“The Felony Murder Rule is a real winner.” Michael A. Black
Thonie Hevron is a retired 911 dispatcher who makes her home in Petaluma in the Sonoma Wine Country, California with her husband, Danny. When not writing, Thonie rides horses and enjoys traveling. Her work has appeared in Beyond Borders: 2014 Redwood Writers Anthology and Felons, Flames and Ambulance Rides: Public Safety Writers 2013 Anthology. She is the author of four award-winning mystery/thriller novels, By Force or Fear, Intent to Hold, and With Malice Aforethought, are currently available on Amazon but will be re-published by Aakenbaaken & Kent (A&K) in the future. A&K has published the fourth mystery, Felon with a Firearm.
Please tell us about Felony Murder Rule and any comments about any other of your books: All the titles are elements of the main crime. My newest book is titled, Felony Murder Rule, which mandated a sentencing enhancement for felonies committed in which a homicide results. In 2018, this rule was abolished in California with one exception. The book takes place in 2018 before the court ruling. Meredith and Nick are tossed into a decades old crime involving her father. The clock is ticking as rival criminal factions jockey to use her to find a cache of stolen money.
At home one night, sheriff’s detective Meredith Ryan surprises an intruder leaning over her baby’s crib. Unable to catch him, she launches a dangerous journey to protect her family. The death of her father the next day steers her onto a path of deceit and mystery where the two incidents are connected by the mysterious man in her nursery. With Nick, her husband, they unravel her father’s involvement in a robbery/homicide years ago. To find the hidden loot, competing crime rivals plot to use her family as bargaining chips. Meredith and Nick must find the truth in the next 24 hours before the criminals close in on her family.
My series is called the Nick and Meredith Mysteries, but they’re really more thrillers than classic mysteries. They are stand-alones but follow Sonoma County Sheriff’s detectives on different cases. In By Force or Fear (an element of stalking), Meredith is stalked by a judge while she tracks a killer. Intent to Hold (an element of kidnapping) follows Nick and Meredith as they go to Mexico to rescue a relative being held hostage by a cartel. With Malice Aforethought is a necessary component of murder and a homicide is what the detective partners are investigating when they stumble upon a militia with violent plans.
What are you currently working on? I’m currently re-editing my first book, By Force or Fear. My current publisher, Aakenbaaken & Kent, has committed to re-publishing the three previous Nick and Meredith Mysteries. I want it ready when he hollers for it. They are currently on Amazon and self-published.
Has an association membership helped you or your writing? Yes, as a matter of fact. I belong to two such organizations. First, I joined the Police Writer Association back in 1997 or so when I first began to write seriously. It’s morphed into the Public Safety Writers Association. The thought of a bunch of police/fire/medical emergency personnel writing was captivating. Writing is a solitary enterprise—or at least, it used to be. The bottom line is you get what you give: I’ve gotten so much from these members. Expertise and experience sharing, networking, and building relationships with professionals from across the continent (including Canada). Sometimes, it’s just a shoulder (Marilyn, did you hear that?), but I found a terrific mentor and some darn good friends in this group. The second, Redwood Writers is my local writers club. Through membership and volunteering, I found out about goal setting, marketing strategies, immense help with the writing craft, and again, building relationships.
We hear of strong-willed characters. Do yours behave, or do they run the show? My first novel took me almost a decade to write, so I was pretty clear on who was going to do what. By the time I was underway with the second manuscript, I had a plan, but these darn main characters decided to hijack the story. Originally, Nick and Meredith were partners and not supposed to fall in love. But things being what they are, in Intent to Hold, their feelings for each other emerged. By the third story, With Malice Aforethought, they both knew a relationship was unavoidable. So yeah, they tend to run the show.
Do you base any of your characters on real people? Funny, people ask me that all the time. Most of my characters are a mash-up of people I’ve known throughout my career in law enforcement. The criminal types are complete fiction, but the cop and civilians are part ‘so-and-so’ with a dash of ‘that guy.’ The only exception was a peripheral character in Malice. One of my readers recognized him (we had both worked with him), and we got a good laugh. He’d passed away at that point.
Do you outline, or are you a pantser? I’m an inveterate outliner. I like structure, and in mysteries/thrillers, the author has to intersperse clues and red herrings in appropriate places. I don’t like to go back and do it, so I plan them out. But, as I said above, sometimes the characters have their own agendas and take over the story. Thank God for computers. I’d hate to have to do all that on a typewriter.
What is the best book you ever read? Hands down, Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove. It has everything: drama, history, humor, romance, physicality, and horses.
Looking to the future, what’s in store for you? I’ve got another book percolating while I do my edits. It will be a new set of characters that I hope readers will be equally fascinated with. For now, it’s set in Ireland. I’ve never been there, but once Covid 19 is under control, I plan on traveling there and anywhere else where I can persuade my husband to go. He’s ready, too.
