author Carmen Amato is here today. We’re
talking about her new police procedural mystery, King Peso. It’s Book 4 in her Detective Emilia Cruz series.
virtual book tour, Carmen will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s
choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance
to win, use the form below. To
increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit
her other tour stops and enter there, too.
the author of romantic thrillers and the Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series
set in Acapulco which was recently optioned for film. Originally from New York,
her experiences in Mexico and Central America inspire many of her books. For a
copy of the Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library, visit her website.
Welcome, Carmen. Please share a little
bit about your current release.
Peso is the 4th novel in the Detective Emilia Cruz series.
Emilia is the first female police detective in Acapulco. Acapulco is known as
one of the most beautiful bays in the world, with great beaches and nightlife,
but it’s also ground zero for Mexico’s drug war.
There are several continuing subplots in
the series, including Emilia’s hunt for missing women, and corruption within
Acapulco’s police department and city government. Emilia also has a new boss in
Kurt Rucker. He’s a wealthy gringo
and she has problems dealing with that.
Peso, I wanted to throw a grenade into Emilia’s already fractious
partnership with senior detective Franco Silvio and revisit the
money-laundering El Pharaoh casino. In Hat
Dance, the 2nd novel in the series, Silvio and Emilia try to
close down the El Pharaoh, but can’t make the charges stick.
new elements into a margarita mixer, hit Blend, and the result is very tasty!
write this book?
I’m originally from New York and now call Virginia home, I lived in Mexico for
several years. I really loved Mexico’s food, the artwork, and architecture. And
drug addict disrupted our Christmas Eve church service, I saw the impact of
drug cartel violence. I wanted to write about what was happening to Mexico’s
society and culture, but make it gripping enough to stand out.
series is based on reality. Emilia’s challenges are pulled right from the
headlines in Mexico. There’s no need for me to make up bizarre serial killers
when cartel violence and corrupt politicians provide more than enough
inspiration. For example, Emilia’s perpetual hunt for women who have gone
missing—referred to as Las Perdidas or the Lost Ones–was inspired by the
hundreds of women missing from the Juarez area.
odd way, I have that drug addict to thank for the Detective Emilia Cruz mystery
series, including Cliff Diver, Hat Dance, Diablo Nights, and the latest, King
Peso. Emilia might be the first female police detective in Acapulco, facing
down both the drug cartels and Mexico’s tradition of machismo, but she’s doing it in one of the most beautiful places on
including a television series deal.
from King Peso:
in his hands.
on his face Emilia had never seen before.
confidence came rushing back, reanimating his handsome features like water
filling a glass. “Did I wake you up?” he asked.
just seen. “Trouble sleeping?”
artlessness that Emilia had seen too many times across an interrogation table.
“I didn’t eat much with all those people here.”
in the dark?
the phone. It stopped ringing. Emilia checked the call log.
“No doubt he’s drunk and wants to gloat, the pendejo.”
on telling Kurt about her little flutter on the Copa America match. “I put down
200 pesos. It was the smallest bet he would take.”
Silvio and then-partner Manuel Garcia Diaz had been involved in a shootout
during a drug bust. Garcia was killed. Initially accused of setting up his
partner, Silvio was suspended without pay during the investigation. To make
ends meet, he became a bookie, running bets on boxing and fútbol, and
kept the sideline going even when reinstated.
aiding and abetting.”
Emilia said dryly. Everybody bet with Silvio. She tossed the phone back on the
bedside table. “Do you still want that snack?”
us something.” He disappeared down the hall.
washed her face. Kurt was the one whose life was an open book, the one who
shared from the heart and pushed for commitment. She was the one who kept
secrets and stalled when things got too serious.
Something was wrong and Emilia didn’t know what it was.
lights as she returned to the living room. The dining room chandelier came to
life and illuminated the doorway to the kitchen. The lights were already on in
there, bouncing off the stainless steel appliances and glossy Italian
topping chupata rolls with thin slices of jamón Serrano, tomato,
and avocado. “One sandwich or two?” he asked as Emilia sat down.
and slid one of the glasses next to her hand. “Here you go.”
