Thanks for having me here, Leah!

Until writing SCENT OF PERSUASION I wouldn’t have imagined the possibility.

In February, Heather Long blogged here about Rigor. If you missed it, you should check it out. She talked about some of the things we learned when attending an All Things Autopsy workshop taught by the Chief Medical Examiner in Dallas. It was a great workshop! Heather and I have both used some of the things we learned in our writing, and in conversation when asked certain questions. We’re odd that way, but if a man asks us if inappropriate rigor is what he thinks it is, what do you expect us to say?

We’ve since been able to stay in contact with another of the Dallas Medical Examiners so we can ask questions when we need for clarifications. We are also lucky enough to have a former cop who worked homicide for a bit as a critique partner. Kym, the critique partner, was amazing at helping me decide how to “murder” one of my victims. And once we chose the method, she gave me the details of how that body would look when found. It’s gruesome stuff that I had so much fun writing.

See, as a writer I’m always looking for ways to challenge myself. As a suspense writer I’m always looking for ways to entertain the reader while staying mostly accurate to the real world. I do take some liberties, but it’s fiction.

To tackle those challenges in my latest book, and I think this would be a tough one for an ME to catch, I use DNA and perfume to kill my victims. The fun part is that the victim is never in physical contact with the “poison” so it’s not absorbed into their skin and there are no traces of it in their body, or there wouldn’t be if they were autopsied. It truly is the perfect murder, unless of course the victim is the step-brother of my actress Kami who knows for a fact his death was not accidental. Or if the intended victim is the childhood friend of an FBI Team Leader who refuses to accept suicide as an answer. I’m really hoping that my methods of murder in SCENT OF PERSUASION entertain you. It certainly entertained me to work it all out. 

So tell me, what makes a suspense/mystery entertaining to you? Is it the plot? The characters? The way they handle the plot?

If you want to know more about Kami and Breck from SCENT OF PERSUASION, come chat with me here, tonight at 8:00 Central time. 

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Nikki Duncan: Death by DNA
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10 thoughts on “Nikki Duncan: Death by DNA

  • April 14, 2010 at 8:08 am

    That's such a neat idea, Nikki! I have to confess that even though I tend to be pretty squeamish and easily squicked out, the whole mystery world is truly fascinating–I'm always curious to read more even as I've got my eyes half closed 😉

    I guess what keeps me reading a mystery or suspense novel is usually what keeps me reading, period–good characters and plot, and getting me to care about the characters. Clever plot twists are fun in a mystery, but no substitute for characterization, at least for me 😉

    Hope I can make it to your chat, Nikki!


  • April 14, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I'm with you, Fedora. I like a plot, but it's the characters I read for.

    As for teh ick factor – my tolerance is pretty high. 🙂

  • April 14, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Good characters/good plot—-that is what keeps me reading.

  • April 14, 2010 at 11:49 am

    what keeps me reading mystery suspense is a combination of both but the characters are ultimately the top portion. I get to know the characters and really get to like them then I'm hooked and what they do or get into is icing on the cake for me.

  • April 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I love the characters. I've ready stories without the development or connection between characters and while the plot was interesting the book fell flat for me.

  • April 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Hmm. I usually skip those sorts of events when my mystery writer friends invite me along, but you've proven you don't have to write mystery to learn about DNA and stuff. Hmm.

    All posted at Win a Book, ladies!

  • April 14, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Susan, I'm glad you stopped by. 🙂

  • April 14, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I love that your research doesn't squick you out. I adore RS, because it revs the heart up, but at the same time, I need it to be somewhat plausible. I'm great at suspending my beliefs for RS, but I need things like the medical and procedural to be accurate.

    But you're right. In the end, it all comes down to the characters, and if I connect with them.

  • April 15, 2010 at 8:48 am

    I have to love the charaters to make any book work for me, but the plot is important too, but stong charcters is where it all starts for me.

  • April 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Lori, I love the research, and I try to be as accurate as I can. Though admittedly I took some liberties with the NSA and CIA and FBI and the way their cases all crossed in the first book. I stil think it was believable, and the agencies do work together more than they once did. 🙂

    Christine, I get bored with a book if the characters aren't strong enough. I just don't have time to invest when I'm not engaged. I think most writers these days are figuring that out and work to make their characters strong.

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