Never Leave. It was home until he left to become a street kid. He did petty crimes and while being handcuffed for one particular crime, the officer had a talk with him. He encouraged Jake to use his “skills” for the good guys. Jake went on to serve and protect for twenty-seven years as a homicide detective.
What fascinates you about psychological thrillers?
I wrote a true crime case study of the parental murder of children, Through a Mother’s Eyes. I knew a mother who murdered her six-year-old son and I told her story to hopefully prevent another tragedy. While sitting with her in her cell during the interviews, I heard her pain and anguish as she described her life and the murder. She loved him and thought she was saving him from an abusive father. The first reaction of people when I told them about the book was she should be executed. By the time they finished reading the book, most wanted to give her a hug, so how much more psychological can an author write? We all walk a fine line and anyone of us could trip along the way. That’s the essence of fictional psychological thrillers.
How did you go from being a pilot to a published author? Do your past experiences as a pilot influence your writing at all?
I’ve been writing all along, during my travels, on layovers. It was my second career. Now, I’m able to give it 100% of my time. Flying to so many different places, and looking down at the world from 35,000 feet, gives you a certain perspective not found while only staying on the ground. In 1992, I did a small corporate jet trip for two weeks in the Caribbean with Ridley Scott for a location scout. He mentored me about my writing. How much better can you get for a mentor?
What is one aspect of being a writer that you didn't expect going in?
Poverty (he smiles). If you’re writing for the fame and fortune, you better find something else to do.
What inspired you to write After the Evil?
After Through a Mother’s Eyes, I wanted to write crime fiction, specifically serial killer storylines, because that’s what I read. I based my detective, Jake Roberts, on the homicide detective I interviewed for TAMEs.
Your book contains quite a couple of twists. Did you plan them all out before you started writing, or did some of them just "happen"?
I see a title in my head from something I read, or researched and start there then I decide on a first line, last line, and a general flow between the two. I research to great depths on the subject matter and when I have all those ingredients I start to write, but not on the page, in my head. When I’m satisfied with it there, it goes down on the page and then the fun starts, the plot twists. They’re not planned. They just show up. So I detour until I take it back to my original storyline. I don’t think you can plan plot twists. They have to twist you to be real.
In After the Evil, readers know from the start who the killer is. Why did you pick this approach instead of making it a murder mystery?
When I read a story, I don’t want to find out in the end it really was the butler. I don’t like looking for “clues.” I want my readers to know my bad boy, or bad girl, and spend the rest of the book seeing the world through their distorted minds and through the characters like Jake who hunt them. People and their reasoning and interactions are the story, not a list of clues. Why did he or she do it? Who cares about a shoe print in the mud?
When I wrote TAMEs, I didn’t need to know where she put the razor blade. I wanted to know why she killed him.
Your book explores the criminal mind in great depth. Why did you find that important?
Because every one of us has the potential of committing a heinous crime. We just don’t find ourselves in those situations for the most part. I get high marks from my readers because I give them something to think about, not if the detective walked past the clue.
Stone gets photographed by his grandson while he is working
Which character did you find the most challenging to create?
I’d have to say Lori Powers. Lori was the very first female serial in crime fiction so I didn’t have much research to go on. But Lori is every one’s favorite to this day. They love Jake and are emotionally attached to him, but Lori never leaves their thoughts.
Readers say that they have been rooting for both the hero and the anti-hero in After the Evil. Was that your intention from the start?
Yes, I hear that all of the time and I think if you see the story that way then you get it. It’s always intentional in my Jake Roberts Novels. Again, people hated Julie murdering her son, until they read the story.
After the Evil is fast-paced, keeping readers on the edge of their seats. What is your secret to keeping readers hooked throughout?
Powerful main characters and strong sub-characters. I don’t let you hold your head up for air because you’ll miss something.
What are you working on right now - will we see more of Jake Roberts?
There are four Jake Roberts Novel––After the Evil, Mind Over Murder, After the Goode, and After the Kill. After You’re Dead will be out in fall. Jake and I are in it for the long haul.
Where can our readers discover more of your work and interact with you?
I just opened a new website for Jake (http://JakeRobertsFriends.com) where you will interact with him personally. He’ll also have giveaways, contests, Q & As, and chapter releases where you will read a chapter and make you suggestions. You will also have the opportunity to TALK TO THE AUTHOR directly with pre-arranged Facetime and Skype sessions.
If you go to Jake’s sight right now, and sign up for his friend list, you get an Amazon Gift card for $5.00. You can also go to his new Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/jakerobertsfriends to keep up on things. And you can always go to my website http://caryallenstone.com or my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/caryallenstoneauthor. On my website is a list of where you can find me like Smashwords, Pinterest, Amazon, and more.