Thursday, May 22, 2008

Checkmate - author interview - Jean Hackensmith

Valley Girl brings a special guest to share her novel of spousal abuse. Spousal Abuse and death from abuse is always a hard subject to talk about and brings back memories of the O.J. Simpson case in the mid 1990’s when he was accused of killing his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and friend Ronald Goldman, but Jean Hackensmith, author of Checkmate thought this story needed to be shared with her readers and it all started with one question, “What if?”

Checkmate Synopsis:

Caryn Deaver survived a nightmare.
A victim of spousal abuse, Caryn’s ex-husband bound her and their children hand and foot, locked them in the bathroom, and set the house on fire. They managed to escape with their lives, and Dan Hamilton was sentenced to eighteen years in prison for the crime. He’s out now, though, and the rules in his sadistic game allow Caryn only twelve “moves” before she dies.

Zach Riker, Cheyenne’s Fire Chief, was the first paramedic on the scene eighteen years ago. He saved Caryn’s life. Now she is his life and he’ll stop at nothing to protect the woman he has come to love.

Welcome to Valley Girl,

My name is Jean Hackensmith, author of “Checkmate”, a new romantic thriller. First of all, I want to thank Valley Girl for allowing me to stop by and tell her readers about my new book. The idea for “Checkmate” came from an episode of Forensic Files on Court TV. I saw the episode nearly two years ago. I can’t remember the names of the victims or the perpetrator of the crime. I can’t even remember where the crime took place. The story, though, stuck with me because it was so horrifying. This guy tied up his wife and four children, locked them in a windowless pantry, and set the house on fire. They all died. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Can you even imagine the terror those five people must have suffered in the last moments of their lives? One of the children was just a baby. I do remember that. I just pray they all died of smoke inhalation before the fire got to them. After the episode, I started trying to put myself inside that guy’s head. They never really disclosed why he did it, or at least I don’t remember. So, I let my imagination run. None of the reasons I came up with seemed good enough, though. I guess there just is no good reason to murder your wife and children—and especially in such a horrible way—at least not in my mind. I also started thinking about what might have happened if the family had lived. I know that the father went to jail, but what if got out? What would he do? Would he just put the anger and bitterness behind him, or would he seek revenge? I chose the latter option, and “Checkmate” was born.

In the book, Caryn Deaver had only two children, and her ex-husband locked them in the bathroom, not the pantry. I had to put them in a room with a window, so there was a way out. They managed to escape, and Dan Hamilton (the abusive ex) was sentenced to eighteen years in prison for the crime. He hasn’t even been out a day when he starts stalking her. His sadistic “game” will consist of thirteen moves, with each one more violent than the next. The final move in the twisted game—checkmate—will be Caryn’s death. Her new boyfriend, Zach Riker, does everything in his power to protect her, including installing a panic room in their home and buying a protection dog. By the end, Dan will be determined to kill him, too—and he is just as determined that Caryn will watch her lover, and her children, die. Zack enlists the aid of his friend, Police Captain Brian Koski, to stop the reign of terror. I find it kind of funny now, especially because I’m writing this post for Valley Girl—Brian originally comes from California. In fact, “Checkmate” is the first in the Brian Koski Stalker Series. In future books, Brian will leave the police force and become a private investigator who specializes in stalkers. One plot idea for a future book takes him back to California to help an old friend. When I get to that book, Valley Girl, I hope we’ll be talking again!

Thank you Jean for joining us here at Valley Girl Musings and consider this an invitation to return here when your next book is published, we would love to have you and wish you every success on the rest of your virtual book tour.

~Valley Girl~

CHECKMATE VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 officially begin on May 1, 2008 and will continue all month. If you would like to follow Jean's tour in progress, visit in May. Leave a comment on her blog stops and become eligible to win a free copy at the end of her tour! One lucky winner will be announced on this tour page on May 30!


Jean Hackensmith said...

Thank you so much, Valley Girl, for having me here today! It was a great experience and I'll look forward to "seeing" you again!