As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"

Sunday Morning with Nike Chillemi

Smell the coffee? maybe it's hot chocolate at your place. we don't discriminate. pull up up a chair and relax. I've got my newest Sunday outfit on, so I'm comfortable. We'll pick up where we left off yesterday. What would you say is the underlying theme of DARKEST HOUR for your readers to carry away from it?
Nike:  The underlying theme of all of my novels is that upright people are the ones who seek to right a wrong. My main characters seek justice. They fight against evil, sometimes at great risk to themselves. Another theme in all my stories is that evil cannot defeat love. I think of my mysteries as having a great love story, rather than a romance. In addition to the blossoming love between the heroine and the hero, I also have love of family and love of friends in my stories.  The various main characters in my stories are all at different places in their relationship with the Lord. Some are mature Christians while others are just beginning to consider a walk with the Lord. They all come to rely deeply on the Lord's love.
Shaunna: For those who've read my book DARK DAYS OF PROMISE, you will see why I love Nike and her novels. I love knowing that no matter how ugly things get, right will prevail. Of course I'm a romantic at heart, but romance isn't enough, there has to be a good story to keep me reading. And family and friends are always important.   Although your novels fall squarely into the classic murder mystery genre and might even be considered cozies, you've often been placed in the Edgy Christian Fiction category. Why is that?
Nike:  Wow. I think I'm going to get to that through the back door. I guess you could say my church experience has been that of attending what might be called the urban relevant church. Many in my congregation wear jeans to church. If you have tattoos or sport a black leather bomber jacket, you'd be welcome. And yet you couldn't find a preacher more respectful of the Lord and the gospel than my pastor. I approach Christian crime fiction from that perspective...relevancy. I write classic murder mysteries that could stand side-by-side with any Perry Mason story. However, the reader will find realism in my murder scenes, in my shoot-outs and fight scenes. A murder scene isn't pretty. It doesn't smell good. When one of my characters is beaten up or shot, I make it gritty...realistic. That's why I was placed in the edgy Christian fiction category. I've been writing seriously for about six years and I think today if you asked readers what I write, they'd simply say, "murder mysteries."

Shaunna: We are so different in our religious beliefs and yet the fundamentals are the same. I know there are readers that can't believe my work is recognized as Christian fiction. Who writes the rules anyway? You don't have to answer that Nike. Before I let the readers enjoy another excerpt, let me thank you (Grace Awards really) for inviting me to be a judge in this year's contest. Since our books are competing against each other…good luck! No, ladies and gentleman, we do not get to judge that genre.

Excerpt from DARKEST HOUR
From Chapter Two

Sanctuary Point, NY

"You can't go any further." The husky, police officer Lucinda had seen on patrol around the village raised his hand to stop her.
"My desk is over there." She felt outside her body, observing herself interacting.
"Sorry," the young man replied. "Nobody except law enforcement personnel's allowed in Dr. McCloud's office or by the secretary's desk."
A camera flashed in the doctor's office and the baby-faced officer she'd seen in the parking lot photographing the doctor's body emerged with his camera. His mother worked in the emergency room, and at any other time, she would have smiled at him in greeting. He strode to her desk and took a shot of the papers and items on top. He used a handkerchief to open the top right drawer where she kept an inkpad and several stamps and a steno book.
"Hey, he's going through my desk. Is he allowed to do that?"
The husky officer nodded. "The hospital's given full permission, but he could anyway."
"I see." She stepped to the side to get a better view of what the one with the camera was doing. What was his name? Robert Classen? Attaching a name to him helped, somehow.
He opened the top drawer of her desk and took another photograph.
She rubbed her arms, feeling strangely violated.
"There's something under this appointment book." The officer took keys out of his pocket and used one to lift the book. "Ian, come here. I found something."
Detective Daltry emerged from Dr. McCloud's office. "What've you got?"
"A bullet... a live round under this appointment book. Looks like a Smith and Wesson thirty-two Long."
The detective pulled a handkerchief from his inside breast pocket and retrieved the bullet. "A common cartridge, but still the make is different from the earlier version of the bullet. Get me an evidence bag."
"A bullet," Lucinda screeched and bolted past the officer.
"Miss, stop. You can't go there," the strapping one shouted after her.
"That is not mine." This was surreal. Her world was spinning out of control.
The detective wrapped the bullet in his hankie and shoved it in his pocket. He deftly stepped in front of her, blocking her path. "Miss Byrne, that's far enough."
"Mrs. Byrne."
"Mrs. Byrne," the detective said, his voice taut. "You must step back. And I will have a few more questions for you." He pivoted. "Officer Vogel, show Mrs. Byrne where to wait?"
"You have to back up. You're not allowed in this area," the stocky one said.
Detective Daltry examined the contents of her desk, while the younger one took photographs, documenting everything. Then the detective approached her and took out his notebook.
"Mrs. Byrne, as you saw, we found a bullet in your top desk drawer. Do you know how it got there?"
"I have no idea. I do not own a gun and have no need for a bullet."
"Does anyone in your household own a gun? Could you have somehow picked up a bullet from a gun kept in your house?"
"My grandfather owns a rifle. It's in a locked cabinet in the master bedroom. I don't know when the cabinet was last opened, but it was a long time ago. I have a young child at home and I don't want easy access to a gun."
"I fully understand, Mrs. Byrne. I have a child as well."
She released a sigh and realized she'd been holding her breath. "Until this moment, I'd forgotten we had that rifle in the house."
"Do you know of anyone who might've placed a bullet in your desk drawer? Maybe someone has it in for you."
"No, I don't know of anyone like that. My desk is out in the open, right in front of Dr. McCloud's and Dr. Hinsey's offices. Anyone who walked by could have access."
The detective nodded and smiled, "Indeed, that's certainly so."

Author Bio:

Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (penciled 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.

She 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 and a judge in the 2011 and 2012 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. BURNING HEARTS, the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series, finaled in the Grace Awards 2011 in the Romance/Historical Romance category. GOODBYE NOEL, the second book in the series released in December, 2011 won the Grace Award 2011 in the Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category. PERILOUS SHADOWS, third in the series released July, 2012, and DARKEST HOUR, the fourth in the series released in February, 2013.  She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning).

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