Message From The Author

Debra Webb

Book Title: RUTHLESS
Genre: General Romantic Suspense, Romantic Suspense

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Author's Message

Dear Reader,

Ruthless represents book six in the Faces of Evil series—the halfway point in what will be twelve books. Since each book climbs up to the next rung on the scale of evil, things are beginning to get a little darker and a little creepier for Deputy Chief Jess Harris and her major crimes team.

As I considered who the villain would be in this book, his motive, obviously, was ruthlessness. Before I could picture the character, I needed to figure out how he was ruthless. Was he lethal when it came to business or was it something much more personal? What emotions would drive this man to kill? I wanted his needs to be unique. Not just another power hungry corporate guy eliminating the competition. Who was his victim or victims? Why that/those victim/s?

Once all those questions were answered, the next step was in determining the villain’s murder history. When had he committed the first act? The last? What had he been doing in between? And if he was an inactive killer, why? What had happened to calm or re-channel his deadly urges? What had awakened them?

When all those answers coalesced, I was ready to begin. Since each story takes up right where the last left off, deciding where to begin is easy. A little more complicated is determining how far to take the relationships of all the recurring characters. After all, we have six books to go. I can’t have anything happen too fast or too slow. Each book must reveal new elements about this ensemble cast, good as well as bad. New doubts arise for some while new problems are prompted for others. Writing a series, particularly one that revolves around the same characters, is a balancing act. Add too much or leave out something and everything tilts. Keeping the setting fresh is another aspect that requires careful attention.

Ultimately, my job is easy because I love these characters. I love Birmingham. Long ago, before I published my first book, an author I admired read a story of mine and she said something that made a great deal of sense. “I can tell you really love these characters. It shows.” I realized she had nailed what made that story different from the ones before it. I truly loved the characters. I could feel them deep inside and I missed them when I typed “the end.” I feel the same way about Jess Harris and Dan Burnett and the crew in the Faces of Evil series. I’m not so sure I’ll be able to let them go in a mere six more installments.

For now, I’m busy creating the next villain on yet a higher rung of the scale of evil. I’m finding all sorts of ways to put the characters through the paces of real life drama and those wonderful moments of almost complete happiness. Enjoy Ruthless and keep your eyes open for Vicious, it’s up next and it’s going to be a killer ride!


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