Q&A with Allison Brennan

Notorious and Dead Heat by New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan are captivating thrillers. While Notorious is the first novel in a new series featuring investigative crime reporter Max Revere, Dead Heat brings back FBI agent Lucy Kincaid. What is an obvious theme with both novels is the determination to bring justice for the victims.


Elise Cooper: Are you attending the Military Book Fair on November 8th in San Diego?


Allison Brennan: Yes. I am very excited about raising money to help our veterans. Many of my male characters are military background based. I have my characters going into law enforcement since about 1/3 are former military. I think it is a natural progression. I am very close to someone who I met while she was stationed in Iraq. She emailed me that after lending one of my books to someone they were transferred. While she was over there, over a period of eighteen months, I sent her a bunch of books. Her husband who also served in the military also became a fan of mine. We all became pen pals with books unifying everyone. I admire those serving and who have served for making the sacrifices to support our country.


EC: Why did you decide to write a new series?


AB: Dead Heat is the tenth book in the Lucy Kincaid series. I enjoy working on one series and then starting on another series. This keeps me fresh as a writer. I don’t ever want to get bored with what I am writing. It is fun to write about two different characters that make different choices with completely different personalities. Yet, they both strive to make sure good triumphs over evil.


EC: There is an interesting quote in Notorious, “Max believed that if she was to be taken seriously as a crime reporter, she needed to present herself as professional…if she dressed like a Revere-essentially, someone of means who looked and acted important-she would be taken seriously. When she launched her monthly cable crime show nearly two years ago, she took more care in her appearance. Part of it was vanity, but mostly it was her image and how her appearance helped her gather information.” Please explain


AB: Max can use all the tools at her disposal. She will do anything it takes. Females are able to use their assets including sex appeal. I worked in the Sacramento Capitol for thirteen years and observed how women were treated. People had a different opinion of women who dressed down then women who dressed impeccably. Women who wear their hair down are not taken as seriously as women who wear their hair up or who have short hair. It is very subtle. That is why I put the quote in because Max is clued into that type of thinking.


EC: Is there any part of you in the books?


AB: I have a kinship with Max. I also grew up without a dad. I tracked down my father when I was eighteen and found out sometimes fantasy is better than reality. My dad told me he wished my mom had an abortion. He was definitely not the white knight I pictured, but was instead a jerk.


EC: Anything else?


AB: The prep school was modeled on my alma mater. It is essentially my school. I knew people like Max and some of the other characters in the book. I used the Silicon Valley setting to have Max rich so that she would be financially independent. I was more like Kevin, not very financially rich.


EC: Why did you decide to write a novella?


AB: It was my publisher’s decision. I wrote Notorious a year before it was published. I was asked to write Maximum Exposure, the novella. At first I thought ‘no way. I introduced Max in Notorious just the way I wanted.’ I liked the way she came on to the page and how her backstory evolved in the book. But I thought about it and decided to do the novella to explain why Max chose to have a TV show since this is out of character for her.


EC: What do you want the readers to get out of the books and the novella?


AB: An emphasis that the bad have to be punished. That for the victims and those close to them that the truth sets you free. The books I like to read and write seek justice and will have happy endings.


EC: Can you give a heads up about your next book?


AB: It is a Max Revere book entitled Compulsion. It takes place in New York and both Nick and Marco will be in it. Max investigates the disappearance of an elderly couple that are on their second honeymoon. The sub-plot will explore Max’s father.