Rami Ungar, Author of “Snake”

snakeWhat is your book about?

“Snake” is about a young man (and I mean young) whose girlfriend is kidnapped over the phone. Later events cause him to have a break with his sanity and he becomes a serial killer, determined to hunt down every member of the mafia family that has his girlfriend. It’s a very dark thriller, and it’s very unusual to have the serial killer as a protagonist. I’m hoping that will allow people to enjoy the story more, though. Fingers crossed, at any rate.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I guess maybe it was the movie “Taken”. Yeah, there are plenty of similarities, but it’s definitely it’s own story. That’s actually what I wanted: I wanted to create a much darker story than “Taken” portrayed, though that was pretty dark in itself. I like to think I’ve succeeded in that respect. We’ll see what the reviewers say.

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Probably time and school work. You want to devote all your time to writing, but inevitably things get in the way, and you end up taking several breaks. In the end it took me six months to write this book, though if I’d had more time to work on it, I might have gotten it done in half the time.

Tell us a little about your main characters.

First off, we have the Snake, our very unconventional protagonist. He’s gone through a great change, and it’s why he’s the killer he is now. I purposely did not reveal his real name in the novel, because I wanted to imply that we all could become like the Snake under certain circumstances.

There’s also Allison Langland, my main character’s girlfriend. Unlike other damsels in distress, she’s a bit more proactive. She doesn’t waste away in a cell hopeless or hoping to be rescued. She’s a fighter, and I love that about her. I think that’s also why the Snake loves her, come to think of it.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it?

I did plenty of research on New York City, where the story takes place. I also did research on serial killers and psychopathy, the better to understand what sort of character I was constructing. I even had a forensic psychologist and profiler give me his diagnosis on the Snake based on crime reports I created. All in the name of authenticity.

What about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Well, it’s an unusual story, so I think that might get people interested. And if people really take the time to check it out, I’m sure a few of them will end up enjoying the story and identifying with the characters. That’s the hope, anyway.

What are you working on right now?

I’m writing another thriller novel, as well as editing the sequel to my previous novel “Reborn City”. I’m also working on interviews, blog posts, and articles. As usual, I’m busy as a bee.

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

I guess I’m aiming for readers who like what I like. That means Anne Rice, Stephen King, and James Patterson, with a dash of manga and anime. Don’t know how many people are like that, but I’m trying to find them.

What, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?

I could probably spend hours philosophizing about that. There are many, many components that are needed to make a good story. But in brief, a good mastery of vocabulary, spelling, and grammar, a good plot and wonderful characters, and hard work will make for a good story.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Read, write, work hard, and never give up.

Where can people learn more about your book?

Where Snake is available: http://www.amazon.com/Snake-Rami-Ungar/dp/1495434931/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1402622066&sr=8-3&keywords=rami+ungar

Blog: http://ramiungarthewriter.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RamiUngarWriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RamiUngarWriter

Lori A. Lowthert, Author of “Instrument of Evil”

Welcome, Lori. How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

I had the idea on a Tuesday, and was writing by the following Monday. I had the whole story roughly plotted out by the end of the week.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I just started with the idea of a girl who thought she wanted to kill people, and that developed into a story about a female serial killer, which is very rare. I wanted her to be very intelligent, and to think she could get away with anything. As a psychiatrist, I am fascinated by the dark side of the human mind, and wanted to explore that.

How long did it take you to write your book?

The first one, Instrument of Evil, took me about six weeks to write. The upcoming second book, Judgment of Evil, took about two months to write. I am currently working on the third book of the trilogy, and I project that it’s going to take a little over two months to write.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

I want readers to come away with the idea that people can be very bad, but still have good qualities.

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

I try to write in the mornings, when I feel I am at my most productive. My goal is at least 3,000 words a day.

Do you have any rituals that you follow before sitting down to write?

I am addicted to Spider Solitaire, and I try to win a round before I start writing. I limit myself to 5 games, because I don’t always win!

