Genre: Short stories, Thriller, Mystery, Romance
Publisher: Opus Nine Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2017
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About the Book
Loves big and small, crimes forgiven or avenged. These are the themes that drive the eleven diverse stories in this new collection of psychological suspense from storyteller V.S. Kemanis.
Meet the husband and wife team Rosemary and Reuben, master chefs known to sprinkle a dash of magic into every dish. Lucille Steadman, a dazed retiree who can’t explain why she’s left her husband, only to discover, too late, the meaning of love and commitment in the most surprising place. Franklin DeWitt, an esteemed ballet critic who witnesses—or abets?—a bizarre criminal plot to topple a beautiful Soviet ballerina. Rosalyn Bleinstorter, a washed-up defense attorney whose stubborn belief in her own street savvy leads her unwittingly into a romantic and criminal association with an underworld figure.
These are just a few of the colorful characters you’ll get to know in these pages, where all is fair in love and crime. While the endings to these tales are not always sweet or predictable, and self-deception is rarely rewarded, the lessons come down hard and are well learned.
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Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in California, went to law school in Colorado, and now make my home in New York. My years of experience in criminal law inspired my legal mystery novels featuring prosecutor Dana Hargrove (Thursday’s List, Homicide Chart, and Forsaken Oath). I also love to write short stories, and Love and Crime includes my latest work. Another passion is dance—I’ve taught, performed, and choreographed contemporary styles and ballet.
What inspired you to write?
I have an active imagination in need of outlet! This is much better than TV.
What inspired your novel?
Love and Crime is a collection of short fiction, each story inspired by a different idea or event. For example, the opening story, “Rosemary and Reuben,” features characters who are challenged emotionally and physically by their heightened senses of smell and taste. The story was inspired by the fact that I’m extremely sensitive to smell.
What is the genre?
Literary short stories of psychological suspense.
What draws you to this genre?
Writing the short form is very satisfying for me because it fits a busy schedule. A complete work can be written quickly. I love language, and every word counts. It’s also a challenge to see how much depth of meaning and emotion can be conveyed in a short work.
How did you develop your plot and your characters?
The stories come to me as small ideas that hang around for weeks, months, or years, either at the back of my mind or on a scrap of paper. They develop gradually, as other events in my life add to the idea over time. At some point, I wake up and say, “I’m ready to write this one!”
What inspired your protagonist?
These eleven short stories feature many protagonists from different walks of life. I’m fascinated by situations involving self-deception or disillusionment. Each protagonist faces a unique challenge of this kind, developing to the point of crisis or leading to revelation and change.
What inspired your antagonist?
My antagonists are people or emotions or doubts that challenge the protagonist to act or change. I’m a big fan of ethical dilemma!
What was the hardest part to write in the book?
The hardest part, always, is the beginning. I tend to write and rewrite the opening lines of every story or novel many times.
What was your favourite part of your book to write?
For every story, the end. I become completely immersed. It’s exciting to reach a resolution or a lesson or a change in the character, and sometimes, the characters lead me to places I hadn’t anticipated.
Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
Part time for now. I work for an appellate court, where I’m a supervising editor.
What are you currently reading?
To the Bright Edge of the World, by Eowyn Ivey, and Glory over Everything, by Kathleen Grissom.
Who would you say are your favourite authors?
In legal thrillers, Adam Mitzner. In literary fiction, Ian McEwan.
How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
Homestead, by Rosina Lippi; Atonement, by Ian McEwan; The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey; Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett; and Ladder of Years, by Anne Tyler
What are your future projects, if any?
I’m currently working on the fourth novel in the Dana Hargrove legal mystery series.
What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
I can always be reached through the contact page on my website, www.vskemanis.com
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
If you love to write, persevere. Your craft will steadily improve. Take heed of Ernest Hemingway’s “Iceberg Theory” (sometimes less is more):
“If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.”