Friday, June 16, 2017

SPOTLIGHT w/INTERVIEW - Dawn Girl (Tess Winnett Series, #1) by Leslie Wolfe

Dawn Girl
Tess Winnett Series, #1
by Leslie Wolfe
Date of Publication: August 30th 2016
Publisher: Italics Publishing
Cover Artist: Sam Roman
Genre: Crime Thriller / Police Procedural
Tagline: Pristine, golden beaches and a dead body

Her blue eyes wide open, glossed over. A few specks of sand clung to her long, dark lashes. Her beautiful face, immobile, covered in sparkling flecks of sand. Her lips slightly parted as if to let a last breath escape.

Who is the beautiful girl found at dawn, on a deserted stretch of golden sand beach? What is her secret?

FBI Special Agent Tess Winnett searches for answers relentlessly. With each step, each new finding, she uncovers unsettling facts leading to a single possible conclusion: Dawn Girl is not the only victim. Her killer has killed before.

Hiding a terrible secret of her own, Special Agent Tess Winnett faces her inmost fears, in a heart-stopping race to catch a killer who’s getting ready to end yet another life. Will she find the killer in time? Will she be able to stop him? At what cost?

The rules of the game have changed.

So has the textbook definition of a serial killer.

Special Agent Tess Winnett is the bold, direct, and short-fused heroine of Dawn Girl. Putting her life on the line, she doesn’t pull any punches, searching only for the truth, and for the man who takes lives on her watch. Intelligent, resourceful, and uncompromising, Tess will take readers on a memorable, white-knuckled journey in this suspenseful, gripping serial killer thriller.
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She made an effort to open her eyes, compelling her heavy eyelids to obey. She swallowed hard, her throat raw and dry, as she urged the wave of nausea to subside. Dizzy and confused, she struggled to gain awareness. Where was she? She felt numb and shaky, unable to move, as if awakening from a deep sleep or a coma. She tried to move her arms, but couldn’t. Something kept her immobilized, but didn’t hurt her. Or maybe she couldn’t feel the pain, not anymore.
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Author Info
Bestselling author Leslie Wolfe is passionate about writing fiction, despite spending a significant number of years climbing the corporate ladder. Leaving the coveted world of boardrooms for the blissful peace of the Florida-based "Wolves’ den," Leslie answers one true calling: writing.

Leslie’s novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. Fascinated by technology and psychology, Leslie brings extensive background and research in these fields that empower and add texture to a signature, multi-dimensional, engaging writing style.

Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl (2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.

A complete list of Leslie’s titles is available at

How would you describe you style of writing to someone that has never read your work?
I write in an engaging, fast style, often compared with watching a movie. I write my books scene by scene, rather than chapter by chapter, and I like to keep the pages turning and my readers up late at night.

What mindset or routine do you feel the need to set when preparing to write (in general whether you are working on a project or just free writing)?
When I’m working on a project, I work in a very structured manner. I confess I’m an outline person. Everything I write is very well thought through, researched, and prepared before I even write the first word. You know what they say about how to eat an elephant, right? Piece by piece. So, no matter how challenging the project, all it takes is to cut it in bite-size pieces and develop each one of them just as carefully and with just as much dedication as if it were all the first page of the manuscript.
Sometimes I do free write, especially when I write short stories for my fan group and my newsletter. I like to start those by getting inspired from an image. I open Google Images or Flickr and I just randomly look at images until one inspires me. It normally doesn’t take me more than 15 minutes to find one image that speaks to me. The phrase that describes that image in my mind, will be the first phrase in my short story. From there on, I free write.

Do you take your character prep to heart? Do you nurture the growth of each character all the way through to the page? Do you people watch to help with development? Or do you build upon your character during story creation?
I am personally invested in every character I write. If the character doesn’t deserve my attention, it doesn’t deserve any of your time. My lead characters are complex, and I spend a lot of time mapping their growth from both a personal and emotional perspective, as well as in relationship with the other characters in my story. I do have favorites though, and I’ve also created some pretty nasty villains, but, believe it or not, I even love my villains.

Have you found yourself bonding with any particular character? If so which one(s)?
There is one specific character that I wrote, then I was surprised to find myself bonded to him. That is Cat, in the Tess Winnett series. He makes his first appearance in Dawn Girl. He’s the friend I wish I had, and I wish I knew the address to the bar he runs. I wrote about his hamburgers, and I found myself craving them.  I wrote about his friendship with Tess Winnett, and found myself longing for that kind of friendship.  Just when I thought I had lost it, mixing fiction with reality like that, a few reviewers started asking me if Cat was based on a real character, and where could they find him. Then I said to myself, he must be too good to be true.  However, people like Cat do exist in the real world.  The luckiest of us will be granted the gift of meeting them.

Do you have a character that you have been working on that you can't wait to put to paper?
I’m currently working on a psychological drama centered on the struggles of a Gulf War veteran. A bit of new, exciting territory for me, I’m enjoying every minute of the adventure! The lead character is complex, troubled, and torn by a personal drama spanning over 20 years.  There’s no writers block when working on this project.  He’s become so real to me, that if someone would ask me if I knew him, I would probably say yes, before I could remember he’s a figment of my imagination.

Have you ever felt that there was something inside of you that you couldn't control? If so what? If no what spurs you to reach for the unexperienced?
I believe I’m in control of myself, thank you very much J Now, all jokes aside, the stories that I must tell, the urge of telling them is something that is difficult for me to control. Work-life balance is going out the window, family time has to be scheduled in advance, and the house better be on fire if you disrupt my writing session mid-chapter.  I guess that describes a passion for writing more than anything else, because I don’t remember feeling like that when I used to study for college, or worked at any of my former jobs.
Furthermore, talking about uncontrollable urges, the safest way to deliver a book to the market these days is to follow a genre clich√©, a stereotype, but I can’t push myself to do that. I never could.  Even if I cross genre boundaries, if a story needs to be told, then a story needs to be told, regardless of genre.

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