Please welcome Elizabeth Heiter back to the blog! She dished on her new book, Seized, and more!
Will you tell us a bit about Seized? What can fans expect for Evelyn Baine this time around?
SEIZED begins only a few weeks after VANISHED ends. Having solved the case she’d been waiting to investigate her entire life (the disappearance of her best friend when she was twelve years old, which resurfaced in VANISHED), FBI profiler Evelyn is uncertain about her future for the first time in her life. It doesn’t help that her boss is sending her on “busy” assignments as punishment for her actions during that case. The latest is a trip to Montana, to interview a convicted bomb-maker inside the supermax portion of the prison.
But once she arrives in Montana, a fellow agent asks Evelyn to provide a profile of a cult in the Montana wilderness and Evelyn agrees. She figures providing the profile will help her decide if she really still belongs in the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). Instead, the group takes her hostage.
Inside, Evelyn rapidly discovers this “cult” is not what they seem. Outwardly, a group of survivalists who’ve banded together, underneath Evelyn senses something much more sinister. She begins to suspect they’re really training terrorists. The only way to pass on information about an impending attack is to somehow get the FBI to breach the compound. But if that happens, she’s guaranteed to be the first casualty.
Did you do any additional research for the book?
For the Profiler series, I’ve done all kinds of research – I have stacks of books on criminal personality profiling, the FBI, and serial killers. I’ve visited FBI field offices and Hogan’s Alley (the tactical training area at the FBI Academy). For this book in particular, I did a lot of additional research on cults, survivalists, and terrorism. It’s important to me to be as accurate as possible with my books, and then use that research to help me create a twisty, unexpected plotline.
Writing a series has its benefits and its challenges. On one hand, I know the main characters very well, so I’m not spending a lot of time figuring out who to cast. On the other hand, in every book, the characters need to grow and change. I never want them to stay stagnant, and I never want the plots to feel repetitive. All of that means
I have to be creative with the hardships I throw at my characters, but still stay true to the characters I’ve created. I’m not sure if it’s any easier, but it is fun to revisit FBI profiler Evelyn Baine, Hostage Rescue Team agent Kyle McKenzie, and all of the other characters in The Profiler series world.
How do you think Evelyn has grown the most since Hunted?
I think Evelyn has grown the most in her personal relationships. She’s still not a social butterfly, but she’s slowly learning to let people into her life and to let her guard down. This is especially apparent with fellow agent Kyle McKenzie, who she starts secretly dating during AVENGED (the short story set between the time VANISHED ends and SEIZED begins).
What have you enjoyed most about writing this series?
I love that since Evelyn is an FBI profiler, I can send her anywhere in the world for a case, and I can make her interact with the investigations in a really different way from the traditional law enforcement hero. Instead of looking at forensics and talking to suspects, she’s interested in the behavioral evidence – the piece of him- (or her)self the perpetrator doesn’t know he’s left at the crime scene. The psychological aspect of what Evelyn does is fascinating to me – not just the what and the how, but really getting into the details of why.
It’s been a while since we caught up. Have you read any good books lately? Anything you’d recommend?
Earlier this year, I read Thomas Sweterlitsch’s Tomorrow and Tomorrow, which is part sci-fi, part thriller, and totally unique. He’s got an investigator trying to track down a killer and figure out a crime that happened inside a virtual world. Definitely an interesting read!
What’s next for you in 2016? Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Right now, I have AVENGED (my Profiler short story), which is releasing a chapter a day, at Harlequin.com’s Daily Read site and SEIZED (Book 3 in The Profiler series) hitting stores. Currently I’m working on revisions to STALKED (Book 4 in The Profiler series) and writing the next three books in my Lawmen series (a romantic suspense series).
All the details about current and upcoming books can be found on my website: www.ElizabethHeiter.com.