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I’m pleased to have as my next guest on the Crime Cafe podcast thriller author Kristin Helling. Her website URL may include the words “ordinary writer”, but don’t you believe it! 🙂

As part of her guest post, Kristin’s giving away a free copy of the first book in her series, THE ALTRUISM EFFECT. I’m reading it now and it’s chilling. Not chillin’ (as in relaxing), but chilling (italicized and with an exclamation point)!

If you’d like to enter the random drawing for a signed print copy of the book PLUS a self-defense cat keychain that her protagonist could have totally used, just email Kristin at author[at]kristinhelling[dot]com with “Crime Cafe giveaway” in the subject line. You have until Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, to enter this giveaway!

In any case and without further ado, here’s Kristin! 🙂

For me, it was always about the writing. I knew I wanted to be an author from a young age. My Mom kept a book that I “wrote” when I was 5-years-old. I story boarded the plot about my Grandma’s dog playing in the snow (I grew up on Lake Erie in Pennsylvania, my whole childhood was about the snow, haha). When I was in middle school, I started my first novel. It was part of a trilogy that I wrote and queried all through high school to traditional publishers and literary agents. It was never picked up, and for good reason. (Of course, that book will never see the light of day. It’s locked far, far deep in a drawer and will never be found. Everyone needs one of those, right?)

I didn’t want to go to college. I would have rather traveled the world for experience, and used the time spent getting a degree to write what I wanted to write. Alas, my Mom gave me the guilt trip that she wanted me to have opportunities that she didn’t have, and that I needed a degree to show my credibility and dedication to something. So, I went for an English writing degree, with an 18-hour minor in psychology (and I’m still paying for my student loans even though I’m close to 30… at least I still got to travel some).

Taking psychology as a second choice was a no brainer for me. It made the most sense to study a subject that allowed me to examine the minds and tendencies of people. It allowed me to train myself how to get into the motivations of the characters I wrote on the page. If I was going to spend time and money in academics, I might as well use it for research, right?

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The cat self-defense keychain!

After graduating college, I decided to make the business decision to go Indie. The market was changing, and the pros outweighed the cons for me when it came to Indie publishing. My writing colleague J. R. Frontera and I opened a publishing imprint called Wordwraith Books.

As I started writing novels, it was only natural that psychology showed up as a prominent theme.

I am currently working on a 4-book series called The Mastermind Murderers. The premise is about recollecting psychological studies from history and rebirthing them into our modern day. Book One, The Altruism Effect, highlights the Stanford Prison Experiment from 1971. Book Two, The Bystander Effect, derived from the Kitty Genovese case of 1964. Book Three, The Carbon Effect, to be released in APRIL 2018, showcases the Milgram Experiment of 1974 — an experiment that shocked the world. Literally. And though my intentions are quite clear in the cases I’ve chosen to write about, they are disguised so that most readers may not even know where my inspiration came from.

Why do I choose to bring up psychological experiments from the past? It’s hard not to think that perhaps I am wanting to pay tribute to these experiments, even though many of those involved have suffered and even lost their lives. This is not why I do it. Each case proved a valuable lesson to all of humanity, and those are the themes that I want to remind people of. On the other hand, if they’ve never heard of the case before — it brings new light to a history long forgotten.

Like most writer’s, I do heavy research, and living inside the minds of murderers and psycho’s weighs on me. I often need a strong mental break after being immersed deeply into these unique, yet deviant characters. So in between my thriller crime novels, I write children’s books. It changes the gears in my brain completely and gives me a much-needed break. I love the balance to my writing life.

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I love stories that make you think. The ones that have familiar tropes, done in a completely original and new way.

Readers want stories they can relate with. Characters they can root for. When I think about what makes a great story, it’s the ones that are character driven.

Humans just want to make a connection.

If I could hope one thing about the way my writing is received, it’d be to achieve just that.

Kristin Helling

*****

Author Bio:

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Kristin Helling enjoys stories with a journey — whether it’s a journey across the globe, a journey through space, or a journey of finding ones self. She writes Adult fiction thrillers, as well as children stories. She received her BA in English-Writing from Park University (Parkville, MO) with an 18-hour minor in Psychology. Her debut novel CAPSULE, published under Wordwraith Books, can be found on Amazon, KDP, Nook, Ibooks, and Kobo. She is currently working on a 4-book thriller series called the Mastermind Murderers. Kristin is married to a photographer, owns a coffeehouse, and lives outside of Kansas City with their two hairy children, a husky and a collie-shepherd mix. She co-founded the writing group known as The Wordwraiths and is partner in their publishing imprint, Wordwraith Books. You can find out more about her and her books at www.kristinhelling.com, and more about The Wordwraiths at www.wordwraiths.com.

New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including the Sam McRae Mystery series. Screenwriter, podcaster, and blogger. My website: www.debbimack.com.

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