Q&A: Virginia Smith (Prime Suspect)
Virginia Smith answers six questions about her book, Prime Suspect (Love Inspired): Darcie needs help proving her innocence after a body is found and Caleb is just the guy for the job.
Q: What inspired the plot in your latest Romance, Prime Suspect?
One technique writers use to come up with ideas is to think about a character's greatest strengths, and then put them in a situation where that strength is challenged. The main character in Prime Suspect, Caleb, appeared in two previous books, Dangerous Impostor and Bullseye. Caleb is known for being a tough guy with a soft heart and a strong faith. So I had to come up with a story that challenged his faith. To do that, I asked myself, "What is the biggest challenge to my faith?"
Q: What do you think readers will find interesting about this story?
I hope readers will enjoy the evolving relationship between Caleb and Darcie, and that they'll be drawn into the mystery that brings those two together. I did a lot of research on emeralds and on 'designer' dogs, and both of those elements were fascinating to me.
Q: Who is your favorite character in this book?
You want me to choose just one? I guess it would have to be Caleb. He has such a heart for God, and he wants so desperately to help Darcie even though she unearths a ton of uncomfortable feelings from his past disastrous relationship. I absolutely loved pairing this muscular, tattoo-covered man with a tiny, fluffy white dog.
Q: How does your faith influence your writing?
Since my faith is an integral part of who I am, it plays a part in every book I write. Writing a story is an act of faith in itself, because I am convinced that I don't have a single interesting idea in my head on my own. So I think every idea I have comes from God. And so many times the stories I write deal with issues I'm experiencing personally. The questions Caleb asks concerning whether he is hearing God's voice or his own come straight from my own experience.
Q: Why did you feel you had to tell this story?
Caleb was such a lovable character in the first two books in the Falsely Accused series I knew his story would have to be something special. I've received so many emails and letters from readers telling me they were eager for Caleb's story that I had a hard time coming up with something good enough for him. But I couldn't disappoint all those people who wanted to see if he found his own happy ending, could I? In the end, Caleb and Darcie became so vivid and realistic in my mind that their story pretty much unfolded on its own.
Q: Where do you get your best ideas?
Different places, really. Some come from newspaper headlines. Some come from issues I'm struggling with personally at the time. Some from people I've met, or would like to meet. Or even offhand comments by friends. Often my stories are a combination of all of the above. In the case of Prime Suspect, the story developed from Caleb's character combined with my personal questions about hearing God's voice, and a comment by a friend about manmade emeralds. A writer's brain is like a blender - throw all those things into the mix and see what pours out!