CHRIS RICE COOPER is a newspaper/fiction writer, poet, photographer, painter. CRC Blog is an INCLUSIVE & NON-PROFIT BLOG acknowledging ALL voices, ALL individuals, ALL political views, ALL philosophies, ALL religions including Islamism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, Agnosticism, Atheism. She has a B.S. in Criminal Justice & completed her workshops required for her Master’s in Creative Writing. She lives in St. Louis.
CRC website http://chrisricecooper.com/
Alter Ego is different from any
other mystery novel on the shelves today. It brings you into the world of three
detectives who couldn’t be more different. Each has their specialty to help
solve the case. Add in an ancient elixir, a beautiful journalist, an aggressive
FBI agent and characters good or bad; you might be surprised to which side
you’re rooting for.
you give me the step-by-step process of Alter
Ego from the moment it was first conceived in your brain until final book
had Alter Ego brewing in my brain
since the mid 1990’s, but never had the time to commit it down on paper.
Tory Allyn modeling in the 1990s.
my father died suddenly in the summer of 2009, it made me ponder over my own
life. My priorities were in disarray, so I developed a plan to set time aside
every day and wrote my novel.
you give a short biography of your personal life and career history?
I currently reside in Upstate New York. Although
born in Syracuse, I was raised in the quaint town of Baldwinsville with my
brother and two sisters, who drove me into becoming the zany person I am today.
The Emita II passes through Lock 24 across from Paper Mill
Island in downtown Baldwinsville.
As a child, I made up many a tale. Some funny;
others dark and brooding, but all started me on the path to writing.
Today, my nephew, lovingly referred to as ‘The
Monster Child’, is my partner in crime. Most days you will see us playing ball
at a nearby park, going for a dip in the backyard pool, hitting the gym or
snowboarding down a popular mountainside.
you give me a short biography of you as a writer?
finally made the commitment to write down my ideas, my manuscripts just poured
out of me. I didn’t want to stop. Sometimes, I’d write all day, but the eyes
became strained and my brain was drained.
you give me a short biography of your education history?
taken some courses, seminars, webinars and workshops to help me with various
aspects of writing.
did you do most of the writing for Alter
man-cave. I could think in a quiet atmosphere and feel my characters. I touched
the keys on my laptop. I smelled the chimney as it dispenses its aroma, and
tasted the banter between the detectives. I’d see each of them vividly.
you wrote it did you use pen and paper or laptop? Did you write at a certain
time of day? Did you have to have music playing, or a certain drink or
I first used pen and paper to make a
grid, but I typed it on my laptop in the early morning with a cup of coffee by
How long did the process of writing Alter Ego take?
wrote Alter Ego in the fall/winter of
2009. When finished, I had more to say…a lot more, so I kept writing…and
writing…and writing. At the end, I had four novels, which include – Alter Boys, Altered State, and Alter
Bound.All are in a series entitled The Davenport Decrees.
was the most compelling part of the book for you to write and why? May I
include it as an excerpt?
definitely the beginning. It had to grab the attention of readers, so I worked
on it for quite some time. Yes, you may include an excerpt.
writers or books influenced you in writing Alter
wasn’t one particular book that influenced me. Although I read many of John
Grisham’s earlier work, it had no bearing on my writing.
delved into actual books about writing, editing, marketing, etc. I also picked
up, ‘Self-Editing Guide for the New
Writer’ on Smashword. It helped me immensely and I recommend it for anyone
who is considering a foray into writing.
you go into detail about the publishing process?
and foremost, I went on the Internet and typed in, ‘Mystery publishers who are accepting unsolicited manuscripts (or
whatever genre your manuscript falls under). I found three, so I contacted
them, and because I had four manuscripts in my series, they all sent me a
contract. I went with the best one for myself- Spume Publishing.
you would like to add?
I do mean—never pay for a publisher to publish your manuscript. As a matter of
fact, when you do find a publisher(s), check out, ‘Predators and Editors’. It will save you from going down the wrong
echoed in the distance as Jack Stanwick entered the rural town of Rockfort,
Virginia. Another gruesome discovery led the local boys to claim
jurisdiction—but the Bureau had their own ideas and about to pull rank. After
he sliced through the necessary red-tape and secured the needed sanctions, FBI
Director Gordon Weaver issued an order to survey the tragedy and retrieve all
remnants from Granite’s Mill.
With hardly a resident
looking his way, Jack hastened through the four-way stop and hurried up Old
Gulch Road. He noticed the sparse trees had turned into a dense forest that
dimmed an already cloudy sky. So after a quick flick of his wrist, the
headlights came on.
