Award-winning author Kit Frazier is a professional journalist and winner of Barnes & Noble Author of the Month and Mystery Guild Pick of the Month.
As a member of Austin Search and Rescue and Civilian Police Patrol, Kit participates in research and training with the FBI and Austin Police Department, which provides lots of opportunity for murder, mayhem and some really hot guys.
FBI Special Agent Tom Logan is back in town, and he's got a proposition for obituary writer Cauley MacKinnon. He needs somebody dead. And who better to help fake the death of a weasel-y informant than Cauley, aka the Obituary Babe?
But things go awry when the snitch is gunned down on the way to the courthouse, his sister is nabbed by a mysterious cloaked figure and soon Cauley is up to her eyelashes in hot guys, dead bodies, and on the hunt for the missing sister with her search and rescue dog, Marlowe.
In your opinion, what are the ingredients to making a great character?
Great characters—hero or villain—are only as good as their motivation. What is the core belief of your character, good or bad, and why?
When I create a character, I always figure out what is the absolute worst thing that could happen to him or her based on their core beliefs—what would test that entire belief system —then I shove that character right into that worst case scenario. I like to call it, “running my character up a tree, then burning the tree.”
As you’re writing, let your character decide whether or not this trial by fire will strengthen their conviction or rip life as they knew it to shreds.
I like to give my characters a twist—give the villain a dog to love or give the hero or heroine a fatal flaw (like jealousy, vanity, etc.).
Giving your hero a flaw and your villain a good trait will strengthen the reader-author bond—it will grab your reader by the nose, drag her into the story and won’t let go. For the heroine, she’s the girl you root for, cry with and stand up to fight beside.
Who is your favorite character from someone else's work and why?
There are so many great characters, but I really love Jesse Stone from the Robert B. Parker Paradise novels.. Jesse is a flawed, borderline alcoholic who battles his demons while he battles the bad guys.
Who is your favorite character from one of your works and why?
I love them all—even the bad guys because they’re just so stinking bad, but (predictably) I identify most with Cauley MacKinnon, the down-on-her-luck obituary writer who continues to pay for—and overcome—past mistakes in her own, funny, quirky way.
From Chapter One of Dead Sexy...
Answering the phone is always a crapshoot ... it’s usually the electric company checking to see if I’m dead because they haven’t received a payment in two months or my mother calling to remind me that I’m on a swift approach to thirty and time’s a-wasting. It’s never a good call, like my dream guy ringing from the drive- way or Publishers Clearing House calling to tell me they’re circling the block with a big fake check for a million dollars. Although if it was one of the guys from Publishers Clearing House, he would definitely be at the top of my Dream Guy list.
The phone trilled again. From the foot of the bed, Marlowe growled low in his husky-mutt throat. I cracked open one eye. Family or creditor, it was clear the phone was not going to stop ringing. My answering machine was broken, so, short of faking my own kidnap- ping, I was going to have to answer it. Searching through the tangle of sheets, I nearly knocked Muse’s grouchy little calico butt off the bed.
Jeez, what time was it anyway?
“Sorry, cat,” I muttered, ferreting the cordless out from a pile of pillows.
“Cauley MacKinnon,” I said into the receiver, my voice heavy with sleep and sounding a bit like Lauren Bacall.
“Hel-loooo,” I said into the silence, and there it was.
The unmistakable sound of heavy breathing. The little hairs on the back of my neck lifted, and I blinked myself awake. I’d been getting calls like this since word got out I was testifying in the upcoming federal trial of a beautiful, blond Argentinean gang leader who looked like Grace Kelly with fangs.
“Look, you big jerk,” I said with a mix of fear and false bravado. I was about to blast the bozo with a string of anatomically impossible suggestions when a deep voice drawled, “I need somebody dead.”
Aha! This time it really was my dream guy.
Grinning like an idiot, I wrapped my quilt around me and snuggled deep into my big, empty bed.
“Somebody already dead, or some- body you want to get dead?” I said. Just for clarification.
I nuzzled the phone to my ear and could practically see Special Agent Tom Logan leaning against his battered gray bureau car, looking like a tall, dark-haired, square-jawed Eagle Scout on high-octane testosterone. “Is this going to be one of those things where I have to help save the world and I get stabbed in the ass and then I don’t get to write a Pulitzer Prize-winning article when it’s all over?”
After a long pause, he said, “Probably you won’t get stabbed again.”
“Tom Logan, how you talk. FBI agents are so mercurial.”
“How many FBI agents do you know?” he said.
“Enough that you shouldn’t leave town again anytime soon.”
I could practically hear him smile over the line, and I wondered where things stood between us. The last time I’d seen Tom Logan, he’d thoroughly inspected my tonsils at the Fourth of July picnic and then disappeared into the night to go interrogate fugitives or use thumb- screws or whatever it was FBI agents did when they were called away in the line of duty.