“Second party of the day.”
me, I’m going to slay him.”
at Silvio and worry that her relationship with Kurt was washing away like sand
in a storm. The phone’s ring was insistent. As Emilia hit the button to talk
she saw that the caller wasn’t Silvio, but the central police dispatch desk.
invasion.” The male voice on the other end of the line sounded tired.
annoyance. “Get it out to the night duty unit for that neighborhood.”
her stomach tightened into a fist. “Okay,” she said. “Give me everything you’ve
One victim. Female, 42 years old. Multiple gunshots to the upper chest. Claims
she’s been dead less than four hours.”
This sounded like the shooter calling to taunt the police. And he’d named her.
Emilia felt sweat bead up on her forehead. “Location?”
violence. It was a combat zone full of street kids where gangs ruled at night
and only one cop dared to walk.
pressed to her ear. “Did the caller identify himself?”
sergeant on the other end was getting testy with all her questions. “Said to
call you and have you come. That neighborhood, we figured it was some sort of
hoax. The captain here thought you should be aware. You got any enemies in that
it in the morning, if you think it’s important.”
of computer keys traveled through the line. Blood pounded in her ears and every
nerve stretched to the breaking point.
What exciting story
are you working on next?
book is Awakening Macbeth,
a romantic thriller with a paranormal twist that is up for nomination on the Kindle Scout website,
where readers help select books for publication by Kindle Press. Hopefully,
that will be publishing before Christmas 2016.
I’ll be back to Detective
Emilia Cruz with Pacific Reaper,
the 5th book in the series, which is slated for release in February
swift writer, but usually manage to post every week on my blog. But the real
juicy stuff, including anything about my contract for an Emilia Cruz television
series, goes in my monthly Mystery
consider yourself a writer?
considered myself a writer when a close friend and I were having dinner at an
Italian restaurant. I was getting close to publishing my first book, the
romantic thriller The Hidden Light of
Mexico City, and had several cover designs on my laptop. Before we ordered,
we looked through the designs and discussed them. The waiter came over and
looked at the designs, too, and suddenly someone I didn’t know believed that I
could be the author of a book!
the waiter figured a good tip could be had, but the moment was a real turning
point for me.
recent turning point was signing a contract with a major television network for
a show based on the Detective Emilia Cruz series. I don’t know what will happen
next but it has been an exciting journey so far!
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I’m a full time mystery and thriller author and can’t believe how busy I am. In
addition to the Detective Emilia Cruz series, I write standalone romantic
starts with a walk with the dog and a few household chores, then I will work on
my current book for 3-4 hours. If I don’t have a list or an outline in front of
me, I tend to waste time so every few days I take a break to organize. That’s
when I catch up on social media, work on outlines, and clean my desk which
often is littered with notes and things I print out to read later.
buddy has been essential. A good friend also has multiple projects going and we
connect at least once a week. More than anything else, this accountability helps
both of us to stay motivated and on track.
more if I could but have to get away from the screen now and then! Family, dog,
travel, and friends, not to mention our fixer upper house, keep my life
your interesting writing quirk?
one for outlines. Before I start a new project, I outline it on a wall using
sticky notes. It takes a day or so as I rearrange stickies until I like the
flow and feel the story come together. Then I transfer the stickies to a big
sheet of poster paper and tape it to the wall above my desk.
knee-deep into the writing, the outline invariably gets stale and I’ll do it
all over again. Usually my the end of the book, I’m working from a fresh
outline of the last third of the book. The stickies are stuck to a file folder
that I can carry around. This is handy because I often write scenes longhand
and type, editing as I go, later.
you want to be when you grew up?
you want to share with the readers?
invited to download a free copy of the Detective Emilia Cruz Starter
Library. The Starter Library features “The Beast,” the story about how
Emilia became the first female detective in Acapulco, which was first published
in The Huffington Post. You’ll also get “The Angler,” the story based on a real
life murder mystery, plus the first chapters of the first three Emilia Cruz
novels. As a bonus, you’ll get my monthly newsletter, Mystery Ahead.
Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
for having me and helping me introduce Emilia Cruz and her circle of friends
and foes to your readers. Happy reading! All the best, Carmen.