Comment by Michael A. Black: Thonie Hevron’s latest novel, The Felony Murder Rule, is a real winner. The engaging characters had me rooting for Meredith and Nick all the way through this complex case that involves a crime from the past that comes to roost in the present. Ms. Hevron’s smooth and elegant writing style, combined with the intricate plot and excellent characterization, makes it a very pleasant reading experience. ~ Michael A. Black, author of Legends of the West, Dying Art and Cold Fury in the Executioner series (as Don Pendleton), and Gunslinger: Killer’s Brand (as A.W. Hart).
Where can our visitors contact you or buy your books?
With Malice Aforethought,
Intent to Hold
By Force or Fear
Felony Murder Rule
Featured book on Local Authors Distributor FB page
Facebook Thonie Hevron Author Page
Paranormal Romance: The Moonseed Trilogy
Bridge to the Past (vol. 1), Borrowed Promises (vol. 2), and Into the Mist (vol. 3) Two young women born a century apart, restless, and desperate for different lives, each escape death only to awaken in each other’s bodies. Gentle Victoria has become Katherine Kamarov, a brash young widow living in rural California circa 1890 and accused of murdering her husband. Meanwhile, the sensuous Katherine has come forward in time to assume Victoria’s identity as a beautiful and wealthy heiress in modern-day San Francisco. Expecting to be snatched back to their own times at the end of one year, each woman tries to resist investing her heart in her borrowed life but ends up falling hopelessly in love. As the story accelerates toward the magical night of the new spring moon, Victoria, and Katherine both question whether they must remain victims of fate or can find some way to keep the lives and the loves that have captured their hearts.
What inspired you to write this story? My heroine came to me when I was on holiday in beautiful California wine country, which became the setting for my story. Victoria materialized in my imagination fully formed. The first thoughts she shared with me told of her longing to escape her meaningless life and to find love and a sense of belonging. Intrigued, I began to follow her into a story that troubled me, challenged me, and ultimately gratified me as she found answers to questions and solutions to problems we both shared.
What brought you to writing? My first memorable writing project was a short story I wrote in first grade about a poodle. It was reprinted in the school newsletter—my first publishing success! Later I was fascinated by my aunt’s old Underwood typewriter. I would tap out sheets and sheets of meandering stories just so I could staple them together to make “books.” I don’t recall a definitive moment when I decided I was a writer. I just always felt like one.
Where do you write? What, if any, distractions do you allow? My favorite place to write is at my desk in my little home study, surrounded by books and pictures of the people and places I love best. I need quiet when I write, so I don’t play music or write in busy places like coffee shops. I am by nature so single-minded that I can hardly talk and drive a car at the same time. I write the same way, totally immersed in my story or essay. I prefer using a computer to writing longhand because it’s faster and easier to change or correct. Some authors complain that computers are too artificial, that one loses fluidity between the brain and the pen moving across the page, but that’s not a problem for me.
Do you have any advice for new writers? If you’re writing fiction, think about how you will eventually market your work. For example, choose a setting or a profession, or talent for your character that will generate photos you can post on social media. Also, read other authors in the genre you like. Learn what makes their books work. Take notes. Diagram story and character arcs and try to see patterns you can imitate. Don’t worry about copying style. As you write, your own voice will emerge. Trust it. Let it take you where you want to go. Finally, join a local writers group and network with others who are invested in learning the craft and helping each other succeed.
What else have you written? My first published book was inspirational nonfiction, A Devotional Walk with Forgiveness. From that platform, I launched a weekly devotional blog on forgiveness that I’ve kept going for seven years. In 2019 I indie published a collection of these devotionals in Forgiving Day by Day: Practicing God’s Ways in Our Relationships. I’ve published true stories about forgiveness in anthologies by Christian publishers and most recently in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Forgiveness Fix. I’m currently researching a historical novel set in first-century biblical times as well as attempting to write my first screenplay.
Who is your favorite author, and why? Although I admire many modern authors, two who remain at the top of my list are Dean Koontz and Daphne du Maurier. They are both brilliant storytellers and expert wordsmiths. Koontz sometimes gets too weird and dark for me, but his writing is flawless, every comma in place, every paragraph honed to a precision edge. Du Maurier is pure pleasure. I would love to trade places with her for a day and feel the magic of her genius flow through my fingers to produce a manuscript as enduring as Rebecca.
Final thoughts? I believe we read stories to discover ourselves in a character’s reflection or to learn something new and interesting about how life works. Although it’s true that we can’t travel through time to escape our troubles, we can follow a character into her story, adopting her reality and caring about how things turn out for her, and in that imaginary escape discover real relief, pleasure, and satisfaction for ourselves.
