Have you heard about “Freeze Frame?” It’s a new mystery-suspense novel written by one of our Patch writers, Ilona Saari, and I just want to say that it’s a terrific read! It’s a compelling page-turner that satisfies on every level, from mystery to romance, murder, mayhem and there’s some sex in there, too. Okay, now somebody is going to see my name and put some clues together and resolve that hey, I’m Ilona Saari’s husband (and yes, I’m thanked very nicely in the preface page!) So, of COURSE the husband is going to say it’s good. Well, you don’t have to take my word for it. Just go to amazon.com (address at end) and read all the really great reviews from people all over the country who’ve read the book.
In addition to that, I thought you might be interested in how she put the book together. Since I sleep right next to her I find her pretty available, so I put together some interview questions, then dragged her away from her computer where she’s working on her next book and sat her down for a one-on-one.
RC: WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR “FREEZE FRAME?”
IS: It all started one night when I was talking with friends about Hitchcock. All of us love Hitchcock movies where an innocent person gets involved in intricate intrigues through no fault of his or her own... see "The Man Who Knew Too Much," "North by Northwest," "Rear Window." So, we kept going back and forth with the "what ifs" which led to the premise of the book: What if someone videotaped something he or she shouldn't have? And what if there was a murder involved? And what if the people responsible for the murder turned on the videographer for the tape? And what if... well, you have to read the book for more!
RC: THE BOOK IS SET IN NEW YORK. WHY THERE?
IS: I was born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens, lived in Manhattan. You write what you know. I used some of my favorite places: Beekman Place. Always thought it'd be great to live there, so part of the book takes place in a magnificent town house on Beekman Place. There's radio city, Gray's Papaya, Joe Allen, Lincoln Center, etc.
RC: AND YET, THE STORY BEGINS IN IDAHO...
IS: I vacationed there once with friends, beautiful countryside, lots of mountains and very much "big sky" country with lots of places for homegrown militias to hide and train.
RC: THE MAIN CHARACTER, LORNA, HAS A BROTHER NICKNAMED POE, WHO IS AN EX-REPORTER. HOW DID HIS NEWS BACKGROUND SHAPE THE STORY?
IS: I worked as a freelance writer/reporter, had friends who were reporters and my husband was a TV news writer - I love journalists because of their inquisitive minds and how they can never let a story go till they know everything, so it wasn't a stretch to make Poe one. He just can't let sleeping dogs lie.
RC: LORNA MEETS AN ATF AGENT WHO INITIALLY LIES ANDTELLS LORNA AND POE HE'S A POLICEMAN AND THE READER DOESN'T KNOW WHY OR WHAT HE'S HIDING. TELL US HOW YOU FORMED THE CHARACTER OF JEFFERSON LEEDS...
IS: When I was doing political press for candidates, I got to meet various detectives, secret service/FBI/ATF agents and was intrigued and made up back stories for them. I found the ATF agents the most interesting of the gov't agents i met. They work undercover and had a rather irreverent attitude toward the FBI and their "suits"... One ATF agent told me when I was doing press for a presidential convention that he was drafted to be an agent at the convention and didn't own a suit or dress shirt, so he went to an outlet and bought a "wash & wear" suit and white shirt he could run the shower on to freshen them up when needed and put back on the next day. Jefferson's back story is one I made up for one of the ATF agents I met who had an "old wasp monied" way about him and his suit wasn't wash & wear.
RC: ULTIMATELY, THIS IS A MURDER MYSTERY THAT INVOLVES GUN RUNNING AND CROOKED GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, NEITHER OF WHICH I KNOW YOU'VE BEEN. SO, HOW DID YOU FLESH OUT THOSE ELEMENTS OF THE STORY?
IS: Research! Google became my best friend. And I read a great deal. Lots of mysteries, lots of politics. Plus, my hyper imagination. The ATF was very helpful in answering my questions and I've been around enough politicians having worked for a few, and enough cops and gov't agents to help form my characters. I'm also a big fan of Sue Grafton's "Kinsey Millhone" and John Grisham's "Pelican Brief" - Lorna is my homage.
RC: WHAT WAS YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL IN WRITING THE BOOK?
IS: I wanted it to be a page-turner. I wanted people to have a rollicking good time. It's got what I like to read in a book like this: suspense, romance, sex, mystery and a conclusion that doesn't leave you going huh? The bad guy gets it in the end. As it should be.
Check out “Freeze Frame,” available on Amazon at:
It’s a rollicking good read indeed!