Review: The Last Thing She Ever Did

cover122566-mediumTHE LAST THING SHE EVER DID Written By Gregg Olsen

JANUARY 1, 2018; 380 Pages (Thomas & Mercer)
Genre: suspense, mystery, thriller, gritty, fiction

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

RATING: 4 STARS

This novel is crazy! I mean crazy in a good way.  I will warn you that there are some uncomfortable scenes in this book, so if you don’t like gritty suspense novels, you might want to pass on this one.  Charlie, a young boy, is out of his mother’s sight for several minutes and vanishes.  A neighbour and close friend to his mother knows what happens but coming forward will ruin their lives.  Other than Charlie, all the characters were pretty much selfish jerks.  Yet, I couldn’t wait to see where the story would go and I was flipping through the pages.  What I found interesting was the realism of the split decision moments, but wrestled with the how they reacted to.  There was a twist to the ending, I for once didn’t expect and while I am not sure if I liked the ending it was interesting.  This novel had be glued till the end and that’s what I love!  I recommend this one to my suspense friends.

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Review: The Music Shop

music shopTHE MUSIC SHOP Written By Rachel Joyce

JANUARY 2, 2018; 320 Pages (Doubleday/Random House)
Genre: fiction, humour, literary

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

RATING: 3.5 STARS

I have heard only good things about Rachel Joyce so I was excited when I was approved to read her newest book, the Music Shop. This novel I set in 1988 and 1989 respectively, and it is a time when vinyl records are no longer what music lovers’ purchase. Frank prefers records, and in his music shop that is all he will sell. His gift is that he can find the perfect album for a person, even if that is not what they wanted when they came in. His shop is among other stores on a dead-end street. It is the “beacon” for the down and trodden and the trouble. One day a German girl, Ilse faints in front of his shop and things change for Frank. He falls for her but she is engaged to someone else.

This was a great book for a rainy afternoon. It is a sweet story where nothing huge happens, but that is what makes it realistic. The story also has Frank’s memories with his mother, who give him a love of music. Okay, I am going to admit I glossed over these chapters. Maybe something big happens and I missed it, lol. While the story between Frank and Ilse is sweet, it is the characters around him and the way he can recommend an album that was the most endearing part of the novel. If you like books like, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, The Man Called Ove and The Story of Arthur Truluv you must read this one!

 

 

Review: Enchantress of Numbers: Ada Loveless

34555334ENCHANTRESS OF NUMBERS Written by Jennifer Chiaverini

December 2017; 446 Pages (Dutton)
Genre: historical fiction, history, biography, science/math
Listened to on Audio

(I received an ARC from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY)

RATING: 3 STARS

I have to admit that I became more interested in Ada Lovelace due to her father, Byron. I enjoyed Byron’s poetry and study him and his friends, Mary and Percy Shelley’s work for school. He is a fascinating person in literature history. He also sounds like a huge jerk to people around him. And, the whole thing with his sister is definitely…odd. Then I heard about Ada and all her accomplishments with math and science blew me away. It was so cool that a woman from her class and time was able to get so far. I was so happy to see that Chiaverini was writing a book on her. Chiaverini has most written about American historical figures, especially in the Civil War era. I was really interested in reading this one.

Chiaverini is a good writer and she was able to make Lovelace’s time period come alive. With the narrator’s accent and reading of it I felt like I was there. Chiaverini is great at descriptions and makes her books come alive. However, in that same vain, she is also too detailed. There are moments when it feels like a fact drop. While the time and place comes alive the characters sometimes become neglected as people and driven more by descriptions. The plot and story lines sometimes get lost and moments get dull. I think Chiaverini’s novels could be brilliant if there was a bit more editor input. This book did get me excited to learn more about Ada and Byron. It is hard to say if I recommend this novel.

Book Reviews: History and the Future

 

This weekend I finished two novels written by two authors I have been wanting to try for a long while.  Every time I read a synopsis to a Louise Erdrich‘s book, I want to (and often do) add it to my to-read shelf.  Her books sound so interesting and given all the accolades, they must be well-written.  I even asked to review Erdrich’s latest book, Future Home of the Living God, from the publisher. I hadn’t yet had time to download it to my Kindle, but when I was at the library on Saturday I saw that it was a 7-day loan, and grabbed it.  The book gods must want me to read it now. Who can deny the book gods?  And, amazingly I did start it Saturday and finished it late on Sunday afternoon.

After reading a few of Tasha Alexander and Deanna Raybourn’s historical/romantic mysteries, I kept seeing Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series being recommend to me.  I liked the summary and added that to my list.  After a several books, Willig released a few standalone historical fiction.  When I saw her newest novel, The English Wife was a gothic mystery, I was down to read and review this.  I got my crap together and actually sent it to my kindle! I ended up giving both novels the same rating.

