Jennifer Chase holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s in criminology. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling. She’s a member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.
Jennifer is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and a criminologist. She has authored four crime fiction, thriller novels:Compulsion, Dead Game, Silent Partner, and Dark Mind. She has authored a non-fiction book How to Write a Screenplay incorporating a step-by-step process to write a screenplay. She currently assists clients in publishing, ghostwriting, book reviews, blogs, articles, screenwriting, editing, and research.
Jennifer was born and raised in California where she currently resides with her husband, two dogs, and two incorrigible cats. She developed a love for books and writing at an early age.
She has an intense curiosity about crime and the varied connections between the actual crime and the criminal mind. This propelled her to return to school and earn her master’s degree in 2008. Her academic background has helped to prepare her to write in the thriller and true crime genres.
Jennifer enjoys the outdoors, beach, hiking, and photography.
Article first published as Interview: Jennifer Chase, Author of ‘Dead Burn’ on Blogcritics.
HELLO, JENNIFER. THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING TO SHARE SOME OF YOUR LIFE STORY WITH US. WHY DON’T YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF? I READ IN YOUR BIO THAT YOU WERE BORN AND RAISED IN CALIFORNIA. WHICH PART? DID YOU EVER MOVE OUT OF STATE, AND IF SO, WHERE AND WHY?
Hello, and thank you so much for having me here today. I grew up along the coast of central California (Monterey to San Francisco area), which jump-started my love for the outdoors and the abundant wildlife. Even today, I still love taking hikes along the beaches and up in the hills. It has been a great way for me focus and relax. And, of course for me to get a new idea for my next book. I have lived most of my life in California, but I have also lived in Oklahoma and Colorado for short periods of time.
AS A CHILD, WHAT WAS YOUR LIFE LIKE? I IMAGINE, (SINCE YOU ENJOY THE OUTDOORS), THAT YOU WERE A FAIRLY ACTIVE CHILD? WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES?
I was very lucky because of the mild weather along the California coast. I was able to be outdoors whenever I could. I was somewhat of a fearless child (a little bit tomboyish) and wanted to try just about everything. My closest friends were both boys and girls. I spent time at the beach, went cycling, go-carting, horseback riding, enjoyed various sports, and my favorite outdoor sport was tennis. Even though I loved to be outside, I still made time for reading and writing.
WHEN DID YOUR LOVE OF BOOKS BEGIN? AND OF COURSE, WITH THE GENRE YOU WRITE, I HAVE TO ASK IF YOU WERE A NANCY DREW FAN? HARDY BOYS?
Of course! I loved the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series – and still do. In fact, I have most of the Nancy Drew books on my bookshelf today. My love for books goes back as far as I can remember. I learned to read at an early age, before school-age, and I plowed through every book I could find. Books fascinated me and I loved to read all types of genres, but mysteries and adventures interested me the most.
NOW, YOU ALSO MENTIONED THAT YOUR LOVE OF WRITING STARTED EARLY ON IN YOUR LIFE. WAS THERE SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT THAT PROMPTED THIS?
Every week my mom took me to the library and I would load up on books – as many as I could carry. I loved books because it inspired a wild imagination that prompted me to write little stories. Basically, my stories were about animals (namely my own stuffed animals). Let us just say that my tea parties were not the typical kind, since I liked to write little scripts for all of the participants.
SO, JENNIFER, CHILDHOOD CAME AND WENT, COLLEGE ARRIVED AND YOU CHOSE POLICE FORENSICS AND CRIMINOLOGY. WHY? HAD YOU ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN WHAT MAKES THE CRIMINAL MIND TICK, OR WAS THERE SOMETHING ELSE THAT PROPELLED YOU TO THIS CALLING?
