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Dec 4, 2016

SPOTLIGHT: ‘Initiated to Kill’ by Sharlene Almond - Psychological Thriller

“SPOTLIGHT is a regular feature at my blog, started with a view to promote new and upcoming authors and help them to reach their target audience. And yes, it is FREE, however to be featured in this section, you need to go through a selection process, please click here for details.”

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“Nestled inside the box resting on bunched up cloth - was a smooth glistening heart.” - Sharlene Almond, Author of “Initiated to Kill

Initiated to Kill’ by my friend from New Zealand, Sharlene Almond, is a psychological thriller that is partly based on a true story; combined with conspiracy and a deaf art student. It is a story about a deaf art student’s past, which unveils a 19th century conspiracy about the identity of Jack the Ripper. As you continue reading, you will be unraveling the psyche of two serial killers - one in 19th century London, and the other present-day Spain. And you keep figuring out, as you go forward in the page-turner, what was their driving force? 


It was interesting to interact with an author, who has been facing challenges from the childhood about a life long muscular disorder that kept her in and out of hospitals. Yet through her sheer perseverance, she was able to get out of the wheel chair. And while she was fighting it all out, she wrote books, Kick box-ed and got a range of diploma’s in diverse fields like Criminology, Cognitive Behaviors, Dog Psychology. And now she’s currently studying Naturopathic Nutrition.

As I interacted with her for this Spotlight, she told me that her novels are not designed to convince readers that the conspiracy theories, that she writes about, are right; instead, her novel’s purpose is to challenge the reader to think beyond the scope they usually think. She adds further, just imagine the infinite possibilities that if history is really written by the Victorious, then what else could be missing..? Could the rich, powerful and influential people really be able to control what we think we know...?

As an author of historical/21st century psychological, international thrillers, my books challenge readers to think beyond what they believe, as well as taking the reader on a journey throughout Europe and abroad.” - Sharlene

One of the motivation for her to write, the kind of book she writes, is a sense of History, to connect and understand the past. She also finds aesthetic sense is a great essence of a good work of fiction.

I, of course, want to make sure my story sounds good and realistic so readers are more inclined to read it. Although I consider writing part hobby, it’s always enjoyable to write a story that fits together, and makes a good read. And if readers enjoy the novel, that’s an extra bonus.” - Sharlene

Initiated to Kill’ differs from other books because it is part historical, part present day. The continuous flashbacks, and the array of well-researched history, hopefully sets the novel apart.

Annabella Cordova, the main character in her novel is deaf. Because of this, body language and facial expressions are a crucial part of communication. She is a natural ‘lie detector’, so there’s a lot of body language interpretations in the novel.

It is set in Seville, Spain, with the interesting and rather dark history of the location, which fits perfectly with the plot.

Most people that like thrillers are intrigued by Jack the Ripper, and who he really was. In her novel, she explores Patricia Cornwall’s theory that the artist was Jack the Ripper. She not only included his crimes in the novel, but also explored his earlier life, and how he could have become one of the most infamous killers in history.

Additionally, her books allow the reader to learn more about the workings of criminals. That serial killers can appear quite ordinary, literally be walking among us, yet no one really knowing who they actually are. Test what we think we know about people, history and life in general. Are we really free to think for ourselves, act for ourselves?

What do you think?


BRIEF NOTE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharlene Almond is an author and student living in Auckland, New Zealand. She has studied in a wide range of subjects; however, chose to concentrate on courses designed to learn more about the human psyche.

Having studied in Criminology and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP); in addition to completing a diploma course in body language, enables her to give an authentic feel to her characters, and the crimes committed. Because she has always been fascinated with human psychology, especially criminal psychology, she always includes that element in every book she writes.

She is also a student studying Naturopathy Nutrition, and Body Language. Although she loves writing, she is hoping to eventually start up her own business as a Complementary Health Therapist from home.

She has recently published a New Zealand travel E-book – 'Journey in Little Paradise', to inform travellers of what to expect when they come to New Zealand.

Initiated to Kill” took her about eight months to research, write and complete the two edits. However, throughout the years, she has done more edits. On average, it usually takes her about eight months or so to write a novel, depending on how much history there is.

HER INSPIRATIONS
I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head, in which I put in a notebook for future novels. Writing enables me to create another world, and get immersed in that world.

