Interview with Stephanie Andrews
Author of Chicago Blue
Stephanie Andrews would prefer you didn't really know anything about her. Suffice to say, she likes her crime stories with a bit of humor, and hopes you do too!
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How would you describe Chicago Blue to a new reader?
- Light-hearted, female-led crime thriller. The first of the Red Riley series, Chicago Blue is about a woman who is tired of being a beat cop. When she is falsely accused of a terrorist bombing, she goes on the run and undercover to clear her name. Along the way she discovers inner strength and a desire to fight for justice.
What makes the book unusual?
- It's funny, and Riley is not a superhero. She's a regular woman, not a sex symbol. Her strength is that she never gives up, and she's smarter than people expect.
Who has inspired you?
- I set out to write like Sue Grafton or Sara Paretsky, but the goofy side of Riley really came out. Some reviewers reference Evanovich, but I feel like Chicago Blue is first and foremost a mystery/thriller and not meant to be silly. Plus, there's very little romance (sorry folks!)
You make good use of locations in the book – there’s a real sense of place. Are these locations significant for you?
- Every location, restaurant, and street name in the book really exists in Chicago, except for one near the beginning. I do this just because it's fun. Unfortunately, it also makes me hungry a lot.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- 1,000 words a day. Every day.
Which authors do you most admire? Which qualities, in particular, have influenced your writing?
- For crime authors, I love Dennis Lehane, Elmore Leonard, Chelsea Field and, as mentioned, Grafton and Paretsky. Also, if you haven't read Case History and its sequels, by Kate Atkinson, you should do so immediately.
Chicago Blue is a real page turner. How important was it to you to write with pace and energy?
- I actually try to write longer, but I find the quick, snappy chapters really work with these characters, so I do my best to always keep things moving.
If Chicago Blue were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye when you wrote him/her?
- My mental image for Kay Riley has always, always been Rose Leslie (she's even mentioned in the book). If you're out there, Rose, please read the book!
How have readers responded to the book?
- Chicago Blue has almost 100 Amazon reviews, and they are mostly positive. Some people who were expecting a cop procedural were a bit disappointed, because the book really isn't about the police force at all. People seemed to really respond to the fact that Riley is a fairly normal woman who becomes a hero.
Where next? What are you working on now?
- Finishing up book four of the Red Riley Adventures, which will be called Agent Orange. Thanks!
She's not a karate expert.
She can't pick a lock.
And she certainly isn't a master of disguise...
But Riley is stubborn, and this is her city. She's not going down without a fight!
If you like female characters who are strong, funny, and real, then you're going to love Kay Riley, a Chicago cop wrongly accused of a terrorist bombing, and on the run for her life. A wiser woman might flee the country, but Riley is determined to clear her name. Armed with a quick wit and some friends who don't mind breaking a few laws, Riley becomes an amateur vigilante. Can she stop the killer before they strike again?