I’m happy to have mystery novelist Cristelle Comby back for a new interview. You can read the January 1 interview if you’d like.
Today we’re focused on her newest mystery novel Danse Macabre (Book #3 of the Neve & Egan cases).
Cristelle is doing a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions and during the tour, she will be awarding a lucky winner with a signed copy of Danse Macabre. To be entered for a chance to win use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.
Bio: Writer, chocolate addict, overall nice girl!
Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews, Cristelle. Please tell us about your newest release.
Danse Macabre is the third installment in my ongoing series the Neve & Egan cases. In this new novel, private investigators Alexandra Neve and Ashford Egan take on their darkest case and come to grip with a serial killer.
The ballet aspect, mostly; I’ve been wanting to do something with dancing for awhile. I also wanted to tackle a serial killer case. That makes for a very ying-yang concept, doesn’t it? Something beautiful, graceful on one side and some of the darkest, ugliest acts of violence on the other.
Excerpt from Danse Macabre:
I take a better look at the dancer facing us. He looks… fragile more than shy. He has bags under his eyes, his nails show the traces of nervous biting, and his clothes are ill-fitting. Lack of sleep, tension, weight loss. What is going on in Marc Jules’ life? What is he trying to hide from us? ‘That’s not all, is it?’ I lean forward, look at him square on. ‘There’s something you’re not telling us. It’s plain to see.’
The young man shrinks in on himself even more. ‘No… no, nothing. I told you everything I know. I have no idea where Isabella is. I swear.’ A thought strikes me, and I try another angle. ‘She obviously means something to you.’
The man’s eyes shift to the side as he focuses all of his attention on the half-empty lemonade glass sitting on the table. Gotcha!
‘You like her, yet you refuse to help us; it doesn’t make sense,’ I continue. ‘What would Isabella say if she could see you now?’
‘I don’t know anything,’ Marc protests with fervour.
‘I’d tell you if I knew. I like her, she’s my friend. I want to find her too.’
‘Then stop lying to us,’ Egan says. ‘What are you not telling us?’
‘If what you’re saying is the truth, you would do well to stop keeping things from us. You’re slowing us down, Marc; you’re wasting our time,’
I continue, relentless. I can feel we’re close to breaking him, so very close. ‘Do you know how valuable time is, in a situation like this? Time is everything. Every second we’re wasting on you is taking us further away from Isabella.’
‘You’re letting her down, right now.’ Egan adds. ‘Maybe you’re not her friend after all.’
‘No — she’s my friend. I swear.’ Marc rushes the words out, tears welling up in his eyes.
‘She’s helped me when no one else would. I owe her so much.’
My eyebrows rise up at the words and I cock my head to the side, my expression expectant.
Marc bites down hard on his lip the second he finishes his sentence. He didn’t mean to reveal this much to us, but it’s too late now. The cat’s out of the bag. I soften my tone now that I’ve got what I wanted. ‘What do you mean, Marc? How did she help you?’
‘I don’t… she just…’ He stops himself, crosses his arms over his chest. ‘It’s nothing to do with any of this.’
‘Let us be the judges of that,’ Egan says. ‘If Isabella was involved, it could be relevant.’
‘It’ll stay between us,’ I promise. ‘We’re not the police, Marc. Whatever it is, no one else needs to know.’
The young man lets out a long breath as he uncrosses his arms. Defeated, he lets his hands hang limp in his lap.
What’s the next writing project?
The next book in the series, of course: Blind Chess. I have the first five or six chapters finished already, and I’m looking forward to my Christmas Holidays to get the next big chunk done. It picks up where this one ends.
What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book?
Pace, always. I love my characters and give them a lot of attention -- I want people to understand why they do what they do. Sometime I can be a bit too wordy when dealing with their feelings and it slows things down. Keeping up the pace is what I focus on the most when editing. I also have to chase down adverbs with a battle axe.
Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
I research before, while I plan the novel and work on the outline. I like to get all the “technical” parts done before I start writing the book. Then I can focus on the more “creative” aspect of the job.
What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
I often write in bed, because my desk is a bit cramped up and not that comfortable. In the summer, when the weather allows for it, I sometimes go outside on the balcony. The where isn’t that important to me; what matters is that I’m comfortable and that the place is quiet so I can lose myself within my thoughts. The muse is shy; she doesn’t come by when there’s too much people around :).
What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I don’t read that much within my genre; I like to try out other things. I’m really into Urban Fantasy at the moment; love me some Jim Butcher or Larry Correia. Brandon Sanderson’s new series, Reckoners, is pretty good too.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
Just a big, fat thank you! I’ve been on a little cloud these past couple of weeks. I got some wonderful feedback on my book and couldn’t have been happier with how it’s been received. Thanks everyone! And thank you, Lisa, for having me back.
It's been my please, Cristelle. Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!