In the usual order of school, I went into business management and accounting. It was not until about ten years ago that I decided to go back to school to pursue my interest in criminology and forensics. This came about through a personal experience I had with a violent “sociopath” that lived next door to me. For two and half years, this person threatened my life, stalked me, as he had very specific ways that he was going to murder and dismember me. I could have let this situation really stumble my life and live in fear, but I began to study everything I could about crime, forensics, and the criminal mind. I developed friendships with various local law enforcement individuals, which were supportive of my studies. Let us just say that there is always something good to come out of something terrible – if you look for it. I never looked back and moved forward with a new career with something I really enjoyed.
MOVING ON TO YOUR BOOKS… EMILY STONE, THE PROTAGONIST OF YOUR SERIES, SOUNDS LIKE AN IMPRESSIVE WOMAN. FIERCELY DETERMINED TO STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT, WHILE NOT BEING VERY INTERESTED IN THE OVERLY MATERIAL THINGS IN LIFE. IS THERE SOMEONE IN YOUR LIFE (INCLUDING YOU) THAT YOU MAY HAVE MODELED HER AFTER?
Emily Stone is a combination of people I have met throughout my life, and of course a little bit of me. As I studied various subjects in criminology, a few things stood out to me. One of them was the number of reported missing/abducted children every year in this country – about 800,000. Once parent or family abductions were subtracted, there still were a significant number of children missing every year. The total is about 60,000 children. For more information, you go to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The numbers astounded me and I incorporated this into the character of Emily Stone along with profiling, forensics, and law enforcement knowledge.
JENNIFER, I MUST ALSO CONFESS THAT I WAS TAKEN ABACK TO SEE YOU HAD WRITTEN FOUR CRIME FICTION/THRILLER NOVELS AND ONE NON-FICTION BOOK: “HOW TO WRITE A SCREENPLAY.” THAT’S QUITE A GENRE JUMP… HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT? DO YOU HAVE MOVIES OUT THAT WE ARE UNAWARE OF?
I have written more than twelve completed screenplays in the cop and suspense genres, and I have taught workshops for beginning screenwriters. In addition to my love for books, I love movies too. I learned everything I could about the art of screenwriting. I was close a couple of times to selling a script; but at this point, I have not had any of my stories produced. In fact, my first Emily Stone novel, Compulsion, was originally going to be a screenplay. Something interesting happened along the way, I began to write a full-length book. I realized that I had found my comfortable niche and writing voice. I also found that screenwriting with tight action and dialogue formats has helped me to fine-tune my books.
RETURNING TO YOUR CRIME FICTION/THRILLER NOVELS I SEE THAT “DEAD BURN” IS THE FOURTH BOOK IN YOUR EMILY STONE SERIES. IS THERE A NEW BOOK UPCOMING, AND IF SO WHAT’S IN STORE FOR EMILY?
I am having the best time creating new adventures for Emily Stone – I feel that they are endless. There are several more books planned in the future. Late winter, early spring of 2014, Stone Dark will be released. It will take the reader into the darker past of Emily Stone and why she chose her current path as a vigilante detective. Of course, there will be plenty of action and forensic investigations as in the previous books.
WHEN CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE EMILY STONE ON THE BIG SCREEN AND WHICH ACTRESS WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO REPRESENT HER?
I would love to see Emily Stone on the big screen. You never know what the future will bring. I will just have to wait and see. As for what actress would best represent Emily Stone, that is a tough one. It would have to be a gutsy, tough actress like Angelina Jolie.
AND OF COURSE, WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
There are two new novels slated for this year. In addition to the Emily Stone crime thriller, I am creating a new forensic mystery series. I will have book updates and fun additions on my blog and social networks.
FINALLY, AS WE WRAP THIS INTERVIEW UP, IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR/OUR READERS?
Thank you for having me. That was fun! First, thank you to everyone who took the time to read this interview about my experiences and books. I appreciate so much my readers and feedback of my Emily Stone series, please feel free to leave comments or questions for me anytime.
Interview by Charline Ratcliff for Say What? Savannah Mae