Thursday, 13 May 2010

Featured Author Interview - Melanie Atkins author of Chosen Target

STEPH: Tell us a little about the New Orleans Detective series. What was the inspiration behind it? How many books do you have planned for the series?

MELANIE: I love New Orleans, hot cops, and intrigue...and because of my close proximity to The Big Easy, setting the series there was a no-brainer. It's the perfect backdrop for murder. The series, which is complete, contains six books. Beloved Captive, Book Four, will be released in October, with Unwilling Accomplice and Perfect Partner due out in 2011.

STEPH: What can we expect from "Chosen Target?"

MELANIE: Intense love scenes, mistrust, and the purest sense of the word. Think bombs and Mardi Gras.

STEPH: Why did you choose New Orleans for your setting?

MELANIE: Because I'm fascinated with the city. I live only three hours away, and I visit it often.

STEPH: When was the last time you were in New Orleans? Did you go for Mardi Gras? (If so, what did you love about Mardi Gras?)

MELANIE: That's a funny question. I've been to Mardi Gras in N.O. once, back when I was in college (a long, long time, but haven't been back since -- although I have been to celebrations on the Mississippi Coast and in Mobile. I have been to N.O. when they've had other parades, though, and those were fun. They have them all the time, and for the smaller ones the police don't even stop traffic. People crowd into the streets, and beads fly. It's a hoot!

STEPH: Do you cast your characters? If so, who is "Jadan?" "Cole?"

MELANIE: No, actually. I don't usually cast them. I get a picture of them in my head and go with that. Sorry to be so boring, but picturing celebrities just doesn't work for me. I need my characters to "be there own people", so to speak.

STEPH: Where do you find inspiration? Tell us a little about your muse.

MELANIE: My muse lately has been watching intriguing crime dramas. Watching good TV, reading books, and listening to music gets my motor running.

STEPH: What are some of your favorite crime dramas?

MELANIE: Castle (well, I guess that's more of a dramedy than a crime drama, but I seriously love that show), Law & Order SVU, In Plain Sight, Dexter, and Southland--which is probably the most accurate of the bunch when it comes to police procedure. I've never watched Criminal Minds, but I've heard good things about it and plan to watch all seasons on Netflix this summer while some of my favs are on hiatus. Might make the wait for the third season of Castle easier to take. lol

STEPH: Did you have to do research for this series? If so, what did you do?

MELANIE: I visited New Orleans (more than once), surfed the Internet, and consulted people in law enforcement.

STEPH: The cover to "Chosen Target" is gorgeous and very colorful! Did you have any input on the cover? How did the cover come to be?

MELANIE: Jenifer Raneiri, Desert Breeze Publishing's clever cover artist, came up with that cover on her own after reading my art sheet. I simply wrote "Mardi Gras", "danger" and "New Orleans", and she took it from there,

STEPH: How are the kitties doing? Do you have any new kitty stories you'd like to share?

MELANIE: My kitties are fine. They love this good weather. All three of them are indoor/outdoor cats, and they love to hunt. After last weekend's rainstorm, I discovered a disintegrating mouse on my back porch. They're always bringing their kills up to the house for me to see. *lol*

STEPH: What was the last book you read?

MELANIE: The Devil's Punchbowl by Greg Iles. He's a fellow Mississippi author who writes incredible suspense. The book kept me on the edge of my seat -- which is just the way I like it.


  1. Great interview, Melanie... and GREAT SERIES! Danger... romance... Danger... Mardi Gras... Danger. :-)

    And I highly recommend Criminal Minds. My daughter and I watch it together -- of course, I think she watches it because she's totally infatuated with Spencer Reid. She's attracted to the geeky boys... which is okay, since I'm pretty sure on average geeks have a much higher annual income. LOL

    Gail Delaney

  2. Thanks, Gail! I can't wait to check it out.