The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Posted by on January 31, 2013

Thank you to the lovely Lilliam Rivera for tagging me in this fun game. I’m posting a bit earlier than I was scheduled (Feb. 3rd) as I will be out of town that day and am not technically savvy enough to figure out how to get it posted on that day!

What is the working title of your book?


Where did the idea come from for the book?

Before I became a mother, I was a police reporter for a Bay Area newspaper. My novel is inspired by all the missing child cases I wrote about during my decade working for newspapers. Specifically, this book was also based on my conversations, letters, and phone calls with a serial killer who kidnapped and killed children.

Out of all the stomach-turning, terrifying things he told me, one thing more than any other still haunts me to this day: That there were many, many more people in the world just like him.

What genre does your book fall under?


What is your book about?

This ran in my literary agency’s newsletter:

Gabriella Giovanni’s big Italian-American family can’t understand why she chooses her adrenaline-pumping career as a San Francisco Bay Area newspaper reporter over being married with little bambinos running around. Gabriella spends her days on the crime beat flitting in and out of other people’s nightmares and then walking away unscathed.

That’s because for twenty years Gabriella has avoided confronting her own dark childhood memories: her sister’s kidnapping and murder followed by her father’s sudden death three days later. That changes in an instant when a little girl disappears on the way to the school bus stop, and Gabriella’s quest for justice and a front-page story leads her to a convicted kidnapper who reels her in with tales of his exploits as a longtime serial killer and promises to reveal his secrets to her alone.

Meanwhile, her passion for her job quickly spirals into obsession when she begins to suspect the kidnapper also killed her sister. When the biggest newspaper in town continues to scoop her on the story, Gabriella begins to believe the fate of her career and the mystery of what happened to her sister both lie in the hands of the kidnapper. When he is sprung from jail on a technicality, Gabriella risks her life to meet with him, hoping to find answers that will help her confront her past and heal her deep psychological wounds.

Award-winning former journalist Kristi Belcamino‘s debut crime novel, BLESSED ARE THE DEAD, is an atmosphere-rich sojourn that has been compared to Sue Grafton and offers chilling, authentic glimpses into the mind of a psychopath while also mining the psyche of an extremely likeable and sympathetic protagonist.

The novel was inspired by Belcamino’s dealings on her crime beat with a serial killer who police and FBI agents linked to the kidnapping and murders of at least two little girls. When the man died in prison two years ago, she was called for a comment. Belcamino’s personal past colors this smart, effective novel that showcases a strong new voice in the market.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I am represented by Stacey Glick of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh, yes, I’ve had so much fun playing around with this idea. I’ve answered this one with photos!

Elisabetta Canalis as Gabriella Giovanni

Colin Farrell as Detective Sean Donovan

Lt. Michael Moretti

Gabriella's mother

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Fourth months. Then I spent a year revising.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I mentioned a little bit about the inspiration in the first question, but I can also add that this novel is dedicated to every daughter who has been brutally and senselessly murdered. I especially wanted to honor the memories of those I have written about. Along with putting their stories in the newspaper, I have written their names on my heart. I will never forget them for as long as I live.

Traci McBride
Christina Williams
Polly Klaas
Xiana Fairchild
Amber Schwartz
Niki Campbell
Chandra Levy
Laci Peterson

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

A lot of Gabriella Giovanni’s conversations with the serial killer in my novel are verbatim from my notes with a real serial killer who preyed on kids. You can’t make that shit up. One of those “truth is stranger than fiction” deals.

On Wednesday, Feb. 13th, please visit a few of my writer friends, Sarah Henning, Susan Boyer, Theresa Crater, Neal Karlen, David Pennington, and Kat Asharya, as they write about their Next Big Thing.


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