|K.E. Mullins, Author|
IN THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS
FRIENDS AND FAMILY CONNECTION
K. E. Mullins brings us the second book in her Team Ice series, featuring DEA Agent Anita Johnson, IN THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS. Mullins writes her characters to engage readers by making them people they can “relate to.” In addition to creating an entertaining story, Mullins remarks that she does intend to deliver a message, “You never truly know those around you.”
Retired from the Navy, Mullins currently lives in Gainesville, FL, where she works as a Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) instructor. In addition to IN THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS, she has also published a book of poetry THINKING ALOUD: DIMENSIONS OF FREE-VERSE and the first Agent Anita Johnson novel, THE FRIENDS AND FAMILY CONNECTION: GET UNPLUGGED. When she’s not writing, she is passionate about running and has completed two marathons. Her current goal is a triathlon, and she is working on the swimming. She expects to publish the third book in her trilogy in late 2016.
Q: IN THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS is your second book in the Team Ice series. What inspired you to create your protagonist, DEA Agent Anita Johnson, and her partner and boss? Do you have experience with the DEA?
K. E. Mullins: Yes, Joyce this is the second in the series. I was inspired by my first job after retiring from the Navy. It was a property management firm, privately owned and it had a lot of interesting people in the company. So, after I left working there, I decided they would make a good story. Anita was inspired by a good friend of mine that worked there, but she wasn’t a DEA agent. Chloe is my alter ego and her boss, well let’s say he’s just a combination of good looking intelligent guys I’ve come across over the years.
Q: How do your characters engage your readers? What will make readers care about your characters?
K. E. Mullins: My characters engage the readers because they are people they can relate to in some way or another. Anita is a type A personality. She never rests and is always thinking of ways to catch Gabrielle and the crew. She can be better described as the girl who’s first in the office and last to leave. Elle on the other hand is ruthless and is all about her.
Q: Does the concept of hero versus villain apply to your story? Is your DEA agent a hero? What makes a hero? What makes a villain?
K. E. Mullins: My story does have heroes and villains, but not in the sense Anita is the good guy and Elle and Gabrielle are the bad guys. Although, Anita is the detective or good girl. Ellen plays a part in here and she is bad, but she in essence is good by eliminating a person in Chloe’s life. I don’t want to give it away. You’ll have to read the book to see what I’m referring to. So, to answer your question a hero can save the day and be viewed as good or bad. It depends on how you interpret their actions.
Q: Did you write IN THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS strictly to entertain, or did you embed some key messages in it for your readers?
K. E. Mullins: It was written to engage the readers and send a message. We are always in the company of strangers. You never truly know those around you.
Q: Were you able to use the setting in Washington, D.C. to help tell your story? Would it have been a different story if set in a different city?
K. E. Mullins: D.C. helped because it is fast paced and a lot going on. So, it helped the reader see the movement. As opposed to Gainesville, Fl or a smaller city. It wouldn’t propel the story or show the action as much.
Q: How helpful is humor to tell your story or create your characters?
K. E. Mullins: Humor helps lighten the mood and take the reader away from stressful situations taking place.
Q: What makes your story credible? How important is plausibility to engaging readers? What will make a reader stop reading a detective story?
K. E. Mullins: My story is fiction, however, there are a lot of facts that do take place in the story. It’s a combination of stories or events that have taken place in some setting or place. I do extensive research on subjects that are not my expertise such as drug rings. Additionally, most places that are in the stories I’ve lived in, which helps in the plausibility of the story.
I believe a reader will stop reading a story if they’ve been to a place and they find the areas described in a story incorrect or the actions taken by characters unbelievable.
Q: You have written and published poetry as well as your novels. Do you prefer one over the other? Are you able express yourself in different ways with the two approaches?
K. E. Mullins: I have written a book of poetry also. I prefer writing novels, but poetry is easier. But…I have to be in the mood to write poetry. I can’t sit down and write poetry for hours like I can do a fiction novel. For poetry, I have to have an event or mood to inspire me. In writing fiction…I become the characters. So, it’s easier to get them on paper.
Q: What’s next?
K. E. Mullins: The final book in the Ice series. I plan to complete it this month. I’m still stuck at the computer with Chloe.
Q: Tell us about K. E. Mullins. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
K. E. Mullins: K.E. Mullins is an avid runner. I love doing races, my favorites are half marathons. I’ve done 2 marathons (the Marine Corps marathons), but I have no desire to do another. My ultimate goal is a Triathlon now, but I’m still working on the swim. Other than running…I’m busy with my Navy ROTC kids at school. They keep me busy throughout the year.
About K. E. Mullins
K.E. Mullins is retired from the Navy and currently works as a Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) Instructor in Gainesville, FL. She graduated from National University with an MBA in Finance and University of Central Florida with a Major in Marketing. Ms. Mullins is a Jacksonville, Florida native and has enjoyed reading and writing since her early childhood. She began her writing career while in the Navy by venturing into poetry.
Her first poetry piece, “My One Last Cent,” was published in a literary journal, “Amistad,” in 2007 at Howard University. Currently, Ms. Mullins has published a book of poetry, THINKING ALOUD: DIMENSIONS OF FREE-VERSE; and two novels, THE FRIENDSAND FAMILY CONNECTION: GET UNPLUGGED and IN THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS (TEAM ICE Book 2) available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle. She is currently finishing the last book in her fiction trilogy and expects the third novel, “Another Name for Revenge,” to be released by late 2016. Ms. Mullins was a winner of the NanoWrimo 2015 completing just over 50,000 words in 30 days. In addition to writing poetry, she has done spoken word venues in Urban Grind, Atlanta, GA, Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., and the Thomas Center, Gainesville, FL.
IN THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS
THE FRIENDS AND FAMILY CONNECTION: GET UNPLUGGED
THINKING ALOUD: DIMENSIONS IN FREE-VERSE