New thriller and author interview from Kathleen Valenti: Protocol

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Freshly minted college graduate Maggie O’Malley embarks on a career fueled by professional ambition and a desire to escape the past. As a pharmaceutical researcher, she’s determined to save lives from the shelter of her lab. But on her very first day she’s pulled into a world of uncertainty. Reminders appear on her phone for meetings she’s never scheduled with people she’s never met. People who end up dead.

 

With help from her best friend, Maggie discovers the victims on her phone are connected to each other and her new employer. She soon unearths a treacherous plot that threatens her mission—and her life. Maggie must unlock deadly secrets to stop horrific abuses of power before death comes calling for her.


Kathleen, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little about your protagonist Maggie? 

Maggie O’Malley is a 20-something coming into her own. She just got her first real job at an up-and-coming pharmaceutical, moved out of her childhood home and is finally fulfilling her dream of helping humankind through pharmaceuticals. She’s a self-professed nerd, the girl who skipped the dance to do extra credit in biology. She’s also smart, gutsy, loyal, shy—and has no idea how strong she really is.

How much do you and Maggie have in common? 

There’s more than a little bit of me in Maggie, although my nerd-dom is more bookish and linguistic. (Math and science make me want to run screaming from the room!) Despite our differences in age (Maggie is—ahem—a good deal younger), she’s more self-possessed and brave than I am. If we were to meet, I know we’d be fast friends. She might not understand my emotionality (she’s very stoic), but we both speak the same language: movie quotes.

Will your characters change as the series progresses?

Maggie grows quite a bit between PROTOCOL and 39 WINKS. Life-threatening experiences tend to have that effect. She’s stronger, less retiring and has learned not so much what she wants out of life, but rather what she doesn’t. That’s an important lesson for us all.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?

No, although I did turn a real-life bad guy into a fictional one in my second book, 39 WINKS. Sweet revenge!

I know you can’t give us any more details, but I’d like to hear more about that! How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

My setting is 100% fictional. I considered setting the series in Oregon, either in my hometown or a more populous area like Portland, but neither provided the kind of educational opportunities or industries that my protagonist—and my story—needed. In the end, the fictional Midwestern cities of Collinsburg and Greenville suited my needs. They have the just-right sizes (large and small), amenities, weather and ambiance I wanted, while offering the infinity flexibility of fiction.

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

Maggie would definitely be played by Emma Stone, Constantine by Adrian Grenier (Vince from “Entourage”) and Ethan by Chris Pine. I just need the call from a major studio to make it happen. (ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease)

 

What’s the worst and best advice you’ve received as an author?

The best advice I received was from a romance novelist who told me to set word count goals—and then meet them—every single day. This got me out of the loop of editing the same sentence over and over again without progressing.

I wouldn’t say I’ve encountered any “worst” advice—maybe just advice that wasn’t a good fit for me. I think that can often be the case. What works for one writer may not work for another. We’re all different, after all, and that’s a beautiful thing!


About the Author

When Kathleen Valenti isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. Protocol is her debut novel and the first of the Maggie O’Malley mystery series. Kathleen lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running.

Author Links

Webpage – www.kathleenvalenti.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorkathleenvalenti/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/KathyValenti1

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16773270.Kathleen_Valenti

 

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