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

I am trying to reach readers who are interested in the inner workings of a serial killer, It’s not for everyone, but with the popularity of the Showtime series Dexter, about a serial killer, I feel like my market’s out there.

Does writing come easy for you?

Sometimes it comes easily, and sometimes it is torture to get any words on my screen.

Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

I have a little list on my “Ideas” Word document, which mainly contains ideas about the story I am working on currently.

How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?

Counting the current story I’m writing, I have four story ideas rattling around. Next I’m planning to write a YA paranormal romance.

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

My psychiatrist told me to keep writing as much as possible, and to remember all the rejections several famous writers got before they made it.

Where can people learn more about your books?

People can learn more about my books, including reading an excerpt of Instrument of Evil, at http://www.instrumentofevil.com. I’m also on Goodreads and Facebook.

Scott Whittaker, a character in “Instrument of Evil” by Lori A. Lowthert

Who are you?

My name is Scott Whittaker, I’m 28, a former college lacrosse player, currently tending bar part-time at this great dive bar. I met Rebekah Johnson there one night, and we’ve basically been together ever since. I’m planning to go to grad school to get my Ph.D. in Philosophy, with the goal of becoming a college professor.

Where do you live?

I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia, with a housemate I am convinced is growing pot in his closet. I should move, but it’s so much work. I grew up in New Canaan, CT, went to college in New Jersey, lived in NYC for a few years, and then traveled around the country for a while before ending up in Atlanta.

You said you wanted to be a philosophy professor. Who’s your favorite philosopher?

Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’d have to say it’s either Nietzsche or Heidegger. I can’t narrow it down more than that.

How do your friends see you?

They would say I’m a pretty good guy, but that I’m kind of a wild man.

What do you mean by “Wild man?”

Partly the traveling all over the country for a few years like Jack Kerouac, partly that I can party kind of hard, and partly my reputation as a ladies’ man. I’ve been arrested a few times for public disturbances and being drunk in public, things like that.

Do you keep your achievements to yourself?

I don’t like to brag, and talking about my achievements feels like bragging. And there are a few achievements that are secrets.

What makes you happy?

I love spending time with my girlfriend, Rebekah. She’s such a smart, fun person to be around. I can do nothing when I’m with her and feel happy. I also like lighting up a joint and getting high, while listening to Pink Floyd.

Has anyone ever betrayed you?

When I was living in New York City, I went on one date with this woman, Carmen. We both got kind of drunk and got carried away. I didn’t see her again because we didn’t really hit it off. The next thing I know she’s calling and telling me she’s pregnant, and that it’s my baby. We met up and talked, and we both agreed that she was going to have an abortion. I gave her half of the money for it. When she got to her appointment, she had a change of heart, but she didn’t tell me. I only knew that she didn’t have the abortion when I happened to run into her when she was in her eighth month. She told me she was raising the baby on her own and wanted nothing to do with me. I argued that since she decided to have the baby, she decided that I was going to have a child, and that I should have parental rights. After the baby was born–a girl, Annie–I had paternity testing done to make sure she was mine. Carmen was still insisting that she was going to raise the baby alone. She allows me some limited contact now, but not very much. I tried to pay her child support, but she wouldn’t take it, I guess because she thought that would entitle me to parental rights. It’s a messed up situation.

Do you have any distinguishing marks?

I have two tattoos, one of a four leaf clover on one forearm, and Annie’s name tattooed on the other. I have scars on my left knee from when I had ACL surgery.

What was your childhood like?

It was a happy childhood. I have an older brother, Matthew, and he and I were always very competitive. We both played sports–he played baseball and I played lacrosse, so we didn’t compete about sports too much. We were competitive about grades in school, at least until we were both in high school, when my wild child partying days began. We’re still somewhat competitive, especially about our colleges. We both went to different Ivy’s–I went to Princeton and he went to Yale–and we argue about which is the better school. I have a little sister, Alison, who’s just wonderful. I was always getting in fights to protect her, not that she needed it.

