Introducing Nichole Christoff

My guest today, Nichole Christoff, is making her Lair debut.  I discovered Nichole when I saw a reference to her debut novel, The Kill List, on an RWA loop.  It sounded like my kind of book, so I grabbed it, devoured it, and started jonesing for more.  Nichole’s protagonist, Jamie Sinclair, combines the ability to kick serious butt with a very vulnerable heart.  Jamie’s fourth adventure, The Kill Sign, is out tomorrow, so Nichole is celebrating with us.

Welcome, Nichole! Who is Jamie Sinclair?

nichole-christoffJamie Sinclair is a private-investigator-turned-security-specialist with a long list of high risk, high profile clients who call her when calling the police is out of the question. Jamie is also the only child of a retired two-star general who’s now a US Senator. In many ways, she was the son he never had so she developed quite a skill-set during a childhood spent at his side. As a result, Jamie’s rough-and-tumble on the outside, but with a failed marriage behind her, she’s quite soft on the inside. There’s a vulnerability to Jamie and a strength I admire.


How did you come up with her background?

thekilllistcoverAs the spouse of a US military officer, I often attended events at embassies and diplomats’ residences. At the fringes of events like these, security teams, charged with keeping the diplomats and their guests safe, keep watch. These teams are mostly made-up of highly-trained men, but among them are highly-trained women as well. By the time I began to work out the crime in what would become The Kill List, I knew I needed a heroine possessing the professional capabilities of those interesting women who’d safeguarded me, if my protagonist were going to get the job done. And that’s how Jamie was born.

We love call stories in the Lair. Will you share yours?

Sure! One ordinary April afternoon, my awesome agent, Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein of McIntosh and Otis, called to say we had an offer from Random House’s extraordinary Kate Miciak. You might know Kate for acquiring and editing Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, plus she’s edited half the books on my keeper shelf. Kate and I got right to work on the first novel in the Jamie Sinclair series, and now the latest one, The Kill Sign, arrives December 6th!

the-kill-shotWhy do Jamie and Adam Barrett cross paths?

Jamie and Lieutenant Colonel Adam Barrett first cross paths in my debut novel, The Kill List, when her lying, cheating, army officer ex-husband begs her to track down the kidnapper who snatched the diabetic daughter he fathered with another woman. For the sake of the child, Jamie won’t say no to the job, even though it means returning to the army post where she grew up and putting up with her ex-husband again. But the FBI and Adam Barrett, the post’s military police commander, aren’t too happy to have a private eye like Jamie stepping on their toes.

Jamie, however, isn’t reckless. She’s smart and she’s capable, and Barrett’s a man who appreciates those qualities. Now, if Barrett gets his way, crossing paths with Jamie just might become a permanent arrangement.

the-kill-boxPlease tell us about the first three books in the series.

In all the Jamie Sinclair novels, Jamie faces professional challenges, but she also faces personal ones, too. We meet Jamie in The Kill List, and to keep a little girl safe, she’s forced to trust again. In The Kill Shot, Jamie’s overbearing father requests the one thing he’s never asked for in his life: Jamie’s help. But when Jamie takes her father’s case, she finds herself in a dangerous game of international cat-and-mouse that could cost her her life.

In The Kill Box, Jamie rushes to Barrett’s hometown when a cold case from his past threatens their future, but everything goes wrong when a killer sets his sights on Jamie, and she meets a man who just might give Barrett a run for his money.

How does The Kill Sign build on these?

For Jamie, the stakes couldn’t be higher in The Kill Sign. She’s at a crossroads in this novel, both in terms of her relationship with Barrett and in regard to her career. In both instances, she can see the road not taken, and she has to decide what she’s going to do about it.

Would you like to share an excerpt from one of the books?

thekillsigncoverI’d love to. This passage is from the newest novel in the series, The Kill Sign. After a dirty bomb destroys a riverboat casino and nearly takes Jamie and Barrett down with it, she tracks a notorious gambler to a private hunting lodge in the Deep South, and he sends his enforcers to get rid of her. His men pile into all-terrain vehicles to chase Jamie through the woods with guns blazing, and this is what happens next:

Instinctively, I leapt for thick brush and safety. Bullets tore the leathery leaves of a wild magnolia as I hammered past it, intent on finding a new way to the main road and my SUV. And just as I began to put some distance between my tender hide and the ATV racing along the lane, a second all-terrain vehicle burst from a thicket, digging into the leaf litter in front of me and cutting off my escape route.

