Friday, May 25, 2012

Guest Post author Colleen Cross

Colleen Cross lives and writes in New Westminster, BC.  She is currently at work on book two in the Katerina Carter suspense series, Game Theory. Visit her blog at or follow her on and twitter: @colleenxcross. 

Find her books on Amazon and other online retailers:

How/why did you start to write?
How did you become an author?

I have an overactive imagination and constantly have stories percolating in my head. I started writing them down a few years ago.  Many revisions, workshops and critiques  later, my book was born!

What was your first published piece?
Exit Strategy is my first book and my first published work. It’s also the first in the Katerina Carter suspense series, set in Greater Vancouver and Argentina.
Katerina Carter is a flat broke forensic accountant and fraud investigator. She’s down to her last few pennies when she’s hired to investigate a multi-billion dollar fraud at Liberty Diamond Mines. Then two insiders are murdered, and she could be next – unless she solves the crime. Exit Strategy is all about blood diamonds, organized crime, and murder.
Who is your favourite character?
Kat is definitely my favourite. She’s smart, not always street legal, but she follows her heart and does what’s ethically and morally right. She’s also a bit of an underdog. A surprising other favourite to me is Clara, even if she isn’t a nice person. At first, I saw her only as a spoiled cartel boss’s daughter, but in a way she’s similar to Kat. She isn’t taken seriously. She does some terrible things, but it’s understandable due to her upbringing. I can’t tell you any more because it would be a spoiler, but there is a plot twist!
Where can we find your book?

Exit Strategy is available at Amazon, Kobo, Sony and other retailers in ebook ($5.99) and paperback ($12.99).  You can link to any of these on my website at

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

Like Kat Carter, I work in finance as an accountant. I’ve witnessed fraud first hand, and it’s a never-ending source of ideas for my books.  Fraud is everywhere, whether it’s a multi-billion dollar heist like the one in Exit Strategy, or smaller, everyday ones like auto insurance fraud. It impacts each of us financially, though we may not be aware of it.  Fraud is conservatively estimated to cost our economy about 5% of our national GDP. That’s huge. Think of the good we could do with that money.

Human nature also fascinates me. Greed is only one motivator for fraud. Fraudsters are often looking to satisfy for some unmet psychological need, such as admiration or respect.  Fortunately, forensic accountants have an arsenal of tools to catch these criminals.  Just like any other crime scene, there are clues obvious only to a trained eye.  Last but not least, fraud is one of the most common motives for murder.

What inspires you?

Everything, everyday.  I have no shortage of ideas. The trick is forming them into an interesting, well-plotted story.  I always start with the question “what if?”  There’s nothing better than making up stories in your head!

Please share one of your successful marketing techniques

Books might be an inexpensive form of entertainment, but I know readers are investing valuable time in reading my story.  I want to make their time worthwhile, and write the best book I possibly can. My goal is to entertain and temporarily transport them into another world.  If I succeed, it will generate positive reader reviews and word of mouth referrals. These are by far the most effective marketing a writer can have.

Aside from writing the best book possible, a social media presence is helpful. I am on Goodreads, Twitter (@colleenxcross), and Facebook.  I love getting feedback and interacting with readers—what readers think is very important to me.

What, in your opinion are the essential qualities of a good story?

Interesting characters in imminent danger, good conflict, pace and overall, an intriguing and fresh story. For me, a good story will entertain me and teach me something new at the same time.
Have you written any other books?

I am currently writing book two in the Katerina Carter series, called Game Theory.
Where can people learn more?

On my website:, I blog about fraud, books and other things. You can also find out more about my upcoming books. 
Parting words

Thanks for hosting me, Leanne!

You're most welcome, Colleen. And I hope that you can re-visit this blog when Game Theory is released.

Exit Strategy

Should justice be pursued at all costs? 
That’s what Katerina Carter thinks when she’s hired to recover Liberty Diamond Mines missing billions and the CFO who stole it.  Trouble is, CEO Susan Sullivan expects her to find the money and the CFO, without reporting the crime.   
Kat’s fraud investigation uncovers much more than missing money: a massive blood diamond laundering scheme is underway at Liberty’s Mystic Lake Mine.  Then two key Liberty insiders are murdered and it appears Kat is next in line. Unless she steers the investigation in another direction.  One that allows the real criminals to walk free.
Just when Kat makes the connection to organized crime she is framed for the murders, and must find the killer to clear her name and get the money back.  Her career and Liberty’s survival depend on it.  So does her life.