S. Connell Vondrak, author of No Evidence of a Crime
Today, S. Connell Vondrak, author of the new book, No Evidence of a Crime, is visiting.
Marilyn: Tell me about your background.
S. Connell Vondrak: My background is in forensics. In 1985, just out of college, I became a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police. It was a time when so much of forensics was changing; our capabilities expanding. If you think about the advances we, as individuals, have lived through since 1985, computers, iPods, cell phones, it is minor compared to the growth in forensics.
I worked in the forensic toxicology section until I became the director of training. The director of training position is responsible for overseeing training in the various specialties of forensics. Unlike television, most forensic laboratories utilize forensic scientists as specialists. The instrumentation in each section is so sophisticated and takes time to learn. Someone who is testing the DNA in a blood sample one day would not examine it in toxicology the next day. My position as director of training, in that respect is unique because I had to become versed, to a small degree, in every section.
Marilyn: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
S. Connell Vondrak: From a young age, I knew I wanted to be forensic scientist but knowing when I wanted to become a writer is more nebulous. Writing was just something I loved to do all of my life. Today, I see kids play video games with the same obsession that I have for writing. I can spend hours immersed in writing a scene or a dialog, visualizing everything, as it is happening with no sense of time. For me, writing has an allure that is hard to explain, a compelling desire to tell a story. To both family and friends, who are usually entertained by my stories, it is just accepted; I write. Maybe that is what it means to want to be a writer but I never thought of it with the same clarity as wanting to be a forensic scientist.
Marilyn: What inspired this book?
S. Connell Vondrak: When I took the position as director of training, it required extensive traveling. I would drive throughout Illinois for hours, sometimes, 8 or 10 hours a day. It is always dangerous to give someone who likes to make up stories that amount of time to daydream about the perfect murder, the perfect crime, and how forensics weaves its way through the story.
Marilyn: Tell me about your book No Evidence of a Crime.
S. Connell Vondrak: No Evidence of a Crime follows two Washington, DC detectives, newly partnered together, one ready to retire, the other a new recruit trying to convince herself this is the career she wants.
Their first case as the lead detectives involves a congressional aide, shot on the Washington Mall. All the evidence points to an unfortunate gang-style murder. The murderer soon shot by police in a shootout. The case is ready to be closed, but, small, lingering discrepancies in the evidence lead the detectives to take a closer look. When the detectives start a detailed review of the case, they realize evidence has been altered at the crime lab.
Marilyn: Where can we purchase it?
S. Connell Vondrak: No Evidence of a Crime will be out in late July, 2010 and can be purchased on Amazon.com or through Oak Tree Press
Visit me here: http://crimelabmysteries.com
Marilyn: Thank you so much for being with me today. The book sounds fascinating--as do you.