For more about me or to purchase my books, please visit my Amazon Author Page at https://amzn.to/2NIpWCN
Many thanks to my CWC friend and colleague, George Cramer, for posting my thoughts on your blog!
END OF WATCH
MURDER IN MCHENRY
FIGHTING CRIME WITH “SOME DAY” AND LENNY
Do you write in more than one genre? I’ve written nonfiction, fiction, comedy, poetry, short stories, and articles that required research.
What brought you to writing? What got me into writing was going to grad school. I did lots of research (I really enjoy doing research. I would rather turn in large term papers than take a test.) I was doing a paper on dreams related to Post Shooting Trauma and contacted Massad Ayoob for an interview. He was very kind and informative. I asked him if he would like a copy when I finished the paper. He said yes. Then he did something I never expected. He took it to the editor of POLICE MARKSMAN magazine, and they wanted to publish it. If not for Mr. Ayoob’s kindness, I probably wouldn’t have a writing career that spans almost 40 years.
Where do you write? What, if any, distractions do you allow? I have a loft in my home. I have converted it into my Man Cave. It not only has my computer but has my filing cabinets, a stereo, and my awards for both writing and police work.
Tell us about your writing process: I like to come up with an idea and write and rewrite. The difficult part is finding something that not only interests me but will be of interest to readers.
What are you currently working on? Right now, I am working on a short story for the Public Safety Writers Association writing contest.
Has an association membership helped you or your writing? Yes. The Wednesday Warrior Writers, a Las Vegas group of local writers, meet 2 Wednesdays a month. We put together two books. The one I like the best is I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE… a book of 54 short stories dealing with patriotism, heroism, and Americana. The book is published locally by Houdini Publishing. All profits from the sale of the book go to nonprofits that serve active military, veterans, and first responders. We have raised approximately one thousand dollars for the USO at Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport, two hundred for VETERAN’s VILLAGE, and a couple hundred for T.A.P.P.S. an organization of professional musicians who play trumpet and volunteer their time and talent to make sure veterans who pass away receive Taps played on a real trumpet, not a recording. For all our veterans have done for this country, they deserve a real final tribute for their service and sacrifice.
Who’s your favorite author? I would have to say my favorite author is Michael Connelly and his Harry Bosch series. My other favorite, W. E. B. Griffin, just passed away last year.
How long did it take you to write your first book? My first book (End of Watch) was written and rewritten many times and eventually self-published. My second book, FIGHTING CRIME WITH “SOME DAY” AND LENNY, was originally published by Universe.
How long to get it published? It was probably done within a year.
How do you come up with character names? Sometimes I will look in phone books. If I do that, I mix first and last names. Other times I think about names I like and create an identity that way. “Some Day,” my character in the comedy book, was a spoof on Dragnet’s Joe Friday.
We hear of strong-willed characters. Do yours behave, or do they run the show? I think most of my characters are individuals. Even those in my many short stories work together with their partners.
What’s the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex? Keeping the storyline clean. Would I let my wife read this?
Do your protagonists ever disappoint you? I don’t think so. They may stumble along the way, but they learn a life lesson by the end of the story.
Do you ever kill a popular character? If so, what happens to your story? I wrote a fiction short story, and I killed off a character, a K9. I figured if Disney could kill Ole Yeller, I could kill my character. I took for granted that people would realize it was fiction. The story was published in the FOP Journal. I received a call from the office staff; a K9 officer wanted to speak to me. I called the officer, and she told me she wanted to meet the handler in the story. I told her it was impossible since the story was fiction. She yelled, “You bastard!” you had me and my entire family crying, and it was make believe!
Do you base any of your characters on real people? Yes, but with a lot of literary license.
Do you outline, or are you a pantser? Probably a bit of both. I like doing research, but with short stories, I like to sit in front of the computer and let the story flow.
What kind of research do you do? I like doing interviews. Getting the story from the protagonist and letting him check my material to see if it correct.
Where do you place your settings—real or fictional locations? I use fictional locations. I try to keep it beautiful but general, so people think they know what location I am writing about.
What is the best book you ever read? I would have to say almost all the works of W. E. B. Griffin. He combined history and characters into a story that worked so well you didn’t want to put any of his books down.
Looking to the future, what’s in store for you? I have been thinking about a story for years. I just didn’t know if I wanted a fictional story about a location that I know from experience or to make it completely fictional. Also, do I really want to get involved in a long writing process or stay with short stories?
Do you have any advice for new writers? Don’t be overcome by rejection. Use rejection as a learning tool. Find a writers group or gentle critique group. Also, learn to love writing and storytelling but don’t expect to become rich. If you do, then you will be disappointed.
How do our readers contact you? firstname.lastname@example.org