 

34217599FUTURE HOME OF THE LIVING GOD Written by Louise Erdrich

2017; 288 Pages (Harper Collins Canada)
Genre: literary, fiction, dystopia

​​(I received an ARC from the EDELWEISS)

RATING: 3.5 STARS

I did not read the synopsis to this novel and just started in. A few chapters in I realize this is a dystopian novel. I don’t read a lot of dystopia. I try to be cool and read them, but often I lose interest. Yet, The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) is one that blew me away with each reading. So I kept a positive vibe, and I enjoyed this one. Erdrich is a great writer. I was hooked with the characters and to see where they would go. The story was intriguing (and scary af) but I kind of felt like I was lost in some parts. I think that was more because of the diary format or me, lol. I am looking forward to my next Erdrich novel!

 

34945222THE ENGLISH WIFE Written by Lauren Willig

JANUARY 9, 2018; 384 Pages (St. Martin’s Press)
Genre: fiction, historical, gothic, mystery

​​(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

RATING: 3.5 STARS

I didn’t really see this one as a gothic romance with mystery, but more like the books set in the 1940s – romance mystery. It did have some parts that kind of reminded me of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, which I guess were a bit on the “gothic” side. I liked Willig’s writing, but found that the editor could have cut down a bit on the story as it started to lag a bit. I enjoyed seeing the story get tied up. I think had this book been a bit tighter I would have galloped through it as it is a good story with interesting characters.  I am definitely going to read more of her books.

The Story of Arthur Truluv: Review

32918898THE STORY OF ARTHUR TRULUV Written by Elizabeth Berg

Fall 2017; 240 Pages (Random House Canada)
Genre: fiction, literary, humour
Listened to on audio

(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)

I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Berg. Even when I don’t love one of her books I still think it is worth the read. She is a great writer that takes you into the novel and the characters become friends. This book has a lot of heart. At first I wasn’t sure if I would like this one as the “old man still in love with his wife” seems to be a big genre. It’s not that I don’t like the premise, but sometimes when there is a flood of similar books I tend to get sick of it pretty quick. I get judgemental and put high expectations on the next book. In this one, we had two other characters that added to the story line. A young girl, Maddy wants to find someone to love her and see that she exists. Living with her widowed father she may as well not be there. She finds herself pregnant, wanting to keep the baby, but alone. Arthur, has lost the love of his life. They weren’t blessed with children so they had extra love for one another. With his beloved wife gone, he still has love to give. Arthur’s next door neighbour, Lucille has loved one man and has never married. When the man comes back into her life and still wants her, she is ecstatic until he suddenly passes away. After having love again, she feels more alone. These three people, extremely different, find themselves being a family for one another. Instead of tears and sadness, Berg was able to give it humour and heart. It reminded me of another book starring an Arthur, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. I highly recommend this one, and enjoyed the audio.

The Woman in the Window or Rear Window

34848682THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW Written by A.J. Finn

January 2, 2018; 448 Pages (William Morrow)
Genre: psychological thriller, suspense, fiction, standalone

(I received an ARC from the EDELWEISS)

Can you guess what this book is about? From the title and cover, I guessed this was a Rear Window retelling. You can’t beat the original, but it’s always fun to see what someone else’s take on it is. In this book we have a child psychologist who is now an agoraphobic, so her view of the world is through her window or computer. She sees something she shouldn’t have, and no one believes happened. Yada yada yada…the twist wasn’t so much of a twist as there were clues (a la The Sixth Sense – ie pay close enough attention to details). The ending was not bad, but I think because of the hype I was hoping for a little more. I would definitely read another one by Finn.

 

My Lists of 2017

The following are my favourite reads for 2017 – it doesn’t mean that the following books were written in 2017, only that I read them last year. In no particular order.

MY FAVOURITE PICTURE BOOKS:
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1. UNDER-THE-BED FRED Written by Linda Bailey and Illustrated by Colin Jack 

2.  HOORAY FOR BOOKS! Written and Illustrated by Brian Won

3.  CARSON CROSSES CANADA Written by Linda Bailey and Illustrated by Kass Reic

4.  TIETHE TWEEDLES GO ELECTRIC and TWEEDLES GO ONLINE Written by Monica Kulling and Illustrated by Marie Lafrance

5. BLUE CHAIR Written by Cary Fagan and Illustrated by Madeline Koeppler

MY FAVOURITE CHILDREN’S BOOKS:

ttt1. A TRIO OF TOLERABLE TALES Written by Margaret Atwood and Illustrated by Dusan Petricic