As the car gained speed,
it careened along the crushed-stone route. The loose gravel struck the
undercarriage like a hail of bullets. At the same time, the screeching cry of
police horns blared louder with each impending tread. It put him on high alert.
While the adrenaline surged, he sped over a hill and caught sight of the
glaring flares that inflamed his path, which improved his view. The crime scene
now became visible.
Jack veered off onto a
dusty road and pulled ahead of the pack of scattered cars. He shut off the
engine, peered out the windshield and eyed the disarray of yellow police tape
that encircled the crime scene. All the grave facial expressions gave weight to
what lay just ahead.
Here we go again! His mind raced.
He reached over to
unlock the glove compartment and removed a mini-recording device. Once his
throat cleared, he pushed the corresponding buttons and spoke in a deep and
sturdy voice, “This is Special Agent Jack Stanwick. It’s Sunday, the
twenty-sixth of October and the time is…” He looked at his watch then continued
logging the rest of his statement. When finished, he shed the blazer and put on
his FBI jacket. He shoved the gadget into a pocket and turned it back on.
Jack unbuckled his
seatbelt and thrust open the door. He emerged from the car and was overtaken by
a brisk wind that stiffened his face and stirred his spine. With a quick zip of
his jacket, he advanced toward the group of men who had gathered around as if
in a football huddle. One of the local cops approached him.
“You must be the FBI
agent?” Out came a hand. “I’m Deputy Morton Talbot.”
Jack grasped it. He
noticed how the gun holster hung loosely around the deputy’s waist; seemingly held
up by a uniform that was one size too big.
“You got here mighty
“I drove like a
banshee.” Jack turned and stuck his head between the congregated men. “Why is
everybody just standing here?” He looked down at a body partially covered with
“We don’t want to touch
anything until Chief McAllister gets here.”
Jack pulled his head out
from the group. “Where is he?”
“The chief is on his way
up from Gallagher County. He’s been visiting his brother over the weekend.” The
deputy glanced at his pocket watch. “He should be here any minute.”
Jack was raised to be
respectful, but also knew cops from the South played by their own set of rules.
If things weren’t done their way, an investigation could come to a screeching
halt and critical clues would be lost. “I take it you haven’t started
processing the crime scene? His eyes narrowed. “You know crucial evidence is
“Like I said before,
we’re waiting for the chief.”
Realizing the jig—a name
he called the dance—Jack prepared for another whirl. “Can’t you can initiate
things?” He wanted to plant the seed. “Aren’t you second in command?”
“Where’s my CSI team?”
“Right behind you.”
Jack spun around his
head and noticed some FBI vans from Quantico, Virginia.
“We’ve got our folks
standing by,” Deputy Talbot said. “I told your team that.”
“C’mon people, you can
at least take pictures.” He pointed down. “I need those tire marks cast.”
“Damn it!” His body
wrenched. “Where’s the camera? I’ll start this investigation myself.”
“Oh no ya won’t,”
bellowed a loud, crass voice. The man bustled his way through the crowd. “This
here’s my case that happened in my county that happened in my state.”
Jack stood in the
presence of the South’s Wyatt Earp. He was a short, portly dynamo. Stuffed in
an old suit with cowboy boots, he looked like a real hellcat. “You must be
Chief Denton McAllister?”
“You’d be right, son.”
“I’m FBI Special Agent
Jack Stanwick.” He stuck out his hand.
The chief ignored it,
reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a cigar. He bit off an end, ran
it under his nose then popped the blunt into his mouth and lit it. His eyes
darted toward Deputy Talbot. “What’s all this excitement about?” His heavy
drawl languished. “Have ya found Jimmy Hoffa?”
A sharp burst of laughter erupted from
“No,” Deputy Talbot answered. “It’s more
like a freak
“I wouldn’t call it that,” Jack piped up.
The chief took a steady
puff of his stogie. “I reckon I’ll be the judge of that.”
Jack gritted his teeth.
These were backwoods boys and he knew nothing would get done if they weren’t
treated with kid gloves.“You know by
all accounts the FBI would be taking over this case once we were informed.” His
voice remained calm and steady.
“I know the playbook,
son.” The fiery tip of Chief McAllister’s cigar floundered with every
word.“Your boss called the governor and
raised a hell of a dickens.” “I
don’t know anything about that.What I
do know is I’ve got to haul this body up to our medical examiner, and soon, so
I need my CSI team to do their job.”
The chief blew his
noxious mist into the air.“Can I at
least take a gander at the body before those fellas get in my way?”
“Just don’t drop my
ashes on the crime scene,” Jack countered.