It also enables me to learn about a large range of subjects, locations, facts and people that I otherwise might not have researched about if I wasn’t writing about it.

I feel that everyone has natural skills and abilities, it’s just finding those natural skills. Writing seems to come naturally to me. It isn’t a chore, thoughts flow out through my fingers onto the computer. So, because I enjoy writing, that is my main inspiration to write.

HER CHALLENGES
The biggest challenge in writing for me is actually the editing part. The first draft tends to flow out quite easily. However, when I start editing the novel, that’s when major changes take place. And I like to make sure that not only is the punctuation, spelling etc. are taken care of, also ensuring everything else is coherent.

During the second and third drafts, I rewrite a lot to make sure there’s not too much detail, but enough detail to make sure a clear image is created. That the characters and their traits are consistent, believable and relatable. That’s when I believe the true ‘magic’ happens. The re-writing process brings the story alive.

QUOTES FROM THE BOOK

Each quote gives the reader a clear idea of what to expect from the novel – the significance of the poker and the heart, how the Four Seasons painting connects with the story, and the last quote takes the reader back to 19th century London.


All quotes allowing a glimpse into the sinister plot of Initiated to Kill.




THE STORY
Two men from two different generations, both initiated into a powerful organization that throughout history has sought control and uses their power for destruction. They leave behind a wake of murder, manipulation and ancient secrets. The first man wreaks havoc in and around the Whitechapel district of London, England in the 19th century. While the other stalks his victims in the cosmopolitan city of Seville, Spain in the 21st century; knowing that only he could uncover the true motives of one of the world's most infamous serial killers—Jack the Ripper.

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Sharlene says that there is no favorite spot of writing for her but prefer to write at home with silence as her company, in order for her to get fully immersed into the fictional world she writes about. When I asked her, if should would stop writing for some reason or the other, she says that she wouldn’t stop writing. Even if some one close to her asked to stop writing she would not as anyone that truly cared for her would know how much she enjoys writing. It is an artistic release of so many of the ideas and thoughts that keep cropping up in her head.

If I didn’t have that release to write, I would probably go crazy.” - Sharlene

However, she has a Plan B, in case she don’t get much income from writing, which I believe is usually the case with so many writers nowadays. In such scenario, she assures me that she is a trained Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and Beauty therapist as well as currently studying Naturopathic Nutrition. Later one she wants to start up her own business from home as a Complementary Health Therapist, so that in her spare time, she can still write.


SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT SHARLENE
Sharlene's favorite
I’ve got diplomas in a range of topics, including: Beauty Therapy, Pet care, Animal behavior, dog psychology, animal photography, editing and proofreading, Freelance journalism, Criminology, Cognitive Behavioural therapy, body language; and currently studying Naturopathic Nutrition.

Since the age of nine, I have been in and out of hospital because of a muscular condition that I will have for the rest of my life.

Besides from being a writer, the other three professions I had an interest in were nursing, vet nurse and criminal psychologist.

HER FAVORITES

GENRE:
Psychological thrillers
Delving into the mind of the worst of the worst, while revealing the deep wounds of the main characters. They keep me guessing until the very end, and they don’t necessarily tie everything up in a neat package.

Personally, a good psychological thriller is a story of the true workings of any human. Things don’t always work out, you don’t always get what you want, bad stuff happens; however, despite all that, a certain progression of strength in the characters occurs as the story continues.

It’s not about characters that are beautiful, smart, rich or intelligent. Instead, it’s about characters that are deeply, flawed. Because of that, those characters are easier to connect with.

BOOKS:

The Shakespeare Secret by J.L.Carrell is a great take on a psychological thriller, combined with the historical aspect, similar to my own.

Absolute Fear by Lisa Jackson is another psychological thriller whose characters care carefully developed and progressed throughout the book

TO BUY HER BOOK ‘INITIATED TO KIL’ AT AMAZON CLICK HERE
Sharlene has also written a New Zealand travel E-book called ‘Journey in Little Paradise'. Click here to buy.

– Written by Shashi 
CEO & Partner ICUBE Projects
Speaker | Author of “Songs of the Mist” | Haiku Poet
Writes India’s #1 Spiritual Blog “Shadow Dancing With Mind


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ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya


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