Did you get along with your parents?

I got along with them until I got to high school and was partying all the time, then we got in a lot of fights. I somewhat redeemed myself by getting into Princeton, but after college they disapproved of my lifestyle. Especially after Carmen got pregnant–they wanted me to marry her, which I wasn’t about to do. I’ve been completely cut off from them for the past few years.

Who was your first love?

This girl, Amanda, when I was 13. I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world. We dated for a year, then she broke my heart and left me for a football player.

What is your most closely guarded secret?

I have a lot of money. I don’t want to say how much or how I got it.

What is your favorite scent?

There’s this perfume that Rebekah wears, Pink Sugar by Aqualina, that I just love. I love the smell of it mixed with her skin. At first it smells like strawberries, and then later it smells like caramel, vanilla, and cotton candy. It’s intoxicating.

What is your favorite music?

I like the Rolling Stones because they’re the best band on the planet.

What are the last three books you read?

Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, both by Stieg Larsson.

Where can we find out more about you?

https://www.createspace.com/3703658
http://www.amazon.com/Instrument-of-Evil-ebook/dp/B005TUG136/ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/instrument-of-evil-lori-lowthert/1106520425?ean=2940013260429&itm=2&usri=lowthert

Also check out: Interview with Rebekah Johnson, Hero of Instrument of Evil, by Lori A. Lowthert

Rebekah Johnson, Hero of Instrument of Evil, by Lori A. Lowthert

What is your story?

My name is Rebekah Johnson, and I’m a 22 year old graduate student studying clinical Psychology. I want to be a therapist when I’m done with school. I love reading, and my favorite books are The Sound and the Fury and Catcher in the Rye. I have an unusual hobby, and one that’s very rare in women—I’m a serial killer. My book, Instrument of Evil, by Lori Lowthert, talks about my childhood, which was basically normal, my college years, and my path to killing.

Do you have a problem that wasn’t mentioned in the story?

Yes, I have a fear of public speaking. I can do it, but it makes me really uncomfortable. Many people are surprised when they find this out about me.

Do you embrace conflict?

Almost always, especially with my mother, who is hyper-critical of me. Then there are my killings, which are by their very nature conflictual.

How do you see yourself?

I am very intelligent, athletic, and a good friend to my best friend, Natalie. Despite thinking I would never fall in love, I have, and I have a wonderful boyfriend, Scott. I am a good girlfriend to him.

How do your enemies see you?

I don’t know that I have many enemies, but the few that I can think of are mainly jealous of me. From the outside, my life looks perfect to them, so I think they’re jealous of me.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

Well, I actually wrote the book—I am the narrator, after all. So, yes, the portrayal is accurate.

Do you have a hero?

My main hero is my boyfriend, Scott. He makes me want to be a better person.

Do you have any skills?

I have many skills. I read really, really fast. I can break into almost any unalarmed building. I know a lot about human anatomy, which helps with the serial killing.

What do you want?

I want to be able to stop killing and to have a normal life with Scott.

Do you keep your promises?

I keep promises to other people, but I can’t always keep the promises I make to myself.

What was your childhood like?

You can read more details about it in my book, Instrument of Evil, but my childhood was pretty normal. I was enrolled in gymnastics when I was five, and showed a talent for it, winning Regionals one year. My coach and my mom wanted me to try out for the National teams, but I didn’t want to—I wanted to have a normal life.

Did you get along with your parents?

I got along well with my father, but he’s a pretty busy businessman, and worked long hours. My mom was a stay-at-home mother, and she and I did not see eye to eye on anything. We fought a lot. Our relationship is a lot better now.

Who was your first love?

My first love didn’t happen until I was 21, when I met Scott. It was almost love at first sight, but I was in denial about it for months. I didn’t think I was capable of falling in love, being a serial killer.

Was there a major turning point in your life?

