Nichole Christoff

Nichole Christoff“Publishing is a tough business. Aspiring mystery writers need a place to make professional connections, to learn techniques that can bolster their craft, and even to commiserate sometimes with like-minded, long-suffering souls. That’s the kind of place Killer Nashville can be.

“Aspiring mystery writers also need a positive way to show industry professionals what they can do. Contests for that are few and far between. But that’s what the Claymore Award competition does.

It invites agents and editors to give your work a look. And it can confirm to a writer that she’s on the right track. After all, it can be hard to know that when it’s just you and your three-ring binder.

“When I wrote The Kill Shot, I didn’t think it would ever see the light of day. A lot of aspiring writers can feel like that, and I certainly did! I’d written a previous novel featuring Jamie Sinclair, called ‘The Kill List’. When it didn’t find a home with a publisher, I figured The Kill Shot wouldn’t either, but I couldn’t stop writing it. My agent, however, believed in my protagonist, Jamie Sinclair.

The Kill Shot from Random House“Jamie is the only child of a tough-as-nails army general who got himself elected to the U.S. Senate and she’s a private-detective-turned-security-specialist in her own right. She’s a lot stronger than I am, but a lot softer, too. In her, there’s a little bit of every security specialist I saw at embassy parties I attended with my military husband. And Jamie’s first case came to me after a real-life stalker mistook me for one of my anchorwomen.

“Then, like a lightning strike, The Kill Shot made the short list for the 2014 Claymore Award, Kate Miciak at Random House signed me to a series for their mystery e-imprint, Alibi, and one year later, I have two novels out and Jamie’s third adventure, The Kill Box, will hit the virtual bookshelves this September.

“I’m a Midwesterner through and through, but as a military spouse and broadcaster, I was able to travel widely, live all over, and even work throughout the US and Canada.

The Kill List“Professionally and personally, stories were a day-to-day part of my life. And I think they always have been. As a kid, I was constantly reading, writing, and drawing. Writing a novel had been a someday kind of dream. But while living in Canada’s capital, I caught myself thinking things like, ‘Wow, this parking garage would be the perfect place to stash a pay-off in a mystery novel.’

“So, one summer, after another military move and while I was between jobs as a news producer, I began to jot down ideas about a female protagonist who comes across an international conspiracy to conceal a murder and blows it wide open. I filled an entire three-ring binder that way. And that manuscript went on to win a Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America.”

Nichole Christoff, The Kill Shot