Thursday, April 26, 2012

Accused by Janice Cantore ~ Author Interview, Review & Giveaway ~

One of my favorite genres to read is Suspense. If it's police oriented, it's even better. Today, I want to introduce Janice Cantore, a veteran police officer turned author.
Welcome, Janice! I want to thank you for being so quick to reply to my request for an interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Born and raised in Southern California, I have three brothers and one sister. I grew up kind of a Tomboy, loved sports and horses, was fortunate enough to have a horse while I was in High School. I went away to college, first to San Jose State, then UC Irvine where I earned a BS in Biology. Not sure of the career direction I wanted to take, I went back to school, to Long Beach State where I just decided to have fun and earned a degree in physical education. I was working on a master’s degree when I saw a flyer about the Long Beach PD hiring and I applied. I tend to get bored easily and decided that police work would be different and changing. For the most part I wasn’t disappointed. I spent 16 years as a regular uniformed officer before retiring early with a bad back. I was rehired as a non-career officer and worked in that capacity for 6 years. When I first became a police officer, I wouldn’t call myself a dedicated Christian. I rededicated my life in the early nineties and pray my writing reflects my desire that Christ be first in everything. I have a house in the mountains but right now I live in my parent’s house. I moved in four years ago to help with my dad who had dementia. He just passed away at the age of 95. I’ll be staying to look after my mom. I have three labs, Jake, Maggie and Abbie.
We had a lab named Jake, too :) You sound extremely busy. I'm glad you find time to write! What do you feel is the most challenging aspect in writing?
Being consistent, picking a word count and hitting it every day. Life often interrupts work.
Yes, life seems to happen and we just have to go with the flow! Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
I usually have a character in mind first. I am a seat of the pants writer, I have a difficult time outlining so I usually start a character sheet and then sit down and write, developing a story line as I go. Once I have about 100 pages, I try to outline the rest of the story, but often struggle. I just have to write it and see how it works for me.
Whew! Sounds like it is a little overwhelming at times. Is there a message in your novel you want readers to grasp?
I always hope to encourage and inspire with my stories, by that I mean I want the reader feeling uplifted when they finish that last page. With Accused, my goal was to write a story with the salvation message without being preachy. I wanted to write a book my aunt would read. She was not a Christian at the time and I thought a well-written novel with a main character who comes to know the Lord would get her thinking. Unfortunately she passed away before the book was finished but her memory kept me writing.
I appreciate the messages that naturally flow through the story without feeling forced. How do you research the psychological aspect of a killer's mind?
I read a lot, I’ve read books by FBI profilers and we did have courses from time to time on stuff like that when I was on the job.
I'm glad you're so dedicated to the research. It sure makes for great suspense!  Who would you pick to play the lead roles if this book was made into a movie?
I love the male model on the cover of Accused, he is the Nick I pictured in my mind. As for Carly, I really like the actress who plays Kate Beckett on Castle, Stana Katic.
I'm a die-hard Castle fan and I can see her perfectly as Carly.
Is there a particular Bible verse that has helped you through a difficult time?

Photo Credit - Bob Bell, 2012
Wow, I’ve just been through the most difficult time in my life. My father passed away a week ago as I write this. (I’m sure he’s at peace now in heaven) He’d been physically strong, but his mind was gone so he could be difficult. During the times I struggled with my attitude Psalm 51 was special. And Roman’s 8:28, Jer 29:11 also meant a lot. But the last two months of his life were so hard because his physical health began to decline rapidly along with his mental heath. Lamentations 3:22-26 meant a lot and any verse with “trust God” in it was soothing, like Isaiah 43:2, Pro 3:5-6, and 1Chon 5:20.
Oh Janice, I am so sorry to hear about your dad! All of those verses you mentioned are so comforting. And that's one of my favorite Psalms! You and your mom will certainly be in my prayers.