The day I turned 21, I was able to access the trust fund my grandfather had set up for me to attend graduate school, and my parents told me they would no longer be paying for my last year of college. That was also the day I met Scott.

What is your most prized possession?

My hunting knife, which I have used in several murders. It has a good weight in my hand, has a nice sharp edge, and is long enough for many purposes.

What is your favorite scent?

I love the scent of vanilla because it reminds me of my grandmother’s baking.

What is your favorite music?

I like Indie rock because it doesn’t sound like anything else out there.

Where can we find out more about you?

https://www.createspace.com/3703658
http://www.amazon.com/Instrument-of-Evil-ebook/dp/B005TUG136/ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/instrument-of-evil-lori-lowthert/1106520425?ean=2940013260429&itm=2&usri=lowthert

Also check out interview with: Scott Whittaker, a character in “Instrument of Evil” by Lori A. Lowthert

Victor Frank, the villian in “Better Off Without Her” by Rita Hestand

What is your story?
You don’t want to know. It’s too ugly and gory to do no tellin’.

Who are you?
My name is Victor Frank, I’m the villian from Better Off Without Her by Rita Hestand.

Where do you live?
My home, if you want to call it a home is in northern Pandhandle Texas. But I don’t live there, I move around a lot. I’m lookin’ for someone.

What is your problem in the story?
I’m trying to find the man who spent most of his time laughing at me as a kid. The man who sat around dreamin’ up things to do to me, to hurt me. I’m gonna kill my Uncle J.I.

Do you embrace conflict?
Never thought about conflict, don’t know what it is, what it means. I never went to school, so I don’t know what all words mean.

How do you see yourself?
I’m a shell of a man, I don’t know how to talk to people, how to act around them. Someone mentioned a war, I didn’t know what that was. Never will forget that rockin’ chair I seen at that woman’s house I stopped at. She shouldn’t ought to have punished that boy.

How do your friends see you?
Ain’t got any friends, never did.

How do your enemies see you?
Don’t reckon I got any of those either…alive

How does the author see you?
Ah…depressed, she knows me pretty well. She feels sorry for me and it depresses her to get in my head. But when she do, she knows me, she is the only one that knows me this well.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?
Yep she got me down good.

What do you think of yourself?
Aint never thought about it. There is one thing…I don’t like to see kids punished. It makes me crazy.

Do you have a goal?
Oh yeah, I’m gonna get my Uncle and do to him what he did to me. And I’m gonna laugh like he did too.

Do you have any special strengths?
What does that mean? I guess I’m strong, as I can choke a woman to death with one hand. I just lift her high up into the air, and squeeze real hard.

Do you have any special weaknesses?
Yeah, that preacher done confused me good. Didn’t understand a word of what he said. Made no sense to me. Talks about forgivin’ then he don’t.

Do you have any skills?
I can cut a finger off quicker than lightning.

Do you have money troubles?
Naw, I always stole what I needed off the dead.

What do you want?
To see my Uncle rot in hell like my Pa.

What do you believe?
That preacher asked me that, and I don’t know what you or he is talkin’ about. Believe in what? I only believe in helpin’ kids, that’s all.

What makes you happy?
Cuttin’ a finger off, or helpin’ a kid.

What are you afraid of?
Ain’t never thought on that too much. Used to be scared of my Pa and Uncle, but ain’t no more.

What makes you angry?
Women mostly, don’t understand them. Didn’t understand that lady that took her clothes off, don’t understand why women punishes their kids.

What makes you sad?
Thinkin’ on my life.

What, if anything, haunts you?
When I kill the kid’s mother’s they always cry. I don’t understand why. I did ‘em a favor. I killed their mean Mas. They is better off without her.

Do you like remembering your childhood?
I try not to think on it, it makes me crazy.

Did anything newsworthy happen on the day you were born?
It did to my Pa, my Ma died.

Did you get along with your parents?
My father and uncle hated me, blamed me for my Ma dyin the day I was born. I couldn’t hep it.