Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Author Interview ~ R.J. Grand

Mystery Writers Unite has done it again! That’s right…another FANTASTIC author interview to support the work of R.J. Grand, author of THE PAINTING OF DECEIT and ON THE INSIDE, books one and two of the Fortier Series (see below).
Author, R.J. Grand has a background in real estate, has met people of many personalities and traveled across the United States. The Fortier Series is a result of being intrigued by observing behavior and psychology combined with a passion for writing.
"R.J. Grand wrote an astonishing report on TV Producer, Barbara Gordon's, I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can, with psychological diagnoses outstandingly perceptive and insightful." Dr. Tom Hicks, Professor of Psychology, Sacred Heart University
--- Interview
First, thanks for agreeing to let Mystery Writers Unite interview you! I’m always thrilled when an author will take some time to share with the rest of us. Now, on to the fun stuff. I hope you don’t mind that I’m going in a bit of a different direction with some of my questions for this interview…trying to “shake it up a bit for the readers”.
MWU: If you were a character in one of your books, what type of character would you be and why?
R.J. Grand: I would be a multi-faceted character, because it tends to put readers on their toes and I like to intrigue them.
MWU: If Ellie Fortier could step out of the pages of THE PAINTING OF DECEIT; what: a) would she be thankful for in terms of what you’ve done her character? b)  is the one thing she wishes you wouldn’t have done with her character? and c) is something she would still like you to do with her character?
R.J. Grand: If Ellie was real: a) Ellie would be relieved to be able to eat a lot, whether it was a gourmet meal or junk food baked from scratch, but would hide her feelings about it. b) She would beg me not to expose her flaws to readers, and c) She would insist I write her character to portray her as a perfect person, who everyone wants to be like.
MWU: When you started writing THE PAINTING OF DECEIT did you know that it would become part of a series or did the need to create a series come to light as the story you were writing started to unfold?
R.J. Grand: I did not know The Painting of Deceit would become a five book series when I started writing it. Being close with my brother Mike, we converse frequently. After discussing the creation of The Painting of Deceit with him on numerous occasions, Mike said, “You have to write a trilogy because of the magnitude of your imagination.” So, I have to give credit to Mike for that. It was then, that I mapped out the five book Fortier Series.
MWU: Who is your favorite character in THE PAINTING OF DECEIT and why?
R.J. Grand: I don’t have one favorite character, but enjoy many of the different characters because of the various roles they play and what they bring to the series. However, I will name two and hint at what they bring. Great Aunt Ida because she plays a huge part giving two dolls with a hidden meaning to her newborn niece and Auntie Weeze because she resists having to figure out their secret message.
MWU: If you had less than a minute to tell a perspective reader what they could expect from THE PAINTING OF DECEIT (you are at a trade show and someone has stopped by your booth) what would you tell them? Go….
R.J. Grand: Ellie, the good example-setting sister to creatively mischievous Jeff Fortier helps to raise him. He is so creatively mischievous that when he is an adult, he gets arrested. Ellie goes to repeatedly visit him in jail and is not granted access. Upon being continuously denied, she becomes psychotically undone in the police department lobby. This gets the attention of Detective Wolfgang Haus, who becomes intrigued because of it and decides to investigate her. Ellie’s brother is the only one who truly knows who she really is.
MWU: If Ellie Fortier from THE PAINTING OF DECEIT was stranded on a desert island and wasn’t going to be rescued for at least one year, what would she need to have with her to make sure she remains sane?
R.J. Grand: If stranded, Ellie would need a psychiatrist, continuous medication and therapy.
MWU: How do you develop and differentiate your characters and how do you “stay in character” when you’re writing? Has this process changed over time from writing one book to the next?
R.J. Grand: I create characters around the plot. They are differentiated by the positions I need them to take to show the plot developing and unfolding. I have studied behavior intently to get inside people’s minds. Feeling emotionally what they have experienced, seeing what they are viewing and drawing upon their mindset, absorbs me into the character’s mind. For example, when writing the scene where a loved one dies and what the viewing character experiences, you would have seen tears in my eyes, if you were watching me write. The process has stayed the same from writing the first book to the next.
MWU: How does the main character of THE PAINTING OF DECEIT differ from the main character of ON THE INSIDE?
R.J. Grand: The main character in The Painting of Deceit is creatively mischievous and the main character in On The Inside is naïve and gullible.
MWU: Who do you see as your “ideal” reader?
R.J. Grand: Women and men who enjoy mystery/thrillers.
MWU: What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
R.J. Grand: The best advice was to write The Painting of Deceit into The Fortier Series.
MWU: Is there anything you would like to say to new writers, new readers or current fans of your work?
R.J. Grand: “It thrills me to thrill you!”
Additionally Becky, I’d like to thank you for approaching me to give an interview. I certainly enjoy talking about my work, and I wish you the best with your first novel.
The synopsis for THE PAINTING OF DECEIT (Book One – Fortier Series):
In this psychological thriller, events that have spanned the course of eighteen years in a sleepy, Connecticut neighborhood slowly unfold, revealed by residents, from a ten year old ballet dancer who can't stop tapping her feet, to a sweet widow whose love for bird watching is only matched by her love for playing scrabble with the neighborhood boys. It moves back and forth in time with Ellie Fortier as she is interviewed by Officer Pat Russell about her brother Jeffrey and the rest of her family. What happens behind the closed doors of a wealthy family, doesn't stay behind those doors. This story exposes the vulnerabilities of everyone's lives, the broken and the whole. Detective Wolfgang Haus will recognize the psychological truth that childhood shapes us all long before he discovers who did it.
The synopsis for ON THE INSIDE (Book Two – Fortier Series):
The second book, On The Inside,  tells of the abuse Izzy Fortier suffers as her mother's drinking problem gets out of control. When Izzy returns home from a party she finds the mouth piece removed from the wall phone. She asks her mother where it is. Her mother calmly tells her she doesn't know, which Izzy knows is a lie. Her older sister Ellie Fortier consoles her when not being able to handle her mother Alisha's strange behavior.

Izzy seeks solice and spends more time with her outspoken, friend Libby, telling her of her mother's bizarre behavior and how she's glad her older sister is good to her. Libby becomes suspicious and takes it upon herself to call Jeffrey Fortier, the so-called creatively mischievous brother knowing she could lose Izzy's friendship forever.

Meanwhile, Izzy asks her Auntie Weeze about the "special meaning" dolls her now deceased, intuitive Great Aunt Ida gave her when she was born. As the words hit Weeze's ears, she loses control of her car in the second book of the series, On The Inside.

For more information, you can visit the official R.J. Grand Fortier Series Home Page at  

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