A Chat with Nike Chillemi

Today I thought it would be fun to introduce another author who loves the drama and adventure of the 1940s. Nike Chillemi writes crime fiction set after World War II, and she’s answered some questions about her love for this time period.

First, a bit about Nike…

Nike Chillemi has been called a crime fictionista due to her passion for crime fiction. She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chairman, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. Burning Hearts is the first book in The Sanctuary Point series, published by Desert Breeze. Goodbye Noel, the second book in the series released in December, 2011 and won the Grace Award 2011 in the Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category. Perilous Shadows, the third in the series released in July, 2012. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning).

Nike, what drew you to write novels set in the 1940s?

I love the 1940s. The era had its own panache. There was a kind of natural glamour and sophistication to the period that didn’t seem forced or egotistical. Ordinary women loved to dress up. The men were so debonair. I obtained my college degree from The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. I’m completely enthralled by the fashion, hair, and automobiles of the 1940s.
It was also a pivotal time for our nation. So many American soldiers had fallen in the war. America seemed to be losing her innocence slowly but surely. Yet, in spite of great national and personal loss, Americans had great optimism then. There was a spirit of get up and go. I wanted to create characters who struggled with the issues that framed the America we live in today.
What’s your favorite movie from the 1940s? Actor or actress from the 1940s?
Interestingly enough, in my newest release, Perilous Shadows, heroine Kiera Devane tells hero Argus Nye he reminds her of the actor who is my favorite from the golden age of cinema…Jimmy Stewart. That novel also has Kiera and Argus going to the movies. It’s quite a humorous scene. The movie is Road To Riostarring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby and is a riotous film. Although Kiera and Argus go to the flick to have a respite from the murder case they’re investigating, the scene pulls them deeper into the hunt for the killer.
I also love Jimmy Stewart and the “Road” movies! What’s the most interesting thing you learned about this time period from researching your stories?
When researching hero Lorne Kincade’s backstory for the first novel in the series, Burning Hearts, I learned that French resistance fighters hid in the catacombs beneath Marseilles from the Vichy French and Nazis who had taken over France. Lorne appeared to be a simple motorcycle courier during the war, but in fact went on secret missions in France under the direct command of General Patton. I wrote a scene in that novel where now stateside, Lorne awakes sweating from a nightmare in which he and his wartime buddy race through the back alleys of Marseilles for the safety of the catacombs. In essence, Lorne has had a flashback in a dream.
If you lived in the 1940s, what role would you see for yourself? Rosie the Riveter, ration-point-collecting homemaker, WAAC or WAVE, or daring spy?
I think I would have been a WAAC or a WAVE, probably a WAVE because of my love of the ocean and the WAVEs were Navy. These women were considered part of the US Naval Reserves. Although WAVES only served stateside until the very end of the war when some shipped out to Hawaii, not yet a state. I would liked to have served in communications or intelligence. One necessary task in war time is poring through all the many newspapers published in the US looking for articles and/or advertisements that might be code from enemy collaborators or enemy agents. That is something I would have been interested in doing.
That would be interesting!
Nike’s Books…
Perilous Shadows
“Nike Chillemi kicks off her new novel, Perilous Shadows, with gusto and keeps the action coming.” ~ Nancy Mehl, Winner of the 2009 Carol Award for Mystery…author of Inescapable: The Kingdom series, the Curl Up and Dye mysteries, and The Harmony series.
Pioneer newspaperwoman Kiera Devane is on a mission to prove a woman can do a man’s job, as she hunts a young coed’s killer? Ace radio broadcaster Argus Nye lost one love to a murderous fiend and his pulse races as he tries to protect Kiera from herself as much as from this killer.
Kiera was doted upon by loving parent, but they were killed when she was a girl and she was shipped off to live with a socialite aunt who had little time for her. In her aunt’s house, she learned life could be cold and cruel. As a result, she grew up to be an independent and demanding professional woman.
Argus Nye, still bereft from the loss of his first love, can’t understand why this female reporter is mesmerizing him. As she takes chances with her life trying to catch a killer, he’s determined to protect her.
Available at:
Amazon/Kindle. http://is.gd/W2Hm2N
Barnes and Noble/Nook. http://is.gd/RJF2zy
Desert Breeze Publishing Author Page. http://tinyurl.com/7e92vwv
Burning Hearts
“Right from the start, Burning Hearts captured my imagination and tweaked my curiosity. Nike Chillemi certainly knows how to set a scene and ignite excitement.” ~ Athol Dickson, three time Christy Award winning author of Lost Mission and The Opposite of Art
How about you? What’s your favorite aspect of the 1940s?

6 Responses to “A Chat with Nike Chillemi”

  1. Rachel

    Great post!! I love crime stories dating from the 1920’s and on through the Bonnie & Clyde era. In January of this year, LIFE magazine came out with an updated edition of “Mobsters and Gangsters.” I, of course, bought it and read it cover to cover; beginning with Jesse and Frank James in the 1860’s and ending with present day crimes. I am going to check out Nike’s books!

    • Nike Chillemi

      Rachel, Thx for reading the interview/showcase. I hope you enjoy reading my novels as much as I enjoyed writing them. I love the first half of the 1900s in American history too.

  2. Noelle the dreamer

    Thank you as always for sharing Sarah! I chuckled at the second title (albeit I’ll admit to a chill … or two as well!). The interview caught my attention though and whilst this is not my usual ‘read’ I will gladly add this author’s name to my list of ‘must check it out’.
    1940’s era has always been a favourite of mine, clothes, music, atmosphere, even cars…(never mind the attractive uniforms).
    Lest you think so however, this is way before my time by the by! Ex-RAF hubby though was born in ’39 and lived through it all! Memories are however VERY vivid for both families.
    So the 1940’s favourite aspect? Let’s call it a nostalgic attraction?
    Nike Chillemi is on my list!
    Blessings to you and yours Sarah,
    P.S. Last I checked in the sitting room, hubby had ‘With Every Letter’ almost finished and he only started 2 nights ago!

    • Nike Chillemi

      Noelle, I also love the clothes, music and the atmosphere of the 1940s. Especially the cars. And oh, yes, the great looking guys in uniform. 🙂

  3. Sarah Sundin

    Rachel & Noelle – so glad you found another author 🙂

    Noelle – I hope hubby likes the book. No aerial combat this time.

    Nike – thanks! My webmaster (Tiffany Stockton) designed the header. I keep playing with the rest.