Rebecca has a few questions she wants to ask you.
Did you ever imagine that your life would take such a dramatic turn; from police work to suspense novelist?
Writing is something I’ve always wanted to do. In the beginning, there were so many rejections, no, sometimes I never thought I’d get to this point. All I can say is, God is good.
Did you ever aspire to be an author one day or did it just happen that way?
I wrote stories about horses when I was a kid and always loved to read. I did want to write but in college a creative writing teacher hated my work so I shelved the idea for a long time.
Did you keep journals while you were on the force that you can now refer to for creative ideas?
I started a journal when I first graduated from the academy, but I never kept it up. Real police work is a lot more boring than novels and TV shows because there is so much paper work and down time. I think for a time I didn’t see any possibility for a good story. The Rodney King riots sparked the desire to write a story that would convey what it was like to work during that time because it was a time that evoked a lot of emotion. That story never took off, but it made me realize I did want to write a lot more than just police reports.
One theme I saw continually weaving its way though happenings at work was people picking themselves up after tragedy and becoming stronger, whether it be from an accident, a murder, or their own carelessness. When I finally started to write, I wanted that resilience in my stories. Usually an uplifting story had a foundation in faith, and I wanted that to come through in my stories as well. Life is hard, but God is good. When I went to a writer’s conference and heard that people could learn to write good stories, the criticism the writing teacher had tossed my way faded and I started to work on learning the craft.
Stana Katic as Kate Beckett (Castle, ABC),
Image from IMDB
I worked with a lot of outstanding people in Long Beach. Carly is a composite of the best I saw on the job in women. I saw a lot of infidelity at work, unfortunately, so Nick is flawed, but he’s redeemed. I went that direction with him because I wanted to write a hopeful scenario. Even in the most painful situation, there is hope for forgiveness and redemption.  I saw a lot of relationships break up when there was hope, but they didn't look hard enough to find it. Nick lost the love of his life when Carly left, but then found eternal life when he realized he needed a savior more than he needed a wife. The rest you watch work out through the course of the series.
I loved the camaraderie between Carly and her partner, Joe; you must have had some great co-workers on the force?
I had good partners and bad. For a time I had a great partner, Bill. We worked great together and when we had to split, (our shifts changed by seniority every year and we weren’t close enough in seniority to stay together long) I was very sad. I very much wanted Carly and Joe to have a relationship like Bill and I had.
Do you have a favorite scene in Accused?
I like the jump from the boat into the unknown because when I wrote that portion it I tried to imagine what that would be like. I drove out on one of the shipping piers and watched the huge container ships come and go, trying to imagine swimming out there in the endless Pacific Ocean, in the dark.
I especially loved the conversation between Carly and Nick at her mother’s home when Nick put his newfound faith into words. Very touching and very well-written. Thank you.
I'm curious. Are you a swimmer?
I love to swim, but I’m more of a plodder. Years ago I competed in triathlons and in one at the police games, there was a lake swim. I came out of the water dead last. Now, I swim at the Y and find it a wonderful exercise.
I love the water and could readily identify with the stress relief from a good swim.
Can you give us a sneak peek into what book you are working on right now?
Abducted is the second book in the Pacific Coast Justice Series and it will be out this summer. The third book, Avenged, will be out next year. Beyond that, I’m working on a book with different characters, but still police centered suspense.
Where can readers find you on the internet?
www.janicecantore.com and facebook https://www.facebook.com/JaniceCantore
About the book
When troubled youth, Londy Akins, is arrested for the murder of the mayor, he asks for ten-year veteran Detective Carly Edwards.  Plucked from her normal assignment in juvenile investigations to assist homicide, Carly recognizes him as one of her mother’s church reclamation projects.  Irritated by her mother’s belief that God can change anyone, which Carly views as dangerous wishful thinking, Carly presses the kid for a confession that will fry him and bring her a commendation. But Londy doesn’t confess. He insists he’s innocent. Further, he tells Carly he’s a new Christian, not a murderer.

