Today, Hartford Books Examiner welcomes Elizabeth Heiter.
Ms. Heiter is the author of the newly released novel, “Seized” (MIRA)—the third book in her critically acclaimed Profiler series (following “Hunted” and “Vanished”). She also writes The Lawmen, a romantic suspense series for Harlequin Intrigue; three tiles have been published and three more are forthcoming. Ms. Heiter graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English Literature. She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America.
Advance praise for “Seized” has been enthusiastic. #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child enthused: “Suspenseful from the start and intriguing throughout. Recommended!” Further, J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of “What Lies Behind,” noted: “Elizabeth Heiter does her research, and it shows in this superb FBI thriller. With a ripped-from-the-headlines plot and excellent characterization, SEIZED is a true winner. Don’t miss it.”
From the publisher:
Danger is all around her…
What should have been a routine investigation for FBI profiler Evelyn Baine turns ominous when she’s kidnapped by a dangerous cult of survivalists. As her worst nightmares become a reality, she begins to question what she’s seeing. Because the longer she’s inside their compound, the more she realizes this group is not what it seems to be.
The next terrorist threat is right beside her…
As the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team closes in, Evelyn suspects she’s stumbled onto an emerging terrorist threat—and a cult leader who has a score to settle with the FBI. If Hostage Rescue breaches the compound, Evelyn’s dead for sure. If they don’t, the cult may unleash a surprise attack that could leave the whole country shattered.
Now, Elizabeth Heiter reveals a few pages from the book of her life …
John Valeri: As a child, did you wear your literary lust loud and proud or were you a closet bibliophile?
Elizabeth Heiter: There’s never been anything closeted about my love of books, and thankfully, that was encouraged. My grandpa used to take my mom to the library every Saturday and she kept up that tradition with me and my sisters. I’d come home every week with a stack of books I could barely carry, and finish them before they were due. My bookshelves were overflowing, and as far back as I can remember, I was also writing stories. I actually finished my first novel-length manuscript with the person who’s still my critique partner when we were in high school.
JV: What book(s) were you likely to be caught keeping company with under the covers?
EH: As a child, I loved the original Winnie the Pooh stories; in middle school, I was reading all of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books; by high school, I was devouring Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell, Shakespeare, and the Brontës in equal measure. Generally speaking, if I could get my hands on a book and the back cover or the first few pages caught my interest, I’d be reading it! But mysteries have always had a special place in my heart.
JV: What are you reading currently & what is your initial impression?
EH: Right now, I’m in the middle of two books: I’m reading “Law and Disorder” by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker for research and “Die Again” by Tess Gerritsen for fun. “Law and Disorder” is about Douglas’s years as a profiler for the FBI, and since I’ve read most of his books, this one has a lot of familiar cases, but it’s a good refresher. “Die Again” is part of a series I love; Gerritsen is one of my favorites and this book doesn’t disappoint!
JV: What one book do you always recommend when asked?
EH: I’m not sure I can limit it to one! I always try to tailor recommendations to the taste of the person asking, but some of my “must reads” include “The Survivor’s Club” by Lisa Gardner, “Transfer of Power” by Vince Flynn, “One for the Money” by Janet Evanovich, and “Clear and Present Danger” by Tom Clancy.
JV: Which of your own books would you suggest to readers & why?
EH: Right now, I’d have to say “Seized.” It’s the third book in my Profiler series about FBI profiler Evelyn Baine, but it can be read alone. I hope that with every book I write, I’m getting stronger as a storyteller, and I’m really proud of “Seized.” It finds my heroine on the wrong side of a hostage situation and in the middle of an emerging terrorist threat. This book really allowed me to blend the suspense and mystery, to send Evelyn all over the country, and to throw her into a compound pegged as a cult, but that might actually be much more dangerous. Stuck inside, Evelyn thinks they’re about to unleash a terror attack, but she has no way to tell anyone. Worse, if the FBI breaches the compound, Evelyn will be the first to die; if not, the group will unleash a deadly attack no one will see coming.
JV: Is there a book or author that readers would be surprised to know you’ve read and liked?
EH: The fact that I love to read what I write (suspense and romantic suspense) comes as no shock, but people are sometimes surprised about my love of Shakespeare. I used to be able to quote large pieces of “Hamlet.” That book has a little bit of everything: drama, tragedy, love and loss, mysteries inside mysteries (and plays inside plays!).
JV: Who is the one author that would, or did, make you weak in the knees upon meeting?
EH: It was a huge thrill to meet R.L. Stine. The original Goosebumps stories came out when I was in middle school, and everyone was devouring those books. They were fantastic and fun and I think I read all of them. Last year, at a thriller writers’ conference, I had the chance to meet him (and to thank him for giving me a really wonderful quote for my second Profiler book, “Vanished”) and I was a little tongue-tied! But he was so nice and genuine; it’s always exciting when people whose work you admire turn out to be fantastic people, too.
JV: Has there been an “I’ve made it” moment in your career?
EH: In some ways, I hope I never have a definitive “I’ve made it” moment, because I want to keep pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and keep trying to improve and reach for new goals. But I heard this week that I’d sold three more books in my other series (a romantic suspense series called The Lawmen) and I realized I’d sold ten books between my two series in three and a half years. That was definitely a “wow” moment for me!
JV: What is your greatest literary ambition?
EH: Like most authors probably do, I have career goals about reaching certain numbers of sales and things like that, but I think my greatest literary ambition is really at a personal level with each reader. I think books have the ability to teach people new things, to take them on a journey, maybe to distract them from something very difficult in their lives and I want to touch people at that level. Growing up, books were my escape from some very hard times, and the strong hero(in)es who overcame great odds were role models, telling me I could do it, too. If my books can reach anyone the same way, I think that would be my proudest accomplishment.
JV: Fill in the blank: Hartford Books Examiner is _____.
With thanks to Elizabeth Heiter for her generosity of time and thought and to Emi Battaglia, President of Battaglia Public Relations, for helping to facilitate this interview.