SR: Practice pitching: tell us what your new book is about in 50 words or less.
BW: It’s a vigilante thriller. An ex-cop killed a murderer and, after an investigation, served a sentence. She is trying to distance herself from her past, but then one of her former cases becomes active again, and she can’t stay away—even considering the risk that history could repeat itself.
SR: Where did your idea for this book come from?
BW: I wanted to work with a character that’s a little different from the usual “female cop hunting the serial killer” theme that I am drawn to as a reader and writer, because these women are by the book. Joanna threw out the book. She felt like the system failed, and took matters into her own hands, and she’s been paying for it. A new relationship and past connections create a tug of war between past and present.
SR: Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Katniss Everdeen or Arya Stark? If your protagonist could be any fictional character for a day who would it be and why?
BW: I’m thinking Arya, because of the setting. Killer Instinct is one of my darkest books, so this would probably be a good fit.
SR: Was there a specific issue that really motivated you to write this particular story?
BW: Generally, the infuriating amount of misogyny that we can’t seem to get rid of on this planet. I don’t think that vigilantism is the solution, but as a writer I have the privilege to explore those ideas in fiction.
SR: What’s one thing that you and your protagonist have in common?
BW: I can easily dwell on old decisions, though in my case, there’s nothing this tragic, fortunately.
SR: If you were the right gender could you have a romantic relationship with your protagonist? Why or why not? Would it be a good relationship?
BW: If I wasn’t married…I might still find her a little intimidating. And I gave her a love interest!
SR: What’s the first book you remember reading that had a huge impact on you? How did that story affect you? How do you think it shaped your desire to be a writer?
BW: I’ve always been drawn to suspense, and serials, right from the start. I read a lot of books with characters like Nancy Drew as a child, then moved on to adult mystery and thriller series. That’s where I always wanted to go as a writer, to have a series that readers can discover and binge on. My next release after Killer Instinct will be Impressions, #8 in the Carpenter/Harding series.
SR: What was your journey to publication like? What kind of obstacles did you have to overcome?
BW: I had to wait for Christmas! The book is set during the holidays, so I wanted it to come out before. The coziness of Christmas music and parties with friends present a backdrop and also a stark contrast to the isolation Joanna feels in the beginning.
SR: You have to flee the country. Where are you headed to and why that location?
BW: I hope I’ll never have to flee from Canada—it’s my home of choice! Iceland? Since we’re already used to the cold…
SR: It’s the zombie apocalypse. You have to pick a weapon from what’s currently within 10 feet of your present location. What will you defend yourself with?
BW: The lamp next to me? Otherwise I can only hope that the pen is truly mightier than the sword.
SR: How long will you survive in the zombie apocalypse? How long will your protagonist survive? Why?
BW: Me, not so long. I write action and thrillers, but I don’t think I’d be that savvy when it comes to real zombies…Joanna, she’d be okay for a while. The book is called Killer Instinct, after all.
SR: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
BW: Write a lot, read a lot. Develop a good marketing strategy before the first book is even out (this is something I wish I’d known more about six years ago). Get early feedback from people who trust to tell you the truth. There is a lot of advice out there from many. Examine it carefully, and find out what works for you.
SR: Now for fun, if you were stuck on a deserted island and found that magic lamp with a genie and the genie had the power to bring any character in any of your books to life to be your companion, who would you pick and why?
BW: Jordan Carpenter from the Carpenter/Harding series – she’s as capable as Joanna, but more by the book and less scary! Although she wouldn’t like being apart from Ellie, so she might try to intimidate me into sending her back.
SR: And if the genie would only bring characters from works by another author to life who would you pick to spend eternity on that deserted island with?
BW: James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club. I think they’d be fun to hang out with. Or Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli & Isles. Either way, we could all share a lot of stories to pass the time…
Barbara Winkes writes suspense and romance with lesbian characters at the center. She has always loved stories in which women persevere and lift each other up. Expect high drama and happy endings.
Discover a variety of genres, serial and standalone. Women loving women always take the lead.