Hello everyone, thank you for joining us once again.
We’re kicking off the week on another Monday and hopefully I have something to help cure your Monday Blues, courtesy of the insights found within my ongoing Author Interviews series.
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It gives me the greatest pleasure to introduce to you all author Rosemarie Aquilina, as we chat to her about her Crime Thriller novel “Triple Cross Killer” (State Detective Special Forces Series), along with her passions, influences and writing experiences.
Let’s get this edgy thrillfest fired up and ready to pop – enjoy folks and thanks for reading 🙂
Hi there Rosemarie, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today about your debut novel release, along with your passions, influences and writing experiences.
I appreciate you taking the time to interview me more than you know!
Let’s start first with your debut thriller novel in the State Detective Special Forces Series called “Triple Cross Killer”, which was just published in early December. Please tell us more about the plot, along with who the main protagonists and antagonists are, what the stakes are for them and how your story sets itself up for a detective series.
The storyline was developed after my eldest son, David, asked me: “Mom, what happens if Santa’s letters get into the wrong hands?” Immediately, the storyline flashed in my mind’s eye and two hours later Chapter One was born.
The evil Nick Archer with his boyish charm, good looks, and devilish charisma takes hold of Santa letters he obtains from his twin brother Chris, who works at the Post Office. While Chris takes the Santa letters from the “dead-letter” office to use as his own personal focus group in developing computer games, Nick steals the tossed-off letters and uses them for his own purpose. As an airline pilot for Delta, having the Detroit-Sarasota run, a killing spree erupts in both cities. Detective teams in each city do not make the connection until the nurse Rita Rose’s life is placed at risk.
The characters are all modeled after people I know and situations I hear on the bench, although it is a fictional story. But this is an important story because it serves as a reminder to stay in control, ask questions, and never allow anyone to control you, especially when it doesn’t feel right. It is also a reminder that no one should take the law into their own hands.
If your novel was to be made into a film (or even a TV series), who would you cast in the lead roles?
Triple Cross Killer is in negotiations with a movie production company, who want to make it into a movie or a mini-series, so I have given this some thought.
Detroit Detective Jaq McSween would be played by the beautiful and confident Jennifer Lopez, who has the perfect face and demeanour to portray Jaq’s saucy attitude, clever way of thinking, and subtle humor. Ben Affleck staring as Jaq’s partner, David Maxwell, would provide a steamy yet compelling personal and work partnership that would mesmerize viewers as they solve the case with the Sarasota detective team. The American Coney Dog eating Abel Mendoza would be played by George Lopez or Paul Rodriguez, either of whom could pull off the always hungry for a dog, and occasionally interjecting Spanish words like “Si” competent side kick to Rabbit—Ronald Randall.
Rabbit, known for pulling together odd clues and solving crimes would be played by Tony Shaloub.
Leonardo DiCaprio would make a compelling Nick Archer who easily captivates his prey before he crushes out their life, and, he would easily romance the lovely and over-qualified Nurse Rita Rose played by the stunning Vanessa Marcil.
Samuel L. Jackson would portray the supporting role of Wayne County Medical Examiner Dr. Towers with compelling accuracy and such believability Detroit’s Mayor might offer him the job!
What would you choose as your own personal mascot or spirit animal when it comes to you and your style of writing?
I have three siblings, Joseph, Thomas and Helen, in that order. I am the oldest. As children we nicknamed each other as animals. Joe was a Goose, Tom was a Moose, and Helen, the youngest, was a Hamster. They named me Ox. Not because of my size, but rather my stubborn temperament. That describes my writing. Oxen pull heavy loads and for longer periods—like me: I write until the words say what I mean. I have the stamina to write for hours at a time without getting up, without having writer’s block, and without getting discouraged. I plod through until I finish the page, the chapter, the novel.
That’s the stubborn Ox in me.
What do you think most characterizes or defines your writing? Do you have any writing quirks or themes that constantly crop up in your stories?
There is always a strong woman, like me, who turns bad into good, wrong into right, and is genuinely passionate about people. There is always a man who is like the devil—the devil I’ve met and who I got away from. I always seem to give character traits to evil characters from those people who have been unkind to me and I ensure that character loses in the end because of their evilness. It is my subtle retaliation. I get the last laugh. And there is always a good lesson learned.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
The most difficult thing about writing is sticking to one book. I generally write a few books at a time because multiple characters appear in my head whose story must be told. Those characters don’t always fit into one story. But that is what keeps me writing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I truly enjoy the journey!
Who are some of the authors, poets and/or historical figures that inspire you?
There are so very many but those include, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Ray Bradbury, Charles Dickens, Margaret Mitchell, Alfred Hitchcock, John Grisham, Eric Segal, John F. Kennedy, and Colin Powell, to name a few. And, honestly, I have to add Scarlett O’Hara, fictional, maybe—but very real to me!
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
I research actual crimes; criminal, legal and medical process, and actual places and venues. I read newspaper and magazine articles. I download dialect dictionaries and roadmaps of localities. I consult experts, including police officers and medical experts.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
I have a very busy life and demanding career as a judge, law professor, and mother. I rarely take vacations, so I have learned to build in time for myself and for my writing. Writing is my stress reliever and my daily vacation. I began writing during my lunch hours at work. This led to writing in the evening, then early morning hours when I had characters who needed my attention. On weekends, I write with my first cup of coffee when the house is quiet and at any other quiet time I can steal. I write everyday—for me it creates endorphins, like athletes talk about when they regularly exercise. Besides spending time with my family, cooking and oil painting, writing fiction is the best part of my day. This creative outlet helps me concentrate on the serious matters I deal with at work as a judge every day.
