Please join me in welcoming award-winning author Jeffery S. Williams as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.
Jeffery’s latest release is REDEEMER (ISBN: 978-1-60264-654-4). Here’s a brief blurb about the 218-page book: “For the past year, Detective Kristen Cauldron has been grappling with the disappearance of her 8-year-old daughter and the case has grown cold. Returning to work on the force after a year off, Cauldron finds herself working with a new partner and on a new case to catch a serial killer - an experience that will push her to the edge of sanity.
He calls himself "Redeemer." His religious delusions justify his elaborate murders. Using medieval practices, he takes the "lost causes" of the world and "redeems" them making their souls ready to stand before God. His motivation? Not vigilante justice or righteous judgment, but deliverance saving unknown future victims from cruelty, as well as redeeming the criminals from eternal damnation.
Redeemer selects Cauldron, based on her previous background, to be his vessel for revealing the scheme behind his "ministry." When Redeemer discovers Cauldron's history, he boldly pledges to her that he can find out what happened to her daughter. Cauldron is secretly caught between duty and hope, concealing it even from Hawkins, her partner who she has come to trust.
"REDEEMER" is a vivid examination of a man's toxic faith and hyper-religiosity, a mother's heart-wrenching loss and compulsion to discover her daughter's fate, a healing and often humorous bond between partners, and a riveting police investigation into this serial killer's psyche and symbolic crimes. When Redeemer and Kristen finally come face to face, the obsession to know the truth about her daughter threatens to destroy everything she holds close to her heart."
Jeffery has stopped by to answer some questions for me. He hopes to drop back by later if anyone else has any questions.
Mason - What inspired this gripping story?
Jeffery - One inspiration would have to be my favorite crime thriller Se7en. I was so impressed with the film’s plot arc, the villain and the crime scene depictions. For those who read REDEEMER, they will likely see some parallel, but will also see the villain delve much deeper into his motivations and logic for those he murders.
A second inspiration revolves around my having lived in Fresno, California since 1968. The central valley of California is a mini-Bible belt in an otherwise liberal state. Churches and fiery preachers proliferate here, and the possibility of some going off half-cocked is more not uncommon. As a city, Fresno is full of contradictions that seemed fitting for this story.
A third inspiration would come from my love of history, particularly the Renaissance and Reformation. Out of that time came the hysteria of inquisitions. Out of the inquisitions emerged some of the most haunting tortures devices known to humanity. Melding all those together sparked the idea for the novel REDEEMER.
Mason - What was the easiest part of writing this story and what was the hardest?
Jeffery - The hardest part of writing the novel was working from the point of view of a woman in the third person. While I actually had some experience with that from my first novel PIRATE SPIRIT: THE ADVENTURES OF ANNE BONNEY, where I wrote in the first person perspective of Anne Bonney of the 16th century, for some reason taking on a modern woman felt more problematic since there is a higher expectation of blunt honesty.
The easiest part of REDEEMER was writing the dialogue and point of the view of the villain. Isn’t that always what actors and writers say? I suppose we all have some capacity for evil, and while people of integrity keep those impulses in check, I felt a liberating feeling in being able to create a villain with no holds barred. Frankly, it was fun to let his twisted logic and maniacal character play itself out.
Mason - What type of research did you do for this book?
Jeffery - Having been a literature teacher for 24 years and a Sunday school teacher for nearly as many, my knowledge of Shakespeare, Dante and the Bible was more than adequate for what I intended with the story. Having lived in Fresno for more than 40 years, my life experience in this city made that part of REDEEMER more natural and instinctive as well. On the other hand, my study of medieval and Renaissance torture devices required a fair amount of research time.
Mason - What can readers expect next from you?
Jeffery - I cannot seem to land on one genre. My first novel PIRATE SPIRIT is a historical fiction based on the life of female pirate in the 16th century (which by the way is now in movie script form and being pitched in Hollywood…fingers crossed).
My second novel is literary comedy and whodunit based on HAMLET and ROMEO & JULIET. I created a sleuth team who investigated the tragedy and uncovered evidence that essentially changed the entire outcome of Shakespeare’s stories. Bold, I know. I call WHO’S TO BLAME? a kind of sequel/spoof/satire and pastiche to boot. I had a lot of fun writing it, allowing me to indulge in my love of wit, irony and sarcasm.
My third novel is REDEEMER — a psychological crime thriller.
So…what’s next? Harlequin Romance entitled LUST IN THE DUST? A Western? Science Fiction?
Actually, I am at work on another historical fiction novel set during the War of 1812 and America’s battle with Tecumseh and his Confederation. But I am in the early stages so I have time to change directions.
Jeffery, thanks for guest blogging here today and sharing the background on this gripping story.
Now for a little background on Jeffery. He worked as a journalist and freelance writer before becoming a high school and college English instructor. He lives in Fresno, California. He has previously written two award winning novels, PIRATE SPIRIT: THE ADVENTURES OF ANNE BONNEY and WHO’S TO BLAME? A LITERARY COMEDY.
For more on Jeffery visit his website.