Monday, February 23, 2015

Author Gerrie Ferris Finger: Writing A Million Fictional Words

Running With Wild Blood by Gerrie Ferris Finger - Thoughts in Progress Feb. 23I’m delighted today to welcome author Gerrie Ferris Finger to Thoughts in Progress to talk about her recent release, RUNNING WITH WILD BLOOD, the fifth installment in her Moriah Dru/Richard Lake series.

Gerrie is a Georgia author and a former journalist who writes mysteries thus making her an extra special guest for me. She joins us today to talk about the writing life. Join me in giving Gerrie a warm welcome. Gerrie, welcome and thanks for stopping by. 

“Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.”
--Mark Twain

Moriah Dru, a private investigator specializing in finding children, and her lover, Richard Lake, an Atlanta homicide police lieutenant did not miraculously arrive in the series fully formed. It seems like I wrote a million fictional words before they could be created.

RUNNING WITH WILD BLOOD is the 5th in the Dru/Lake series that began with THE END GAME. That novel wonThe End Game by Gerris Ferris Finger the St. Martin’s Minotaur/Malice Domestic First Traditional Novel Award in 2010.

When I retired from news writing at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and embarked on a career as a novelist, I took so many back roads, I can't count them. I knew the differences between writing novels and newspaper copy. The longer form, whether genre or literary, involves conflict, plot structure, character building, setting, plot and theme. News editors reject all that to crowd as much information into as small a space as possible. 

After reading my first efforts (that were not Dru/Lake) my literary agent told me, "Your prose is too sparse. Your dialogue needs to give me a sense of the air and scenes around who’s talking. Don't tell me they looked shocked; tell me what shocked looks like."

I went overboard. It was like, Oh boy, I got the green light to indulge in the fine art of beautiful language—something I couldn't do as a news writer. So I wrote flashbacks that confused, heavy-handed imagery, too many metaphors, too much repetition and that dreaded of all, the detailed back story. 

The Last Temptation by Gerris Ferris FingerAfter toning down the prose, I listened carefully to what agents and editors were preaching. They are Voice hounds; they hear it in the first pages. I worked on my voice by using the narrative to pace the story. I peopled my work with fewer characters which enhanced the conflicts. THE END GAME was the first novel where I deliberately changed my voice to that of my characters. I heard Dru’s voice in my head before I wrote the first word of her story.

Gerrie, thanks for joining us today and sharing this look at how Dru and Lake came to be. Hearing the voices does make a huge difference. Now here’s a brief synopsis of RUNNING WITH WILD BLOOD:
   In this 5th in the series, Lake gets a cold case when a witness suddenly gets his memory back. Burdened with cases, Lake recruits Moriah Dru to look into the murder of Juliet Trapp‚ age sixteen when she died‚ and a student at Winters Farm Academy. Juliet Trapp, a wealthy girl who loved adventure, told her mother she was going to Bike Week with Wild Blood‚ an outlaw motorcycle gang‚ over the Christmas break. The Atlanta police were unable to solve Juliet's murder after interviews with the bikers.
       The Devil Laughed by Gerris Ferris Finger Dru interviews Juliet’s addled mother and the witness who had alcoholic amnesia when he saw Juliet in a bar with a biker the night of her murder. A photo run in a news story about her three-year-old murder jogs his fog of memory.

        The case roars into high gear when Juliet's father‚ Sherman Trapp‚ is murdered in Chattanooga where Wild Blood has moved its headquarters. Dru discovers that Trapp was trying to find the killer of his daughter‚ but got too close.

        Dru and Lake join forces with a wary Wild Blood to solve the murders and clear the club—if everyone in it can be cleared of murder.

        There are sub plots in the story: Where is Bunny Raddison, Juliet’s best friend? What role do a few male instructors at Winters Farm Academy play in Juliet’s and Bunny’s tragic lives? Why is Grady, the FBI agent, sticking so close to Dru?
Other books in the series:
Murmurs Of Insanity by Gerrie Ferris Finger 
#1 THE END GAME: Two sisters disappear. Dru learns they are bound for the overseas sex slave trade, and someone in their neighborhood has to know how and who.

#2 THE LAST TEMPTATION: The case takes Dru to the California desert where the glitzy characters of Palm Springs have a lot to hide, and bury.

#3 THE DEVIL LAUGHED: The grapes of wine country hold secrets of a past where four people and a sailboat disappeared four years ago.

#4 MURMURS OF INSANITY: Art as murder; murder as art. Dru must learn the path to both.


Retired journalist for The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, in 2009, Gerrie Ferris Finger won The Malice Domestic/St. Martin's Minotaur Best First Traditional Novel Competition for THE END GAME, released by St. Martin's Minotaur in 2010. 

She grew up in Missouri, then headed further south to join the staff of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There, she researched and edited the columns of humorist Lewis Grizzard and co-wrote a news column with another reporter for three years. The series that started there is still going strong today. RUNNING WITH WILD BLOOD was released in January 2015.

For more on Gerrie and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.


Author Gerrie Ferris Finger’s characters ring true-to-life with traits readers can relate to. The likable characters are well-developed and their interactions realistic.

The setting involving a biker gang will grab your attention as the twists and turns, with the aid of a few red herrings, holds you spellbound until the end. The story flows smoothly at a good pace with lots of action and interesting dialogue.

The mix of a cold case with murder, bikers and intrigue, flavored with a hint of romance, leads to a well-blended story. New readers to the series won’t be left in the dark as RUNNING WITH WILD BLOOD can be read on its own.

Running With Wild Blood by Gerrie Ferris Finger, A Moriah Dru/Richard Lake Mystery Book #5, Five Star, @2015, ISBN: 978-1432829667, Hardcover, 319 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me as part of the author’s virtual book tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Gerrie’s visit. I hope we’ve enticed you to check out this engaging book and entertaining series. When you hear the words – biker gang – do you automatically think trouble and mayhem?

(**SIDE NOTE: Sorry I’ve been away without warning, but sometimes life just happens. All is well I’ve just been trying to catch up on a few things on the home front while listening to several audio books. Hopefully in a couple of weeks I’ll be back on a regular schedule and be by to visit with everyone. Hope all is well in your world with this crazy weather. Thanks again for stopping by.)

*This post contains affiliate links.


  1. Wow, you had an agent before you wrote the first manuscript? That's impressive.

  2. Just put The End Game on my library t-b-r list.

  3. Lovely to see you back, Mason. And thanks for hosting Gerrie today. I always like learning how characters and their partnerships come to be.

  4. Gerrie had to learn a whole new writing skill and it sounds like she really enjoyed it.

  5. I like the quote form Mark Twain. I wish all authors would put that above their computer. I expect after being a journalist it was difficult to transition to being an author. I had the same trouble after being in the legal field for many years, you have to look at words with a whole new outlook.
    Great guest post.

  6. I loved reading this. Very interesting and inspiring. What a great series she's produced.

  7. Gerrie and I share the same last name...just spelled differently!

  8. Thanks Mason for having me as a guest. I love an opportunity to share my experiences. Also thanks commenters for your feedback. Gerrie


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.