Everybody loves a good mystery, especially one that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Today I am talking to author Carolyn Arnold whose novel Ties that Bind is receiving rave reviews. She has a new book out – ELEVEN – which is sure to keep you glued to the edge of your seat. If you haven’t read Carolyn Arnold yet, this is your chance to get a sneak peak and discover a great new author.
Carolyn Arnold is the author of several novels in the mystery, thriller and suspense genres. TIES THAT BIND, the first in a police procedural mystery series surrounding Detective Madison Knight, was her debut novel and published May 2011.
Carolyn was born in 1976 in the rural town of Picton, Ontario. While her passion for writing dates back to her teen years, it wasn’t until 2008 that she completed her first novel. She lives with her husband and her two beagles in Southwestern Ontario.
Do you work with an outline?
I’m a complete “panster” which means no outline for me. I know the basics of how the story is going to end but I let the characters lead me along. Before I write I do set out with an understanding as to the main characters. This affords me an intimate relationship with them from the first word. Of course, that relationship only grows.
You have a continuing character in your novels. Give us a bit of background about her:
At the age of 34, Madison Knight knows she wasn’t destined to be a cop, coming from generations of those who served before her. She isn’t holding onto a childhood trauma for which she seeks retribution. In fact, she’s probably a poor candidate for a Major Crimes Detective with her distaste for the sight of blood. But she pushes herself beyond it because she wanted a purpose to her life as opposed to just making it through it.
She didn’t want to be part of the “cookie-cutter mold” with family and kids even though she came close – once. The once being enough to seal the fact she didn’t need a man, and given time and opportunity any man would cheat. Instead she was left with a broken heart and her belief there was someone special out there for everyone was shattered.
Maybe if she saw things through her mother’s eyes, she would be considered a perfect daughter as opposed to the other daughter. Her sister has the “perfect” life – a husband and three girls. At times Madison contemplated whether it was simply her career choice that drew the barrier in the relationship with her mother, or if it was the fact her grandmother left her everything. It is possible Madison will never know for sure.
What Madison does know is the memory of her grandmother helps coax her through the times she struggles. Her grandmother was the one person that truly believed in her, and for that Madison could never let her down. This could be why Madison is determined to find justice for the victims and closure for the family left behind no matter what the costs.
Tell us a little about your books.
TIES THAT BIND, the first in the Madison Knight series, available now
The first case was ruled an isolated incident until the second victim. Madison Knight and her partner must work to stop a potential serial killer from striking again.
ELEVEN, FBI Thriller, available now
New FBI Special Agent Brandon Fisher never expected this when he became FBI – eleven rooms, ten bodies and one empty grave.
JUSTIFIED, the second in the Madison Knight series scheduled for December 2011
It’s Christmas Eve and the case has Madison Knight and her partner dealing with blood and lots of it. Everyone wanted the victim dead. In order obtain justice Madison Knight and her partner must find out who has the most motive and hold the guilty accountable.
Novel Excerpt – “Eleven”
Nothing in the twenty weeks at Quantico prepared me for this.
A Crime Scene Investigator, who had identified himself as Earl Royster when we first arrived, came out of a room and addressed FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jack Harper. “All of the victims were buried–” He held up a finger, his eyes squeezed shut and he sneezed. “Sorry ‘bout that. My allergies don’t like it down here. They were all buried the same way.”
This was my first case with the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit and it took us to Salt Lick, Kentucky. The discovery was made this morning, and were briefed and flown out from Quantico to the Louisville field office where we picked up a couple SUVs. We drove from there and got here about four in the afternoon.
We were in a bunker illuminated by portable lights brought in by the local investigative team. A series of four tunnels spread out as a root system beneath a house the size of a mobile trailer, and extended under an abandoned corn field.
A doorway in the cellar of the house led down eleven feet to a main hub from which the tunnels fed off. The walls were packed dirt and an electrical cord ran along the ceiling with pigtail fixtures attached every few feet.
We were standing in the hub which was fifteen and a quarter feet wide, and arched out to a depth of seven and half feet. The tunnels were only about three feet wide and the height clearance was about the same as here, six and a half feet. The bulbs dangled down from the fixtures another eight inches.
I pulled out on the collar of my shirt wishing for a smaller frame than my six foot two. As it was the three of us could have reached out and touched each other if we were inclined.
“It’s believed each victim had the same cuts inflicted,” Royster said. “Although most of the remains are skeletal so it’s not as easy to know for sure, but based on burial method this guy obviously had a ritual. The most recent victim is only a few years old and was preserved by the soil. The oldest remains are estimated to date back twenty-five to thirty years. Bingham moved in twenty-six years ago.”
Lance Bingham was the property owner, age sixty-two, and was currently serving three to five years in a correctional facility for killing two cows and assaulting a neighbor. If he moved in twenty-six years ago that would put Bingham at thirty-six. The statistical age for a serial killer to start out is early to mid thirties.
The CSI continued to relay more information about how the tunnels branched out in various directions and the ends came to a bulbus tip.
“There’s eleven rooms and only ten bodies.” Jack rushed the briefing along as he pulled a cigarette out of a shirt pocket. He didn’t light up, but his lips suctioned around it like a life supply.
Royster’s eyes went from the cigarette to Jack’s face. “Yes. There’s one tunnel that leads to a dead end and there’s one empty grave.”
“What do you make of it?” Jack spoke with the cigarette bobbing in his mouth, and turned to me.
“Of the empty grave?”
Jack’s smile slanted higher on the right, his eyes pinched and he removed the cigarette from his mouth. “That and the latest victim.”
Bingham had been in prison for the last three years. The elaborate tunnel system he had going would have taken years to plan and dig and it would have taken strength, leaning towards Bingham not working alone. “He had help. Someone followed behind him.”
Jack perched the unlit smoke back in his lips. “Humm.”
“Anyway you’ll want to see it for yourself. I haven’t seen anything like it,” Royster continued.
Jack’s eyes narrowed and his brows compressed.
“Come–” The back of a wrist came to his nose in an instant. The spray of sneeze only somewhat diverted. More sniffles. “Sorry ‘bout that. Anyway this way.”
Jack motioned for me to go ahead of him.
What can your readers look forward to? Anything new in the works?
Coming this December is the release of the second in the Madison Knight series, JUSTIFIED.
Here’s the book blurb:
Madison Knight should have ignored the call. Now she is spending Christmas Eve dealing with her least favorite thing…blood and lots of it.
When a female victim is found in her home it has Madison and her partner tapping into the vic’s personal life. With a rash of former business partners and lovers, all of whom wanted her dead, there are not enough hours to question them all.
But trying to find the person who had the most motive isn’t all that’s on Madison’s mind. As she struggles to establish balance in her own life, she knows she has to get her focus back. Justice requires it.
Where can readers learn more about you and your work?
You can purchase Carolyn Arnold’s books at the following retailers: