Thursday, October 31, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: British Author Chrissie Parker

Chrissie Parker, Author

British Author Chrissie Parker just published INTEGRATE, which she describes as suspense/thriller/paranormal.  She chose the genre in order to write "something challenging."
 She adds a "dark air of mystery" by setting it in a non-descript town that could be anywhere. She created a protagonist that "at times you just want to hug her."

Parker is married to an actor, and they live together in London with their two cats, who are named after goddesses (which any cat will inform you is quite appropriate.) She enjoys history, particularly ancient history, and archeology, and she has several books underway set in ancient Egypt and Greece.

Don’t miss her brief excerpt from INTEGRATE following the interview.

Q: How would you characterize your new book, INTEGRATE. Mystery? Paranormal? Why did you write in this genre?

Chrissie Parker: INTEGRATE has elements of Suspense/Thriller/Paranormal in it.  I chose the genre as I wanted to write something challenging, and the plot and characters allowed me to do that.

Q: What influenced you to write INTEGRATE?

Chrissie Parker: INTEGRATE was written in the 1990’s and actually started life as a screenplay.  I trained as a Production Assistant (in Media), and I had always wanted to write a film script, something that was slightly dark, about a murder but with paranormal elements, which is where the tarot and premonitions come in.  It never got made into a film, instead it got packed away in a box in the attic, which is where I re-discovered it a few years ago.  After re-reading it, I decided to re-write it into a book.

Q: Why will readers care about your protagonist? How do you develop her to engage your readers?

Chrissie Parker: Hopefully for the reasons I do.  Corinne has had a really tough life.  In her early twenties her parents died suddenly and she suffered terribly from their loss, never really getting over it.  Corinne has a twin sister Helena, who she has always felt responsible for, so when Helena is murdered, Corinne is left completely alone, struggling with terrible grief and the hurt of losing her sister in such a terrible way.  She has to learn to get up each day and carry on despite the heavy burden she carries and it’s a hard thing for her to have to do.  At times you just feel like you want to hug her!

Q: What makes an effective villain? Does INTEGRATE have a villain?

Chrissie Parker: I think an effective villain is someone who puts their own needs above others with a fair amount of control.  Someone who is reckless and has no boundaries. Someone who conducts their life with no concern for others, the law or how their actions may affect others.  INTEGRATE’s villain is Jack, but not in the conventional way.  He unintentionally becomes the villain by his own selfish and thoughtless actions.  Instead of doing the right thing, he chooses self-preservation above everything else. 

Q: Did you write INTEGRATE to deliver a message to readers – or primarily to entertain?

Chrissie Parker: I wrote it primarily to entertain, but there are elements of messages in the book.  I guess if I had to highlight them, I would definitely say don’t drink and drive!  Also that family and close relationships are very important, always let people know you are there for them and that you love them.  Honesty is always the best policy, even if it may not feel like it at the time. 

Q: How relevant is setting to telling your story?

Chrissie Parker: The setting is very non-descript in INTEGRATE.  Despite describing the town a little, I deliberately chose not to name it.  I wanted it to have an air of mystery.  It could be any town anywhere.  It could be English, it could be American.  I liked writing the story this way, it helped give a slightly dark air of mystery to parts of the story.

Q: What’s next? Will you be writing more books like INTEGRATE?

Chrissie Parker: I am in the process of writing some full-length novels, but they will be a little different from INTEGRATE.  My passion is ancient history and archaeology and I love travelling.
‘Wind Across the Nile’ is a historical suspense set in Egypt. It has just come back from structural editing.
‘Among the Olive Groves’ is a World War II suspense set in Zakynthos, Greece. I have almost finished the first draft.
‘Secrets beneath the Sands’ is an archaeological thriller/suspense set in Petra in Jordan.  I have finished the full draft.

I also have plot outlines for a sequel to ‘Wind across the Nile’, as well as another 2 historical suspense stories set in the UK and Italy.

Q:  Whew! You’re really busy.  Tell us about Chrissie Parker. What do you like to do when you’re not writing—if you have any spare time?

Chrissie Parker: I am married to an actor, and live in London (UK), and we have two cats that are named after Roman Goddesses.  I’m a history and archaeology geek, I have completed a 6 month Egyptology course and a 6 month Archaeology course with Exeter University (and hope to try and do another one next year!).  I love collecting and reading history books and watching documentaries about ancient history too. 

I am also a petrol head, I love motor racing, especially Formula 1, and I have been to many races in the past.  I enjoy reading and collecting books and have far too many!  I have also been trying (unsuccessfully) to learn to play the 5-string Banjo for just over two years; it’s not going very well, but I’m still trying!
About Chrissie Parker

Chrissie lives in London with her husband and is a freelance Production Coordinator working in the TV, documentary and film industry.  She is also an Author.  INTEGRATE, a suspense Novella, is her first release.  She is currently working on two suspense books due for release in 2014.  One is set in Egypt and the other on the Greek Island of Zakynthos.

Chrissie is passionate about History, Archaeology and travel, and has completed Archaeology and Egyptology courses with Exeter University.  She also likes to read, collect books and listen to music.

To find out more about Chrissie visit her website


A battered and broken body lays in the road. A discovery that leaves the local community gripped with fear. Suspicion as to who killed the woman is rife.

Corinne’s peaceful life is shattered by the tragic death, forcing her to struggle daily with overwhelming grief and loss.

A chance meeting with a stranger helps Corinne through the hurt and pain, but can she really trust Jack?

Twin sisters Corinne and Helena have always been close, growing up in the same small town.  Corinne lives alone in the house that used to belong to their parents and Helena lives with her husband and love of her life, Jimmy, and their two children.

Helena loves life, she enjoys spending time with her friends and relishes being a wife and mother.  Corinne lives in isolation, unable to get over the death of their parents.  She relies on the spiritual world, reading tarot cards, surrounding herself with crystals and candles.  She also has to deal with unwanted premonitions that strike when she least expects them. 

During a tarot reading Corinne predicts Helena’s death, and is distraught when she learns that Helena has been murdered.  The grief and sudden loss of her twin sister overwhelms Corinne and she struggles to live day to day.  At Helena’s funeral Corinne falls out with her brother in law and is left feeling alone and unloved.

At her lowest ebb Corinne becomes friends with Jack, a stranger in town, but the grief remains and whenever she is around Jack, she gets a vision; one that takes her back to the horrifying scene of Helena’s death.   Unable to stop them, Corinne realises the visions may be her only chance of finally understanding what happened to her sister and why.  But will it be the answer she is looking for?


A screech of tyres stirred Helena from her thoughts and she saw a car swerving wildly in the road, narrowly missing a frightened fox.  She breathed with relief as the animal safely scuttled into a garden. 

Suddenly, reality hit her.  The vehicle was close.  Far too close.  It was heading straight for her at a speed that was excessively fast.  Her brain urged her to run but it was already too late.  The vehicle was too quick.

Helena stared at the driver in bewilderment, as everything became slow motion.  He wasn’t even looking at the road, then, at the last moment, he lifted his head and his shocked and scared eyes locked with hers.

Twitter - @Chrissie_author

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