How do you stop a personal trainer, who fantasizes about killing his clients, then carries out his gruesome desire on someone else? Making matters worse, how do you stop desires for your own trainer, jeopardizing your marriage, more troubling, do you want to? That’s what Detective Tara Tanner must solve in this crime thriller.
La Flore is renowned for its elite personal trainers. This model city however, faces a crisis. Someone is on a killing binge. The killer is vicious and cunning. He harbors a profound irony for one of the nation’s fittest cities, and the way he selects his victims makes him untraceable, but this predator has a weakness.
Tara Tanner is a wife, mother, and a crack detective whose record is blemished by a tragic case that leaves her feeling she has lost her edge.
Tara has other demons. She dreads becoming like her mother, a temptress and philanderer, made worse by her uncontrollable attraction for her own trainer.
Fit to Kill is a non-stop thriller of fantasy, temptation and redemption, a deadly game of chase, in which the line is marred between predator and prey, a game that reveals how far one will go to kill, and how far the other will go, to survive.
Tell us about your current release.
Fit to Kill is a novel I started in 2009. It took about a year to write, with three months of that time used just to write the storyline. It has three main characters, the city of
, the killer, who I can’t reveal and Detective Tara Tanner. La Flore faces its first serial killer in a deadly irony since being voted one of the nation’s fittest cities, it highest accolade has turned against it. I chose to make La Flore a main character because I’m an avid watcher of City Confidential. It’s intriguing to me how the series gets viewers up close and personal with communities, their residences and their reactions to the forces of the story. I wanted to do the same with La Flore. The killer provides the irony because when he’s not murdering La Florians; he’s motivating them in heart pounding workouts in his private training studio. Detective Tanner is the heroine who must solve this baffling case while grappling with her attraction for her own trainer that threatens her marriage. The story takes the reader to the dark side of fitness and is filled with conflict, twists and turns, and what story wouldn’t benefit from a nice helping of temptation. Launch date is May 12 but it’s already available through major eBook distributors and paperback. La Flore
When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?
With me, it’s typically first thing in the morning right after I wake up. I tend to think of it as getting clear radio transmission as oppose to static and mornings are when I get the clearest reception. I go until I lose transmission, which can range from several minutes to several hours.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
My critique partners are my fellow writers in my writers group. I have five beta readers outside my of writers group with two that I rely on quite a bit. Their names are in the acknowledgment.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
I think the one thing that really strikes me is how after a few chapters, the story can sprouts legs and run its own path. That’s what happened to me with Fit to Kill. Even though I had the storyline completely written out, it sprouted legs around chapter ten and though the story ended the same, the way it ended is quite different from the original storyline. For my vampire novel Night Spear, I decided to start writing halfway through building my storyline in hopes that it too would sprout legs and sure enough, it has.
How do you describe your writing style?
Being in a rather large writers group, you get a chance to sample many writing styles to compare against your own. Using a food analogy, many of our writers create gourmet cuisines and like I enjoy fine restaurants, I also enjoy their work. I on the other hand, try to create a really good hamburger. After all, who typically doesn’t like a really good hamburger?
What do you think makes a good story?
That’s relative to a large extent by what the reader wants. However, I think a good story can be judged by the degree and scope of the intended result it gets or doesn’t get from the reader. If a reader doesn’t laugh, or laughs very little, while reading a story that’s intended to be a comedy, then that’s not a good story compared to a reader who reads another comedy that has them cracking up every other page.
Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?
Nowadays, nobody calls me Donnie Ray. However, in my youth, I heard Donnie Ray from my parents whenever I did something really fantastic, or had an appointment with the belt, or room restriction…which both sucked. Well, since the latter two are not possible now that I’m much older, I graduated high school in 79, I’m betting on the former scenario to come through, hence the pen name, Donnie Ray.
Do you play any sports?
I am a competitive bodybuilder and this year marks 41 years of me pumping iron. I’m currently preparing for the Master’s Nationals in
in July. Winning the overall title in my division will award me a professional status as a bodybuilder. I know secretly, my clients are praying against this because they know if I win, my training rates go up…big time. Pittsburg
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
Yes I do, with a bit of advice. If you haven’t done it, join a writers group. Like anything, you get out of it what you put into it, but a good writer’s group can really raise your literary game. The group readings, the critiques, the revisions, and did I mention the revisions? Don’t bring an ego and don’t take personally a complete thrashing of your masterpiece. After two years of weekly meetings with the
writers group, my entire body is one big callus. Oh, did I mention the revisions? Olympia
Though Fit to Kill is his first novel, he is no stranger to writing, having written numerous articles on nutrition, weight training and fitness; appearing in newspapers, magazines and the Internet. In Fit to Kill, his experience as a trainer allowed him to truly immerse the reader into the world of fitness in this detective thriller.
Donnie also has 13 years of military service in both the US Marines and US Army, serving as a platoon sergeant and acting first sergeant. His experience as a trainer and veteran was extremely helpful in writing Fit to Kill. He is currently writing a new novel entitled Night Spear, a suspense drama that combines both the supernatural and the military.