Q. What is your favorite quote?
Stephen King always has great quotes. Here’s one of my favorites:
“People want to know why I do this, why I write such gross stuff. I like to tell them I have the heart of a small boy… and I keep it in a jar on my desk.”
I adore movie quotes and I just heard this one. It’s from We Bought A Zoo, as the character is facing a lip smacking lion: “You don’t want me, I’m filled with scotch, bitterness and impure thoughts.” Totally cracks me up.
Q. Is there anything in JUSTICE FOR SARA you’d go back and change?
A writer can always edit! I’m sure if my editor said, take one more look before we print, I’d be re-wording and refining. In terms of the story and characters, I wouldn’t change a thing. I really love this story!
Q. What’s the best writing advice anyone has ever given you?
It came from my husband and was about time management. “Protect the work.” It means that no matter what else I have to do or take care of during each day, I need to “protect” my writing time, the time I’m most productive and creative.
Q. What inspired JUSTICE FOR SARA?
I’ve always been fascinated by crime and punishment, guilt and innocence. Two recent murder trials–the Casey Anthony trial in Florida and Amanda Knox in Italy–caught my attention. In both, the women were charged on circumstantial evidence. Their behavior made them look guilty. Amanda Knox sat on her boyfriends lap and giggled while waiting to be questioned by police about the murder of her roommate, and Casey Anthony was out partying while her daughter was missing. We, the public, were certain they were guilty. And when they were acquitted, we were outraged. In JUSTICE FOR SARA, I wanted to crawl inside the head of the accused. What if everything pointed to your guilt? What if you were innocent and no one believed you? What if, because of your actions and the public’s presumption of guilt, your sister’s killer went free? From those questions, JUSTICE FOR SARA was born.
Q. Do you write as you go, or do you have the book all planned out from page 1?
My writing style has actually changed. Until about four books ago, I wrote very long, very detailed synopses. They’d be 60/65 pages long and I loved doing them. With WATCH ME DIE that all changed. I just couldn’t bring myself to do all that pre-plotting. I felt as if my muse was simply insisting I start writing the actual book. So I did, and it’s been like that ever since.
Q. How long does it take you to write a book?
About a year, from conception to completion
Q. How do you go about revising/editing?
It depends on where I am in the book. If it’s earlier on, I do a lot of revising as I go and doubling back and making changes. That’s because I’m still getting to know the characters and the story’s unfolding in my head. As the story progresses, I do less of that. Once the rough draft is completed, I edit the entire thing once, then again. I also have an assistant who reads the entire manuscript: she’s looking for things like repeated words or phrases or secondary characters’ names changing halfway though the book. (Two things I’m famous for!)
Q. How do you juggle writing and family life?
It’s a constant struggle and I wish I had a magic formula for making it work. When you work from home, there’s always the assumption that you’re available. And the truth is, I want to be there for my family, they come first. For me, the trick is deciding what I can let go of and what I can’t. Beautifully prepared meals, a spotless home and pressed clothes are out. Driving my child to basketball practice, helping with homework or sitting down with them to watch a movie is in. Honestly some days–and weeks–I do it better than others. Currently? Not doing so great. But hey, it’s summer!
Q. What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
I just received a hardcover copy of JUSTICE FOR SARA in the mail. That first moment I held it, the physical manifestation of all my hard work in my hands, was magic. I love that moment.
Q. What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
My favorite was the Trixie Belden mystery series. I read and reread those! I always wished there’d been more of them.
Q. What is your favorite scene in JUSTICE FOR SARA?
The end. The dramatic, triumphant last scene, when the bad guy is beaten, my protagonists are safe and good wins out. That’s always my favorite. I just love writing those!
Q. What books do you love that don’t get a lot of hype?
There are so many! Most books get very little hype, yet I read them and am moved to tears or can’t stop turning the pages. It always mystifies me which books explode in popularity.
Q. What makes JUSTICE FOR SARA standout from the crowd?
JUSTICE FOR SARA is a thriller with a heart. What I mean by that is the book not only has a fast-paced, suspenseful plot, but also complex relationships and emotional depth. That’s not always the case with page-turners.
Q. Do your characters really talk to you?
They do, absolutely. In fact, when they take over is when I know the book is truly on it’s way.
Q. Print or Ebook?
Both. I love hardcovers. I love owning, reading and holding them in my hands. I find them beautiful. I like a real Bible, not electronic. I tried. I also like paper books for non-fiction or study–books I plan on marking in.
But I buy a lot of ebooks. I love the ease of purchase and the fact I can carry hundreds of books with me at any given time without the necessity of a pack mule.
Q. Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read JUSTICE FOR SARA.
It’s a fast-paced, keep-you-guessing-until-the-last-page novel with a heart.
Q. How many books are in your TBR pile?
Too many to count. I’ve got TBR books on my nightstand, in the nightstand drawer, on bookshelves in the living room and stacked and waiting on my iPad. By the way, I have three different “bookshelves” on my iPad–iBooks, Kindle and Nook. Crazy!
When seventeen-year-old Katherine McCall awakened one morning to find her beloved sister, Sara, brutally murdered, her whole life changed in the blink of an eye. Kat was named the prime suspect and, on a string of circumstantial evidence, charged and tried. While the jury found her innocent, not everyone else agreed, and her only choice was to go into hiding. But she carried a dark secret with her, one that made her worry she might actually have had something to do with Sara’s death . . .
Now, years later, Kat is still haunted by her sister’s unsolved murder and continues to receive chilling anonymous letters, but she has tried to move on with her life. Until, on the tenth anniversary of Sara’s death, she receives a letter that makes the past impossible to ignore: "What about justice for Sara?" What about justice for Sara? And for herself? Kat realizes that going back to Liberty, Louisiana, might be the only way to move forward and find some peace. And there’s a killer out there who was never caught.
But the town she’s come back to is hardly different from the one she left. The secrets and suspicions still run deep. Kat has an ally in Detective Luke Tanner, son of the former Liberty police chief, but he may be her only one. With plenty of enemies, no one to trust and a killer determined to keep a dark secret buried, Kat must decide if justice is worth fighting—and dying—for.
I have one (1) copy of Justice for Sara to give away.
Giveaway open to residents of the US only.
Giveaway ends on September 4th
Winner will have 48 hours, from the time of notification to confirm their win or another winner will be chosen.