Who and what inspired “Serial Vengeance” – Guest Post by author Melissa Wren
Living in Washington, D.C. and reading James Patterson’s Alex Cross series stirred the idea of a serial killer in the nation’s capital. I liked the fast pace of his short chapters so I could read it quickly on the Metro traveling to and from work. I modeled my chapters after his to create suspense and keep the pages turning.
I also used my journalism background to help me with my main character’s career. A very generous crime reporter for the Washington Post, Carol Leonnig, spent an afternoon giving me the grand tour of the fifth floor where the reporters and editors work. She gave me insights I wouldn’t have known about, which make the details of Olivia’s work authentic in my book.
During the several years I spent writing my book, I lived in several areas in the heart of D.C., including Dupont Circle, Cleveland Park, Woodley Park, Friendship Heights, and Alexandria, Virginia, so I spent a lot of time soaking up details of the city.
I worked two blocks from the White House, and there was always something exciting going on, whether my walk got interrupted to watch the motorcade drive by or the Pope or other VIP came to town. I was fortunate to get a tour of the West Wing and sit in the pressroom during a press conference. I also got to walk through the White House one Christmas, took a beautiful tour of the gardens at Easter, and had the privilege to hear the Pope and President Bush speak while I stood on the White House lawn.
At the end of 2004, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I was living in California at the time, and I moved home to Texas for three months to be near him before relocating to D.C. I had no control over what was happening to my dad, how sick he got, or how long he’d live.
Looking back, writing this psychological thriller was my way of escaping the reality of losing him and trying to cope, since I got to create the characters and control what happened in their lives. Writing has also always given me a purpose and a voice; it’s in my DNA.
Serial Vengeance summary
If it were just one or two high-profile adulterers committing suicide in the heart of Washington, D.C., it wouldn’t be much of a story. But it keeps happening. And their suicide notes all say the same thing: “I deserve to die.”
Grieving her stillborn son, and reeling from the mysterious disappearance of her best friend two years prior, Olivia Penn buries herself in her work. She’s a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter for the Washington Post, and if there’s one thing she knows, it’s the scent of a front-page story.
Olivia begins connecting the string of supposed celebrity suicides together, obsessed with breaking the story that there’s a serial killer on the loose in D.C. When the FBI takes over, Olivia knows she’s on to something and has trouble staying out of their way.
A sensational double murder ups the ante in the dangerous psychological game. It’s the first time “The Punisher” reveals himself. Thinking she has nothing to lose, Olivia baits the psychopathic killer with her news stories, putting herself in his crosshairs. Now it becomes terrifyingly personal.
Between her stalker, who is breaking into her home and leaving notes that indicate he knows something about the serial killer, and the strange connections to her best friend’s disappearance, Olivia is caught in a complicated web—and the only way out is to discover why she seems to be the common denominator in this nightmare.
The closer she gets to the truth, Olivia discovers that death is closer than she realized.
Where to purchase Serial Vengeance
About the Author
After gaining her B.A. in broadcast journalism from Texas Tech University in 1998, Melissa Wren moved abroad to London, England and began her career in advertising, which eventually took her to Dallas, Texas and then to Monterey, California. She spent more than four years on the West Coast before relocating to Washington, D.C. to work in communications and with the press for a government agency for four more years.
Wren recognized her God-given passion for creating stories at an early age, finishing her first novel when she was 12 years old. During her time in the nation’s capital, she wrote the psychological thriller Serial Vengeance, joining such organizations as Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Washington Independent Writers and Thriller Fest.
She curently lives in her hometown of Granbury, Texas, and works as a freelance writer/editor for hire, penning anything from professional business copy, human-interest stories, magazine articles, poetry, creative fiction to non-fiction.
She’s written for Lake Granbury Living, Erath County Living, and Granbury Showcase magazines, as well as for the Hood County News. Currently she’s a member of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW).
Wren also compiled and published Cancer Chronicles: One Man’s Journey to Glorify God Through Illness, released in 2013.
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