I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for Ally Rose’s latest crime thriller, The River Runs Red today and I have a wonderful character spotlight by the author herself.
But first, here’s the blurb …
Fahrenheit Press (24 July 2018)
Berlin is in the midst of its worst winter in decades. Against the backdrop of freezing temperatures, blizzards and snowstorms, the city refuses to grind to a halt. Lurking within the shadows is a Stasi victim, out for revenge against the former East German informants known as ‘The Ears’. Their dark secrets are about to be exposed. A mix of ice and water and a single gunshot, provides the ultimate payback. With the Millennium approaching, Hanne Drais, the criminal psychologist working within the Berlin Mitte Police team led by the irascible Oskar Kruger and his laid-back sidekick, Stefan Glockner, are seeking the perpetrator of these violent crimes. Who is the man they’ve nicknamed Snowflake? Who is turning the river red?
Now, it’s over to Ally …
Hanne Drais, the criminal psychologist working within a Berlin police team.
As a character, Hanne is intense. She is a perfectionist and, in this respect, can be somewhat intolerance of others and their perceived imperfections. However, she has great empathy for others and especially the underdog. Prone to melancholy if her life is not in order, she has a sense of humour that can lift her out of the doldrums-and a temper! She is a resilient, socially conscious West German woman who married a Chilean refugee called Rafael, to help him stay in the country, enabling him residency. Their romance was short lived, but it produced a child; Audrey. Audrey and Hanne sometimes have role reversal, as Audrey is wise for her age, and their relationship is rich and rewarding. Audrey came along when Hanne was studying for her degree at the prestigious Humboldt University in Berlin, prior to joining the police as a criminal psychologist. During this period, Hanne realised she was gay and settled into a long-term relationship with Claudia, and with Rafael, the three of them raised Audrey to be a strong and independent thinking child.
Rolf Drais is Hanne’s older brother by a few years; he has a son; Sebastian, who is a little younger than Audrey, and they have an easy bond. A trickier relationship for Hanne is with her strong-willed mother; Traudl. Traudl is the do as I say, not as I do type, nevertheless, there is genuine warmth between mother and daughter, but it’s sometimes overshadowed by a battle of wills.
Working with the Berlin Police, Hanne has different relationships with the team. Kommissar Oskar Kruger; Hanne is like a daughter to him, and she tolerates his irascible and grumpy side because she knows he cares. Kruger appreciates her diligence and perseverance but has to rein in Hanne’s politically conscious views at times, especially when Hanne clashes with interviewees.
Detective Stefan Glockner; he’s Kruger’s deputy. He is as laid back as Rolf Drais, so Hanne gets on well with Stefan, and there’s not too much bickering, although they feel relaxed enough to exchange different opinions and have healthy debates. They have one another’s backs when out on a case.
Rutger Korsmeier; the Chief Forensic officer. He has OCD which Hanne understands well. They have their own little club where they mutually respect one another and share a sense of intellectual humour.
When did you create her?
In 2010. Inspired by a special German lady, I listened to tales of life behind the Wall. I decided to write about the place Torgau; a Stasi youth prison in East Germany near Dresden. The perpetrator of the crimes would emanate from Torgau, having barely survived his incarceration after years of abuse. He would take revenge on his tormentors after German reunification. On the other side of the story, there had to be a police team. This is where I invented Hanne Drais and the Berlin police team. The story developed from there and my book; Hidden Depths was born.
Did you write the book to accommodate Hanne or Hanne to accommodate the book?
I think that’s a bit of both. I need two protagonists to write my stories. A different perpetrator in each book, but the same police team, with Hanne Drais telling her story on the other side- along with the backdrop of events in Hanne’s personal life over the varying time settings of my books.
What do you like most about her?
Hanne’s insight and her humanity.
What do you like least about her?
I’ll let the reader decide.
Did your early readers/editorial team like her to start with or did she change in any way?
Well, hopefully, they are liked, and I’ve felt encouraged with a publishing contact. In the beginning, I needed help in structuring the books and as I was learning the craft of writing along the way, editors are vitally important, and I happily work with my publisher Fahrenheit Press. Thankfully, the plots come easily from my very fortunate and vivid imagination so there aren’t too many plot changes, it’s just about deciding in which order to put a chapter. I’m open to constructive criticism and advice and am willing to change something if it doesn’t work or could work better. Flexibility in writing is key.
Does she have any similarities with anyone real?
Hanne is a composite of people I have met. Her physical shape is from one particular person; her personality from others with a few surprises in the mix.
What are your plans for her?
Hanne will carry on with her rewarding job. She will continue to strive to be a good mother; a good partner; a good family member and work colleague. There are a few more adventures for her- I don’t want to let her go. Hanne is a part of me; she’s my special friend.
Would you be friends in real life?
Thank you for sharing this with my readers, Ally!
And huge thanks to Emma over at damppebbles blog tours and the team at Fahrenheit for my stop on the tour.
You can get your copy of the book now:
About the author …
“I’ve always been interested in writing crime stories and with the Cold War era, there is such a rich tapestry to draw from; especially the notorious and quelling Stasi reign in East Germany. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, gives a contrast between the different worlds and any past crimes are held to account in a unified Germany.
Berlin is one of my favourite cities, and I’ve spent time living and discovering this diverse city and its surrounding areas. Seeing my characters in familiar places, they seem to come to life.
Hope you enjoy my Hanne Drais books.”