Saturday, August 13, 2011


Anyone reading this blog for a while knows I try to stay ahead of the curve with interviews from edgy newcomers to established N.Y. Times Bestselling Authors.  This time I'd like to highlight a real life criminologist who doubles as an award-winning fiction writer.  Jennifer Chase is the author of the Emily Stone series of novels which are part mystery-part thriller.  Emily Stone is a female vigilante armed with a digital camera and the uncanny ability to interpret valuable information the police seem to be overlooking.  In her thriller, "Dead Game," Emily Stone actually uncovers a social network community for serial killers.  This is highly evolved stuff which Jennifer pulls off amazingly well.  Thanks to Jennifer for taking time to play 5 questions with me:

1- With all of your forensic background and technical skills, what gave you the urge to create fiction?

Actually, writing came first and then forensics. I’ve loved books and writing for as long as I can remember, so the urge to write has been part of my DNA for quite some time. As I began to study forensics and criminology, I had the idea for my first book Compulsion, which was loosely inspired by a violent neighbor who threatened my life for more than two and half years. I found that a forensic background and writing crime fiction complimented each other. I love being both creative and scientific. It’s the best of both worlds for me.

2- How much of Emily Stone is really you? And what traits are simply not in your repertoire?

Ah, I love this question. Yes, Emily Stone is the more intelligent, savvy and tougher version of me. She takes the next step and hunts down killers and the most feared and heinous members of society, something I think about quite often. All my characters, the good and bad, are some part of me I suppose even if it’s just the dark part of my mind. Emily Stone encompasses the traits that I would love to see in someone out there helping law enforcement anonymously, but it’s not in my repertoire. After my first hand-to-hand combat fight with a killer, I’d probably run screaming for my mommy. Lets face it, law enforcement is overburdened, outmanned, and in need of more specialized training when it comes to serial crime and cold cases. I felt that Emily Stone filled a need as a phantom detective. It’s my version of a law enforcement forensic superhero.

3- What aspect of writing do you find the most challenging and the most rewarding?

For me, setting out to write a full-length novel is the most challenging. It’s a huge undertaking and a little bit scary too. There’s a little bit of me that feels like maybe I can’t do it this time, but I’m a person who has always loved a challenge. I try to take each novel to the next step, not only for my readers, but also for myself as a novelist. Funny thing, the most challenging part of writing is also the most rewarding for me. There’s nothing better than the feeling of finishing a first draft of your novel.

4- When a criminal acts irrationally, like keeping your dead girlfriend's corpse in the house for a couple of months, doesn't that create a great insanity defense all by itself? And do you suspect that can be staged?

The use of the insanity defense is used rarely, despite what we see on television. However, there have been a few successful cases. And, it’s possible (but unlikely) to stage all the “psychological” elements, both before and after the homicide. This would take someone who knows quite a bit about psychology and the criminal justice system. They would have to know how the local detectives would investigate the case along with prosecutors, etc. As with the case you stated above, it appeared that the individual killed his girlfriend in the heat of the moment and then didn’t know what to do. Basically, he didn’t want to get caught carrying out a body from his apartment and couldn’t stomach dismembering her. He committed the crime and then knew it was wrong afterward. People do strange things under stressful circumstances. A psychological history and the use of drugs would play a significant part to his defense. I don’t think this case would fit the requirements of an effective insanity defense.

5- What are your thoughts on the tendency for authors with traditional print publishing contracts deciding to go Indie instead? Do you see that trend continuing or is it just a temporary blip in the new digital publishing world?

I think it says a lot when an author with a traditional publishing company decides to go independent instead. We’ve been told over and over that getting that big publishing contract is the way to go and the only way you’ll be successful. Or, is it? I’m in awe of Indie authors who are kicking butt and selling loads of ebooks. That’s fantastic! I think that a little competition is healthy for publishers. I don’t see this as just a trend. Readers have spoken loudly and don’t care if a book is published by a big publisher or self published. The bottom line is the book must be good. Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t a need for mainstream publishers, but nothing ever stays the same and it’s time for publishers to make some changes too.

Here's a link to Jennifer's Web Page:


  1. Hello, Gary & Jennifer,

    Thank you, both for a most insightful interview, exploring an area as law-abiding people we all share, a fascination for our festering population who commit ghastly crimes.

    I love how you describe, Emily Stone. Which is just one of the reasons the series is so popular. We can all relate and admire her strength in combating the scum. However, at the same time, (a little more) than pleased we are not in her shoes!

    Thanks again,

    Stuart :)

  2. Another great interview, Gary. :)

    Jennifer, I'd be curious to know to what point you find your experience as a criminologist helps in your writing.

  3. Hi Claude,

    My work and academic background in criminology keeps me grounded when I create a fictional story. In other words, I look at all plausible sides of the storyline (crime scene, serial killer mind, investigation, etc.) and add my creative energy. I start with more of a profile and end up with a story.

    Please feel free to go to my blog for articles on forensics and criminology:

  4. Hi Claude,

    I find that my experience and academic background in criminology grounds me in my writing. It allows me to see all angles of a particular storyline or scene (crime scene, investigation, serial killer mind, etc.) and then my creativity takes over. I feel that there's a balance between make believe and reality.

    I have articles on forensics and criminology on my blog:

  5. Jennifer is one of my favorite authors. How happy to find an interview!
    I find her novels to be action-packed and the procedural aspect immaculate.

    Great questions! :D