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Thursday, 28 January 2016

ℚ Killer Pursuit: Allison McNeil [2] - Jeff Gunhus

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Killer Pursuit (, Seven Guns Press, 350 pages), a Thriller, book two of the Allison McNeil series.

Praise for book one, Killer Within:

A balanced blend of heart-pounding visuals and soul-searching introspection, Killer Within, Gunhus’s second novel, reaches beyond ordinary expectations for the genre. Gunhus exhibits a distinctive style typically found in seasoned authors like Dean Koontz and Stephen King.
– Clarion Foreword Reviews 5 STARS

I read a LOT of books and am very particular. This book captures you right from the first page and make you want to stay up all night reading it. Very suspenseful and a page turner. Great mystery plots. I would recommend this book to everyone I know. A must read! Can’t wait till his next book!

– Ellie Cogar

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops | The Torment of Rachel Ames | Other Works by the Author |


A very warm welcome to Jeff Gunhus; thank you for taking the time to join us on BooksChatter.

As I love music, as I do a bit of research about our guest authors, I always keep an eye out for any music playlists they may have.  In your case, Jeff, I found out from an earlier tour stop that you also like music and that the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for Gladiator is your go-to choice when writing, therefore I would like to share it here, so that we can listen to it during our interview.

What compelled you to write this particular story, Killer Pursuit?

"Killer Pursuit is the second novel featuring my protagonist FBI Agent Allison McNeil.  While the series is purposely written so that a reader can start anywhere in the series, the case she’s working on is a copycat to a case she brushes up against in book 1.

Because I live so close to D.C., I wanted in included more of the corridors of power and put my reader in the room with some of the world’s most powerful politicians.  I think it gives a good balance to the close, personal story of Allison and her father."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I live in Annapolis, 20 miles from D.C., so I have a lot of exposure to politicians, political operatives, FBI agents, Secret Service agents, etc.  I have an annoying habit of crushing people I meet with a tidal wave of questions about their job.  On top of that, I attended a full-day meeting at the FBI field office in New York learning all that I could about how the FBI walks, talks and chases bad guys.

Outside of that, the characters all tend to have part of the author’s personality in them.  There are some really bad people in this book, so hopefully writing them is akin to flushing them out of my system."
I actually recognise Annapolisis; we featured it late last year as it was used for a book cover.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating this book?

"As a writer, I learned (relearned) the value of a quiet moment in a thriller.  Some books I read (and like) are nonstop action all the way through.  It works on some level, but sometimes I find myself skipping pages when it’s another fight or car chase, looking for a scene when characters are interacting emotionally.

Some of my favourite scenes in this book are between Allison and her father who suffers from Alzheimer’s.  I tried to make them touching and true.  I cried a bit writing them, but I’m a big softie.  I hope I hit the mark."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Killer Pursuit - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"Carl Graves at Extended Imagery did the cover.  He’s a real genius taking the often fragmented, wild thoughts of an author and distilling them down to a single powerful image.

I knew I wanted to broadcast to the reader that this book had some political intrigue to it.  I also wanted it to be a little sexy because it does start with the murder of a call girl.  I think he did a great job bringing the elements together and still tying it into Killer Within, the first book featuring Allison McNeil."
Why should we read Killer Pursuit and the Allison McNeil series; what sets it apart from the rest?
"Allison McNeil is a strong female protagonist, but she’s not a superhero.  She has flaws and fears, not to mention a troubling past that continues to haunt her.  I think this allows people to really connect with her and care when she’s in danger."
Can you tell us something quirky about Killer Pursuit, its story and characters?
"There is one character and scene that stands out for its quirk factor (is that even a thing.)  There's a scene with an assistant in a morgue named Maurice, who is one of the oddest characters I’ve written.  He spends all of his time with dead people and it shows.  I won’t give it away, but when my wife read the scene in bed next to me, she turned and slugged me in the shoulder and said, “Really?” Hey, it got a reaction."
Ah - recently that's become quite topical in our household... we are going to have to find this passage you are referring to!

Who would you recommend Killer Pursuit to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?

"This book is for people who like not just crime fiction but straight thrillers as well.  There is not a lot of procedure here, so people looking for chain of custody arguments and a lot of forensics will be disappointed.  But readers who want a fast-paced plot with characters that feel real to you and a load of twists and turns will have a good time."
What has been your greatest challenge as a writer?
"Time.  With 5 kids, there’s never enough time to write as much as I want.  But a decision between writing more or coaching my kids at soccer or being a guest reader at their school is no decision at all.  I know they will be gone into the great big world some day and that at that point I would be willing to pay anything for all these “interruptions.”"

Incontestable.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  What has been the best compliment?

"The toughest criticism came from a woman who took offense to my novella, The Torment of Rachel Ames.  She took exception to my character dealing with the loss of a child.  I was clear she had lost a child herself so she felt angry that I would speak of that kind of pain without having personally experienced it myself.   There was no other way to react other than to feel terrible for her loss.  However, I recall crying while I wrote that novella because I was channelling my greatest fear and putting it into my fiction.

The best compliment is that people often include some comparison to Stephen King in their reviews of my work.  I feel I don’t hold a candle to the great SK, but my fantasy dream is that he’ll somehow learn about my books if enough people say they are alike.  Now THAT would be awesome."
SK has to be hands down my favourite writer, he has been since I was a teenager.
I wholeheartedly wish he does discover you and ends up praising your work :-D

What is in store next?

"There is a thriller set in the near-future called RESURRECTION, AMERICA that I’m nearly through a second draft.

I have the sixth instalment of the Jack Templar Monster Hunter series due in October.

And, lastly, I have a few shorts I’d like to do based on my characters from my Night Chill series."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I do everything with my two yellow labs.  They are always by my side while I write (sometime hitting the keys with their paws.)  They are my best readers because they like everything!"

Wow! And we complain about cats going for the keyboard :-D  They are a gorgeous duo!

Killer Pursuit
Available NOW!

UK: purchase from Amazon.co.uk US: purchase from Amazon.com purchase from Barnes & Noble find on Goodreads

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