I turned on a dime, fled down a slope where hardwoods grew few and far between. Cypress dotted the landscape instead. I stumbled and fell on the hip still sore from my encounter with Monique. Momentum carried me down a muddy embankment. I tried to right myself, but I tumbled.

Head over heels, I splashed into the shockingly cold waters of a marsh.

My arrival set off ripples through the scummy bracken. Cattails, the color of winter wheat, stirred and parted. A massive S-wave flowed toward me and one word formed in my brain: Gator!

Wow, talk about ending on a hook!  What do you enjoy most and least about writing?

I love to get lost in another world for a while, and for me, that’s what writing is. Of course, pushing through a complex plot problem can be stressful, but in the end, it’s always worth the effort.

What’s next for you?

I’m thrilled to say I have another Jamie Sinclair novel on the way. Also, I’m working on a brand-new project with a whole new cast of characters. I can’t wait until the day I can tell you more!

For more information about Nichole and her books, visit her website, www.nicholechristoff.com.  You can also connect with her on Twitter, where she’s @NicChristoff, Facebook, and Goodreads, and you can find her books at Random House.

Nichole is giving a copy of The Kill Box to one of today’s commenters.  You must live in the US to win.  So tell us, what’s your favorite book or movie about a strong woman or your favorite private investigator book or movie?

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

18 Comments

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    I love Jane Rizzoli in the Rizzoli and Isles novels. She’s tough, she’s smart but she also has a softer side which you get to see in her family life. I also love the wild and crazy Sandra Bullock as FBI agent Gracie Hart in the Miss Congeniality movies. So much fun to watch her morph from caterpillar to butterfly then find a happy medium somewhere iin between. Wish she’d do another one!

    • Debbie, I also love Miss Congeniality. I enjoy Rizzoli and Isles on TV but, for some reason, have never tried the books. I keep meaning to, and I’m sure I’ll get there at some point. Which is your favorite?

    • Hi Debbie,

      I love Jane Rizzoli, too! Plus, I have a soft spot for Maura Isles. Those are great books. Angie Harmon, who plays Rizzoli on TV, also played Lindsay Boxer in the short-lived Women’s Murder Club series. Have you read those books as well?

      I bet you’d love it! I sure love a heroine who’s tough on the outside, but soft on the inside.

  • Pearl says:

    My favorite private investigator book series is The Maisie Dobbs Novels which are captivating and intriguing. Maisie was a woman ahead of her time with courage, strength and intuition. The books are unforgettable and give me great enjoyment to read about this amazing individual.

    • Pearl, I’ve read some of those and enjoyed them a lot. A friend gave me the first one for my birthday a few years back. That period between the wars is very interesting. And such a contrast between the 1920s culture here and the way society functioned in Europe.

    • Hi Pearl,

      I’m with you. The Maisie Hobbs novels are excellent. I admire how the author always gives us a touching twist to the story. Maisie can hold her own, but she also has such a tender heart. Which novel in the series is your favorite?

  • elaina says:

    The gritty and tough P.I. whom I admire and enjoy reading about is Vera Stanhope. She is a real character and the novels are enthralling and depict her life and difficulties extremely well. She is unique and has guts. The Anne Cleeves novels are captivating.

    • Hi Elaina,

      I confess I’m addicted to Acorn TV, and I’ve been eying the TV adaptation of the Vera Stanhope novels, especially since I travel to their setting in northeast Britain from time to time. I believe Ann Cleeves is an executive producer on the program, right? Have you seen the adaptations, Elaina? Should I clear next Friday night for a binge?

    • Hi, Elaina–

      I’m not familiar with those. Can you tell us a bit about them?

  • On the suspense side, I think Tess Gerritsen always writes strong, kickass heroines, and on the romantic suspense side, I think Suzanne Brockmann does the same.

    Also…I can’t wait to read the newest Jamie Sinclair book (no need to include me in the giveaway, as I have The Kill Box already).

  • Ruth says:

    Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers in Elizabeth George’s mystery novels is a determined and interesting detective whose job is her life. Sometimes impulsive and very aware of the rules but able to rile the superintendent. I enjoy this character and her personality.

    • Ruth, Havers is a great character! I loved the earlier books in that series but was put off by what we might call, avoiding spoilers, an unfortunate demise.

    • Hi Ruth,

      You’re so right. Havers is such a complex character with a rich “life” when she’s off duty, too. I admire Elizabeth George’s ability to go deep. Are the Inspector Lynley novels your favorite series?