Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.
Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category, a judge in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories, and a judge in the Eric Hoffer Awards in 2012 and 2013.

Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT released in the spring of 2014 under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press became a best seller in Amazon’s private investigator category and has also garnered critical acclaim.

She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Christian Indie Novelists

SS: Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in a reading family. My dad was an English teacher and he directed the senior play in the local high school (his students even won state-wide dramatic prizes). He also wrote a play about his childhood during the depression that finaled in a nationwide competition. So, I guess I got the writing bug from him. He and my mom often read to me at night when I was small. Of course as a teen, I wrote awful poems full of angst that my family had to suffer through hearing read aloud. They survived.
SS: When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

After that teenage angst-writing period, I put my pen away and got into the business of life and earning a living. I've lived in upstate New York, Miami, and Brooklyn. It was over eight years ago that I became serious about writing fiction. I joined a writer's community-board at what was then Steeple Hill and learned a lot from the writers who posted there. I also took the free online writing course then offered by Harlequin. I slowly began to learn the craft. I recommend all newbie writers take any writing course they can get their hands on. American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) offers terrific writing courses for free to its members.

SS: What genre do you write and why? Are there other genres you’ve written or would like to try?

I love crime fiction. That's what I write and mostly read. I do read some action-adventure and occasionally something in women's fiction. I started out writing my four-novel Sanctuary Point historical murder mystery series. That series was set in the mid-1940s. I love that era and thoroughly enjoyed the research for those four novels. I didn't switch genres. I'm still writing crime fiction, but I did switch sub-genres. I'm now writing what will be an extensive contemporary detective-story series. HARMFUL INTENT is the first book in this series and I'm glad to say it's been well received.

SS: How do you create characters? Are they based on people you know?

My characters are entirely imaginary. I'm constantly getting ideas for characters and I'll quick, write them down. I've got quite a long list of potential characters. Some are great ideas I hope to incorporate into upcoming novels. Others, um…not so much. When someone royally torks-me-off, I'd like to write them into a novel and kill them, but I haven't done that yet.

SS: Tell us about your current release.

HARMFUL INTENT was a fun novel to write. It's a detective story with some grit. The villains are really bad. I like to think of it as grit with grace. The romance between the heroine and hero struggles to get off the ground and continues into book two. There are some sophisticated themes which are tastefully presented. And there's a wonderfully warm and sometimes humorous senior love story between two charming secondary characters.

SS: Where did you get the idea for this book?

It was a kind of writing challenge for a short story where you had to take a character and put him or her out of her/his element. I created a tough, competent, often sarcastic, female private investigator from Brooklyn (NYC) and plunked her down in Abilene, Texas. There the drop-dead-gorgeous deputy has her as the number one suspect in the murder of her cheating husband. I had such fun writing it that it totally got away from me. It soon became a short novella, then a long one, then a full-length novel.

SS: Tell us about your main character.

Veronica "Ronnie" Ingels is complicated. Her childhood had a great deal of pain and she's still sorting things out from back then. She has disturbing dreams that hint at despicable things, but she's not quite sure what these dreams mean. Despite her painful childhood, or maybe because of it, she's become a skilled law enforcement professional who doesn't take guff from anyone. The Texas local deputy, who all but accuses her of murder, isn't ready for her butting into his case, or the ride she's going to take him on. Then it occurs to him he's going to have to protect her from the real killer.

SS: Is there a spiritual message in your book? If so, what is it?

All of my novels, the historicals as well as HARMFUL INTENT, have a strong good vs. evil theme. That's what my novels are all about, a volatile class between darkness and the light. A hero or heroine is an ordinary, often quite flawed person, with all the problems facing regular citizens, yet they step up to the plate and take on evil.

SS: What are you working on now?

I'm working on DEADLY DESIGNS, book two in the Veronica "Ronnie" Ingles/Dawson Hughes series. A ditsy runway model and her seven-year-old daughter go missing. Abilene deputy Dawson Hughes is a former Army Ranger who sometimes works for a clandestine agency, many senators and congressmen swear doesn't even exist. There might be a terrorism angle to this disappearance. Until that's determined, Dawson suggests they hire Ronnie Ingels, private investigator, to find the missing mother and child. Naturally, he's going to help on the case.

SS: Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.

1) I'm moving to Jacksonville, Florida, a place I've visited twice this year. 2) I intend to bring a crime wave to north Florida. 3) I like to kayak, even in an ocean going kayak.

SS: Favorite TV shows?

I love the Nat Geo Alaskan frontier shows. I keep up with the news watching FOX, as well as other channels. I also watch cooking shows and some crime drama.

SS: Anything special you eat or drink while you’re writing?

I drink a lot of tea when I write. I like Irish tea, or English Breakfast tea. I take it with a splash of milk, no sugar. I drink copious amounts of it and then have to run to the commode.

SS: How do you celebrate after completing a book?

I can't think of anything special I've done. I probably take a good nap.

SS: Where can readers find you on the Internet?

Nike Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista
Twitter: @NikeChillemi

Nike is giving away a Kindle copy of Harmful Intent! Just leave a comment, along with your contact information. We'll pick a winner on Monday!


  1. This sounds like an interesting read. Nike is a new author to me. Thanks for the interview and giveaway. momrain(AT)aol(DOT)com

  2. I love a great mystery, especially if it's one that requires no apologies for reading it :) Thanks for sharing Nike Chillemi and her work. Great interview. God Bless.

  3. Thank you for introducing a potential favorite author since this book is something I now cannot wait to read! I really enjoy the combination of suspense and Christian thinking. Thank you for the inspiring statement that the author comes from a reading family!

  4. Nancy, I love reading wonderful mysteries too. :)

  5. Janice, I think a seat of the pants mystery can be combined with Christian themes. That's what do in my writing.

  6. Wow...Harmful Intent looks like a great Christian suspense novel! I'm looking forward to reading a new author, too!

  7. Great interview! Wow, good luck with your move. Sounds like fun!

  8. Your interview was wonderful. I can't wait to read your book. It interests me that it's set in Abilene. Oh, and when you get to Jacksonville make sure to check out the Amelia Island area.
    lill dot kohler at gmail dot com