Since I was a toddler, I recall wanting to be a writer. I told tales to my younger brother who was eager to listen to stories. Because we were a family with limited financial means, there was a shortage of toys and books. The few books we had I could recite—and I don’t usually memorize anything easily. My brother Joe, eleven months younger, always begged me to read to him. I pretended to read the back of cereal boxes, newspapers, the church bulletin, anything with printed words. Left to my creative devices, I invented stories, added onto characters plights I had read about, and invented new chapters and backstories. I entertained my brother for hours with invented stories. I treasured Joe’s attention, laughter, and the sheer glee on his face at my stories. I vividly recall his inquisitive entertained boyish face. I still hear our laughter and feel the sheer thrill of the emerging story—one I hadn’t planned, but one that simply emerged and developed as I told it. This developed the “panster-writer” in me. I don’t plan. I listen to my characters. And, I type forward.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writer’s Block?
Listening to trials before me motivates me. Life in general motivates me. I am always open to the entanglements that daily human interaction creates and that intrigues me to create and write a compelling story.
I don’t believe in writer’s block. I always have a notebook with me and I use it. I listen to what is said around me, and I jot it down. I daydream, and I jot it down. I dream and when I wake up I jot it down. I tear out newspaper and magazine articles and toss them in a file. When I need a word, phrase, or story idea, and it is not on the tip of my brain, I flip through my notes or my file, I am inspired, and I find my words.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t worry about detours, pursuing other things, those detours will be the foundation of your integrated imaginative storytelling abilities. Write every day. Attend writing seminars. Surround yourself with creative people, especially writers because they understand what you are going through. Never second-guess your writing dream. As long as writing makes you happy, no one else’s opinion on your goals matters.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
During the week, I am a Circuit Court Judge in the General trial division hearing felony cases and civil cases over $25,000. I also am a Law Professor and teach at two law schools in the evening and weekends. I have twins and a teenager at home, my elderly parents and two puppies. I love to cook and often have many extra people who show up at my table—I’m working on a cookbook—another stress reliever. I oil paint with my teenager which we do to spend quality time together—she’s the real artist—before she leaves for college. I mentor countless law students, even long after they graduate; I am very proud of all they accomplish in the world!
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I have nearly completed book two in the State Detective Special Forces series. It is currently named “Circumstantial Justice” and then it will go into the editing phase in preparation for publication. The third in the series working title is “Love In A Glimpse.” I am also editing the first in a cozy mystery series titled: “All Rise” that is a lot of fun. I’m also writing a family cookbook—I’m not sure it will be for sale, but it’s a collection of family favorite recipes to pass down with special notes and pictures for my children. It’s a daunting but pleasurable project.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
Don’t be discouraged. The greatest writing lessons come from actually writing and rewriting. Never be afraid to edit and rewrite. Walk away from what you may think is your greatest or worst piece for a few days or weeks. Then take another look. You will see things from a fresh perspective you didn’t see before.
Find an editor you can work with who doesn’t just edit, but who teaches you what works and what doesn’t work and tells you why. Editors don’t work for free, but they are worth it. Wait until you have a finished project you have edited yourself a few times before you spend your money hiring an editor and then take your time to find the right one. I found mine at a writer’s seminar.
Join writer’s groups. Attend writing seminars—if you look there are some in your area—Check your local college, or a bookstore. “Writers Market” has a section on seminars. Use Google search engine, and ask other writers, etc.
Great writing and a fresh voice is a result of hard work, vision, and diligence. Never give up your dream to be a writer. Remember, just because you haven’t published yet doesn’t mean you aren’t a writer. I write for the joy of it. I always considered myself a writer, since the time I was a toddler, because I told stories and wrote for the love of it. Publication is outstanding, but published or not, I will continue to write.
I always say to my law students: “Go out and do great things in the world!” So, now I say to you: “Go out and write great words to the world!”
And that’s a wrap! Rosemarie it has been fantastic chatting with you and listening to your writing advice, we look forward to checking out your book in due course 🙂
Thank you for spending this time with me. I appreciate you and all the readers, more than you know. See you between the pages!
Rosemarie Aquilina is the mother of five children. Elected as a 30th Circuit Court Judge serving in the General Trial Division, after having served as a 55th District Court Judge in Mason, Michigan, she takes pride in public service.
In 1986, Judge Aquilina became the first female JAG Officer in the history of the Michigan Army National Guard, she retired in 2006 with twenty years Honorable Service. She is an adjunct law professor at both Western Michigan University—Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Michigan State University College of Law and has earned teaching awards at both institutions. Judge Aquilina is the former owner of Aquilina Law Firm, PLC, and former host of a syndicated radio talk show called Ask the Family Lawyer.
You can connect with her via the following Social Media channels:-
You can buy her books here:-
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.
Still want more? Well, Rosemarie’s book is a crime thriller of the highest order and is guaranteed to keep you on tenterhooks as the plot unfolds. For more articles on the theme of ‘Tenterhooks’ then check out the links below:-
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