LITTLE GIRLS SLEEPING - AUTHOR Q&A with Jennifer Chase @JChaseNovelist @Bookouture #BlogTour

At last he stepped back and admired his handiwork, perspiring heavily through his shirt from the effort. Exhilaration filled his body, keeping his muscles flexed and his heart pumping hard. He leaned against the shovel, a smile forming on his lips as he waited for his pulse to return to normal, and marveled at the unmistakable outline of a freshly dug grave.” 

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

He looked down at the little girl, sleeping peacefully, her arms wrapped around a teddy bear. He knew he was the only one who could save her. He could let her sleep forever.

An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California and for Detective Katie Scott it’s a cruel reminder of the friend who disappeared from summer camp twenty years ago. Unable to shake the memories, Katie vows she won’t rest until she discovers what happened to Chelsea.

But as Katie starts to investigate, the case reveals itself to be much bigger and more shocking than she feared. Hidden deep in the forest she unearths a makeshift cemetery: a row of graves, each with a brightly coloured teddy bear.

Katie links the graves to a stack of missing-persons cases involving young girls—finding a pattern no one else has managed to see. Someone in Pine Valley has been taking the town’s daughters for years, and Katie is the only one who can stop them.

And then another little girl goes missing, snatched from the park near her home.

Katie’s still haunted by the friend she failed to protect, and she’ll do anything to stop the killer striking again—but can she find the little girl before it’s too late?

Compulsive and gripping crime fiction for fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh. Katie Scott’s first case will have you on the edge of your seat and gasping with shock.

Welcome, Jennifer! Is your new crime thriller based on a true story and if not how did you come up with the idea?

Jennifer: Little Girls Sleeping is not based on a true story; however, there are definite true-like aspects to the novel. The main character, Katie Scott, comes home from Afghanistan where she had served two tours as an Army K9 handler. She had taken time off from her current position as a police patrol officer to serve her country. After arriving home, her uncle wanted to keep her busy until she figured out what she wanted to do and to settle back into civilian life. And her uncle just happens to be the sheriff, so Katie helps out with administrative duties at the department where she stumbles across a cold case of an eight year old girl—Chelsea Compton—who had disappeared without a trace four years earlier. This one case ultimately alters Katie’s path as it reminds her of a close childhood friend that disappeared from camp. This case sets her on a wild journey of investigation and an encounter with a killer that she’ll never forget.

Can you brief us on who the main characters are?

Jennifer: Detective Katie Scott is a determined investigator working for the local sheriff’s department trying to balance her previous military life with being back home again. Through some political interventions, her uncle, Sheriff Scott, manages to cut through some red tape and bring home her partner, Cisco, an eighty pound black German shepherd.

Katie’s homecoming wouldn’t be complete without running into her long-time childhood friend Chad Ferguson, a local firefighter. Sparks begin to fly between the two which in turn causes some interesting complications.

Sheriff Wayne Scott, the town sheriff and Katie’s uncle, runs the police department in town with integrity and honesty. When it becomes known that a serial killer is on the loose and preying upon local little girls, he must make some decisions that will forever change everything at the department and ultimately divides the town.

Deputy Sean McGaven is a deputy sheriff that has been assigned to work with Katie on the investigation. It proves to be a bumpy and often strained relationship between the two.

A clever and cunning killer identifies himself as someone who wants to protect young, innocent girls from the evils of the world. He would rather have those little girls sleep peacefully forever than be exposed to many of the unspeakable things happening in society. 

You have a background in forensics which I know must have come in handy! Can you tell us about that?

Jennifer: Yes, I love forensics and it does help with the stories I write whether it’s physical or psychological evidence. Many years back, I experienced a text book psychopath that moved in next door to me, threatening to kill me repeatedly, and let’s just say many of my experiences with him are just as scary as anything you’re going to read in a novel. This experience exposed me first hand to this type of person and from it I went back to school and obtained my degrees in forensics and criminology. I’ve never looked back or questioned if this was what I wanted to do. I enjoy learning about new forensic technologies whenever I can. With every book I write, I love to incorporate forensics and take readers on an adventure into the criminal mind. 

In your studies of the criminal mind, what did you find the most fascinating?

Jennifer:  As a criminologist, I find it fascinating what makes someone commit a specific crime while someone else, thinking about committing the same crime, doesn’t take that extra step into criminality. There are definite lines crossed as well as the lack of impulse control. Although not always the case, I find it most interesting when someone who is defined as a serial killer can live a “normal” life while searching, abducting, and killing victims. Many researchers and detectives try to find the “links” to figure out what makes a serial killer tick, when in fact, there are so many aspects, but in the end every case needs to be sorted through individually. There are no shortcuts or a recipe for a serial killer—each case is unique.    

While writing your book, did you find yourself thinking about it during off times when you weren’t writing?

Jennifer: Absolutely! Writing serial killer thrillers can be intense, so I try to balance my day with healthy breaks. No matter how hard I try to take that relaxing walk at the beach I find my mind wandering back to the book. Maybe I’m thinking about the ending or tweaking a scene. Whatever it may be, when I’m in the middle of writing a book, it’s always on my mind.

What is next for you, Jennifer?

Jennifer: Little Girls Sleeping is the first book in the Detective Katie Scott series. There are two more books scheduled at this point. I’ve just finished the second installment and I’m outlining the third. I’m very excited! It has been loads of fun spending time with this character and all her adventures.

I do have two other series, the Emily Stone Thrillers and Chip Palmer Forensic Mysteries I’m currently outlining more books to come.

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