Marked by Alex Hughes: Character Interview with Isabella Cherabino

Today we’ve got an exciting interview to share with you all. Alex Hughes, author of the Mindspace Investigation series, sat down with her character, Isabella Cherabino, for a little Q&A fun. But before we get to the interview, we’d like to share with you a little bit about Marked, the third book in her Mindspace Investigation series.

About the Book:

MarkedPublisher: Roc

Date Published: April 1, 2014

Series: Mindspace Investigations #3



Freelancing for the Atlanta PD isn’t exactly a secure career; my job’s been on the line almost as much as my life. But it’s a paycheck, and it keeps me from falling back into the drug habit. Plus, things are looking up with my sometimes-partner, Cherabino, even if she is still simmering over the telepathic Link I created by accident.

When my ex, Kara, shows up begging for my help, I find myself heading to the last place I ever expected to set foot in again—Guild headquarters—to investigate the death of her uncle. Joining that group was a bad idea the first time. Going back when I’m unwanted is downright dangerous.

Luckily, the Guild needs me more than they’re willing to admit. Kara’s uncle was acting strange before he died—crazy strange. In fact, his madness seems to be slowly spreading through the Guild. And when an army of powerful telepaths loses their marbles, suddenly it’s a game of life or death.

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The Interview:

Isabella Cherabino & Alex Hughes

For a lark, I thought I’d run through CareerBuilder’s list of top job interview questions with my character Isabella Cherabino, to see how she would answer.

A: Thanks for coming here today, Detective Cherabino.

C: No problem. I have a standing priority for meetings with you, since you give me interesting cases I can actually solve. Plus you’re a friend of Paulsen’s, and there’s never any harm in helping the brass. What can I do for you today, Ms. Hughes?

A: I’m putting together some psychological notes on leading detectives in the department. Would you mind answering some questions for me?

C: (Meets author’s eyes in overcompensating stare.) I have ten minutes.

A: Thank you. What circumstance brings you to the interview today?

C: I’m told that a book with my story is releasing to the outside world. The axe murderer case I solved there had an unexpected outcome. I understand why it’s being studied. To be honest, though, having a book written about me makes me uncomfortable.

A: How would your best friend describe you?

C: (Pauses.) My family describes me as driven, responsible, absent, obsessed, kind, and the person they call if they’re in trouble. My father would call me a prodigal child, but he doesn’t understand me since Peter passed away. The rest of us are pretty close. They let me be me, wherever I am, and I try to be there for my nieces and nephews. If my grandmother can keep from stirring the pot, I’m happy there.

A: What would you say are your 2 greatest weaknesses?

C: I work too much. This gets in the way of a social life sometimes, and my family always wants to see more of me. The second weakness? (Takes a deep breath.) If I’m being honest, the temper is a problem. Something gets in my way or disappoints me and I fly off the handle. I’m getting better about not overreacting, but…

A: Thank you for being honest. How do you alleviate stress? Detective work must be very stressful.

C: It is. I try to spend a lot of time a week at the judo studio with my sensei. The forms of the katas are soothing to me. When I can’t make it out, I try to do at least some of them at home. I also get migraines sometimes, and while I hate the pain, sometimes lying in a cool dark room in silence is the best therapy in the world for what ails me. And getting a bad guy—putting a murderer behind bars—is why I do this. I’m lucky enough to see it get done more often than not.

A: What type of work environment do you prefer?

C: I prefer independent work, but the reality of a police department means I have to work with a variety of specialists. I employ bribery and favors to get the job done faster. If me babysitting someone’s daughter gets me the priority on trace evidence processing, that’s what I’ll do.

A: How do you deal with conflict?

A knock comes on the door. Michael Hwang sticks his head in the conference room and tells Cherabino she’s needed at an emergency task force meeting.

C: I need to go. Let me know if you need anything else.

A: I had a few more questions.

C: Then call Michael and we’ll reschedule. (Holds out hand to shake.)

A: (Reluctantly, shakes hand.)

Cherabino leaves through the doorway. Alex is left collecting notes and shaking head.

About the Author:

AlexHughesAlex Hughes was born in Savannah, GA and moved to the south Atlanta area when she was eight years old. Shortly thereafter, her grandfather handed her a copy of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonrider series, and a lifelong obsession with scifi was born.

Alex is a graduate of the prestigious Odyssey Writing Workshop and a Semi-Finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Her short pieces are published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction and White Cat Magazine. She blogs about writing craft, revision, and editing at

Alex’s work is complex, dark, adventurous, and a little funny, with a emphasis on great characters and interesting worlds. She gets her inspiration from history (she majored with a European history focus in college), family members, and headlines, as well as whatever book she has in her hand. Lately she’s been reading neuroscience books; the brain’s a cool, cool place and the mind even more so.

An avid cook and foodie, Alex loves great food of any stripe – even better if she can figure out how to put it together. Great food is like a great book; it has lots of layers that work together beautifully, and the result is delicious and harmonious. She’s working on figuring out Indian food right now – suggestions welcome!

Alex loves swing dancing, tetris, music of all kinds, and has been known to get into long conversations with total strangers at restaurants about the Food Network, much to the embarrassment of her sister. She can also balance a spoon on her nose while crossing her eyes, and talk for hours about absolutely nothing.

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