The young man’s profession of faith in a God Carly swears doesn’t exist steels her resolve to prove him a liar.  However, the only evidence she digs up corroborates Londy’s story and she has no choice but to believe him.  She gives Homicide what she’s uncovered and finds herself treated like an unwanted stepchild, kicked off the case and sent back to Juvenile.  Homicide is certain of Londy’s guilt and Carly’s evidence is ignored.
Stunned, surprised, and fearing a cover up, Carly disobeys a direct order and continues to investigate on her own.  She finds an unlikely ally: her ex husband, Nick, also a police officer.  Divorced a year ago because of his infidelity, Carly is wary of Nick’s extended hand of friendship, more so when he tells her he’s a changed man; he’s also a renewed Christian.  Their only common ground is they both believe Londy is innocent.
Carly and Nick jump into the investigation and as her life begins to spin out of control, Nick becomes an anchor. But will that hold as lives and careers are threatened?
Question: What will it take for Carly Edwards to realize that the key to survival is not holding on tight, but letting go and letting God take control?
Reviewed by Rebecca Maney
There were so many things I loved about Accused; Janice Cantore’s first book in the Pacific Coast Justice Series.
Romantic suspense is my favorite genre; I love the thrill of a good mystery, the unraveling of the plot, the satisfaction of the conclusion; not to mention the flirtatious tension between characters. Accused scored big in this category.
Book series are another favorite; it’s so fun to get to know characters, their friends and co-workers and to be able to immerse yourself into the lives that surround them through the pages of a book. What a bonus to have those stories continue through several publications.  Bravo Janice! Accused is just the beginning of a series.
But when a romantic suspense reaches down deep enough to touch the heart and spirit of a reader by openly and honestly displaying the pain of brokenness and the beauty of redemption; well, it doesn’t get any better than that. More than once, Accused brought me to a complete internal standstill; I had to pause and absolutely revel in the miracle of a life transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Shortly after Detective Carly Edwards finds herself off the street (following an officer-involved shooting) and resigned to a desk job in juvenile, she becomes involved in a high-profile murder case. When the prime suspect happens to be a troubled youth, Carly is given the opportunity to conduct an interview with the young man. Thinking her career might be back on the fast track to street patrol; Carly becomes reluctantly suspicious after her encounter with Londy; what the department is considering an open-and-shut case, might in fact be part of a citywide corruption scheme with tentacles reaching far beyond a local homicide.
Interestingly enough, Carly finds an unlikely ally; her very recently divorced husband, also a cop, whose gentle entrance back into her life begins with his offer of trust in the case. His uncharacteristic infidelity caused an abrupt tear in their marriage; and Carly is stubbornly reluctant to invite any level of relationship that would re-open the emotional wounds she has so carefully tried to knit together. But she has no choice; she has to rely on the one person who has caused her the most personal pain. Nick.
In my opinion, Nick is the “home-run” character of this book. During the year of separation and divorce from his wife, he has become a changed man; from the inside out. Cantore masterfully allows Nick to re-enter Carly’s life with gentleness, meekness, and self-control; accepting full responsibility for his mistakes and asking forgiveness from the depth of his soul; with no strings attached. Carly is intrigued and cautiously begins to explore the concept of forming a relationship with the God who has so totally transformed her husband.
Nothing comes easy.  Carly and Nick both risk their lives and their careers by dodging corrupt officers and city officials; accepting the help of a “rogue” undercover cop, whose disappearance only adds to the questionability of following his lead. As a veteran police officer, the author’s obvious knowledge of crime scenes and high level investigations add so much authenticity to every phase of this action-packed story line.
If you want to know how the story ends, you will have to read the book. I, personally, cannot wait for Abducted; the continuation of Nick and Carly’s re-discovery!
Thank you, Rebecca for that great review! I'm about 1/2 way through already and I have to say, I like it! A lot. It's very realistic. I didn't want to put it down, but this post must get posted :)
I also want to Tyndale House for offering a copy to one of my blog followers. Leave a comment to be entered. Ends May 2nd. US Only!!! 

47 comments:

  1. I read a lot of historical fiction, but some suspense every now and then is a nice change! Would love to win a copy of this book.

    Patty

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  2. I love to read suspense novels between my historical fiction, Amish fiction and thrillers. Thanks for a chance to win this book!

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  3. Hi Patty,

    I enjoyed it...a lot! Definitely different from my standard suspense. I loved the intricate detail and police drama.

    Thanks for coming by!

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  4. Hi Ladette,

    This is a great book! There are many levels to it and the spiritual themes are challenging.

    Glad you came by!

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  5. Sounds like a great read! If I don't win a copy I certainly will look for one. Great review!

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  6. Rebecca did an excellent job on that review! I know you will like this book :) Thanks for coming by and entering the drawing!

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  7. I have to say that, after reading the interview, I am very intrigued with this book and author! I hope that I win but if I don't, I'll probably look for the book on my Nook!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  8. I have read a few reviews of this book and it sounds very good, very interested in it. So please enter me :)

    jen.whitney08[at]gmail[dot]com

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  9. Great post Anne, Rebecca and Janice!
    I also loved reading Accused.

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  10. Janice - My condolences on the passing of your father. My mother died a couple of weeks ago and grief is hard to deal with when it is your parent.
    I have enjoyed reading the reviews about your book and you have me intrigued. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.
    Sharon
    smoore at tcq dot net

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  11. Hey Kim,

    I definitely think you would enjoy this book! I know it's available as an ebook, and your library system has a copy :) Thanks for coming by and entering!

    The boys and I miss seeing y'all!

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  12. Hey Marian,

    I always know if you like a book, then it's a winner! Thanks for taking time to come by and comment :) Have a great day!

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  13. Hey Jen,
    After reading it, I am really looking forward to book 2 :) Glad you came by!

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  14. Hi Sharon,

    Oh, I am so sorry about your mom! I will be praying for you as you move through this time of grief.
    {{{hugs}}}

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  15. My dad passed away 13 years ago and had dementia. It's a hard thing to watch them go this way. Your dad lived a long life. My condolences. Enjoy your time with your mom. My mom is now 90.

    My first love of books is mystery, especially when involving police, FBI, etc. Your book sounds terrific. Please enter me. Thanks.

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  16. Hi Linda,

    I still remember vividly my mom's passing 10 yrs ago, but thankfully the grief isn't as painful as it was! God is good in healing broken hearts!!!

    My first love is mystery/suspense, too! I grew up reading The Dana Girls mystery books and then Nancy Drew :) Thanks for coming by!

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  17. Would LOVE to win this book! Thank you so much for the giveaway! I love suspense novels! :)

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  18. Janice, I'm so sorry to hear about your father. My prayers and sympathy go with you. Your book sounds like a wonderful suspenseful story. I think I'd enjoy it. Thank you very much for offering a copy in this giveaway!
    Nancee

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  19. Hey Melanie,

    You would like this book! Suspense is one of my fav genres, too :) Glad you came by and thanks for helping spread the word!

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  20. Hi Nancee,

    Thank you for your kind words for Janice! She's written a wonderful book and I absolutely loved the spiritual themes woven throughout :)
    Thanks for coming by and entering.

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  21. This sounds interesting. Please enter me. Time for a good suspense.

    Vera
    yahoo me at godleyv [dot]com

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  22. Hi Anne, this sounds right up my alley! I LOVE suspense and there's nothing better in my opinion than good police work! :) Thanks for the interview and review.

    Janice I am so sorry to hear about your dad but as 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 tells us, we have a hope that we will see our loved ones again! I too can't wait to see my dad! Janice you are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  23. a wonderful posting...thanks for the chance to read this novel...it sounds great!

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  24. Hi Vera,

    I agree! It's time for you to read a good suspense ;) This one is sure that!

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  25. Hi Karen

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Hope you have a great weekend with a good book :)

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  26. Hey Teresa,

    All of us suspense junkies have to stick together :) Since Janice is a retired police officer, this one is SO authentic! I really loved it!

    Thank you for your kind words for Janice, sweet friend. I know she appreciates them!

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  27. I love mysteries, and I love Christian books.... I get really excited when I hear of a Christian mystery... Please enter me... I love to read...

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  28. Great interview! I so enjoy reading about the author's life and how the stories have come about. Janice sounds like a terrific person and I will say a pray for her and her family in this time of loss. I do love a good suspense novel!

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  29. Looks interesting! Would love to read it!

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  30. Hi Kelly,

    Me, too! Rebecca and I thoroughly enjoyed this one :)

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  31. Hey Abigail,

    It's a very interesting book and I believe quite realistic! Thanks for coming by. Have a great weekend!

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  32. Thanks, Brenda. I'm sure Janice appreciates everyone's kind words and prayers! This is a great book. Have a good weekend!

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  33. Sounds like a great read (I love suspense!) and is highly recommended from my friend Anne Payne. I like reading something that, even though fiction, could really happen in real life. Hope I win it!!

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  34. Hey Sarah,

    I know we are suspense junkies :) Glad you came by and entered for this one! Hope y'all have a great weekend!

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  35. I love suspense and cop stories! Am interested in finding out what happens and Janice is a new author for me. The verses she shared in the interview ministered to me as one of my best friends went home to Jesus last week. My condolences to Janice and her family.
    Thanks for the chance to win this book.

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  36. This book looks great! I would love to win!

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  37. I do enjoy suspense novels a lot and this sounds to be quite interesting and another new author. This is a definite must read.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  38. Great interview! I just love the cover of this book, so original and cool! Looks like a great book. I'll be keeping my eyes out for it :)

    crazi.swans at gmail dot com

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  39. Hi Susie,
    I'm so very sorry to hear about your friend, but rejoice to know that some comfort was brought through those verses. God is our great comforter!
    Thank you for taking time to come by and enter the giveaway.

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  40. Hi Jo,

    It is a GREAT book and I am really looking forward to book 2! Glad you came by to enter :)

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  41. Hey Laura,
    Thanks for stopping by to throw your name in the hat :)

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  42. Hey Faye,

    It is a unique cover! And the story inside is just as cool :) It sure kept me turning the pages. Thanks for taking time to come by and get in on the drawing!

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  43. Enjoyed reading the comments.
    I am always looking for new authors to read and your book sounds really good. I like these kinds of stories

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  44. I really enjoyed reading about your new book. I've read most of John Grisham's novels and have enjoyed the suspense in his books. I haven't read a Christian suspense novel yet.

    I would like to win this book and add another author to my list of favorites.

    Thank you so much for offering your book to one of us!

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  45. First let me echo what others have said and offer my condolences on the loss of your father. I pray you feel the Lord's strong arms about you, carrying you through the days and months to follow.
    Your interview and excerpt were interesting. I kind of like Castle too. That was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the cover.
    anyway, blessings on this book and your future endeavors.

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  46. I am interested in reading more suspense. This sounds like a good story from a very knowledgable author. Please enter me into the contest. Blessings, Janice jsmithg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  47. I've wanted to read Janice's book since I met her at Mount Hermon and heard the book would be coming out. I lost track and am excited to know Accused is available. I loved the interview. Thanks so much.

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I am so delighted that you've taken time to come by and comment. Blessings for a joy-filled day!

1 Corinthians 1:3 ~ Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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