2. WOLFIE AND FLY Written Cary Fagan and Illustrated Zoe Si

3. LITTLE WOMEN Written by Lousia May Alcott (reread a million times)

4. GOOD NIGHT STORIES FOR REBEL GIRLS: 100 TALES OF EXTRAORDINARY GIRLS By Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

5. BABY-SITTERS CLUB (Graphic Novels) Written by Ann M. Martin and Illustrated by  Raina Telgemeir 

FAVOURITE YOUNG ADULT BOOKS:

26156987

1. MS MARVEL (Graphic Novels)

2.  PAPER GIRLS (Graphic Novels)

3.  IF I WAS YOUR GIRL Written by Meredith Russo

 

 

9781607749769MY FAVOURITE NONFICTION BOOKS:

1. LOVING BRAVELY Written by Alexandra H. Solomon (Review to come – part of writing project)

2. WOMEN IN SCIENCE Written by Rachel Ignotofsky

3. LOVE SENSE Written by Dr. Sue Johnson (Review to come – part of writing project)

4. GIRL UP Written by Laura Bates

5. BLOOD SWEAT AND FEAR  Written by Eve Lazarus

 

MY FAVOURITE HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS:

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1.  THE NATURALIST Written by Alissa York

2. SYLVANNUS NOW (Sylvannus Now: #1) Written by Donna Morrissey

3. POLDARK Series Written by Winston Graham

 

61f6c9y3G6L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_FAVOURITE HISTORICAL MYSTERY BOOKS:

1. MODERN CRIMES (A WPC Lottie Armstrong Mysteries: #1) Chris Nickson

2. A PERILOUS UNDERTAKING (Veronica Speedwell: #2) Written by Deanna Raybourn

3. WHERE THE DEAD LIE (Sebastian St. Cyr: #12) Written by C.S. Harrsis (Not Yet Reviewed)

4. A GIRL LIKE YOU (Harriet and Inspector Howard: #1) and A RING OF TRUTH (Harriet and Inspector Howard: #2) Written by Michelle Cox (Not Yet Reviewed)

5. THIS SIDE OF MURDER (Verity Kent: #1) Anna Lee Hurber (Not Yet Reviewed)

6. GIRL WAITS FOR GUN (Kopp Sister: #1), LADY COP MAKES TROUBLE (Kopp Sister: #2)  and MISS KOPP’S MIDNIGHT CONFESSIONS (Kopp Sister: #3) Written by Amy Stewart  (Not Yet Reviewed)

 

51EoaKhZDyL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_FAVOURITE ROMANTIC SUSPENSE BOOKS:

1. DEATH AND HER DEVOTION (Rogue Vows: #1) Written by Kendra Elliot BURNED BY HER DEVOTION (Rogue Vows: #2) Written by Melinda Leigh

2. THE DOLLMAKER (Forgotten Files: #2) and THE HANGMAN (Forgotten Files: #3) THE LAST MOVE Written by Mary Burton (Review not done for The Last Move)

3. SILENT SCREAM (Romantic Susepense: #11) Written by Karen Rose  (Not Yet Reviewed)

4. THE OTHER GIRL Written Erica Spindler 

5. THE GRAVE CALLING (Bodies of Evidence: #1) Written by Wendy Roberts

 

25895548FAVOURITE HISTORICAL ROMANCE BOOKS:

THE BROWN-EYED EARL (The Wayward Wallflowers: #1), I DARED THE DUKE (The Wayward Wallflowers: #2) and THE ROGUE IS BACK IN TOWN (The Wayward Wallflowers: #3) Written by Anna Bennett

 

FAVOURITE CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE BOOKS:

51+UmrYyHXL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_1. LEAVE THE NIGHT ON (Cottonbloom: #4) Written by Laura Trentham

2. THE CHRISTMAS COWBOY HERO (Heart of Texas: #1) Written by Donna Grant (Not Yet Reviewed)

3. THE SUMMER THAT MADE US Written by Robyn Carr (Not Yet Reviewed)

4. FOUR FRIENDS Written by Robyn Carr (Not Yet Reviewed)

5. SWEPT AWAY Written by Robyn Carr (Not Yet Reviewed)

 

33229330FAVOURITE EUROPEAN MYSTERY BOOKS:

1. Inspector Banks series Written by Peter Robinson

2. Robyn Carter series Written by Carol Wyer

3. BROTHERS AND SISTERS Written by Adele O’Neill

4. WHEN I WAKE UP Written by Jessica Jarlvi

5. A DARK SO DEADLY Written by Stuart MacBride

6. THE GIRLS NEXT DOOR (Detective Eden Berrisford: #1) and DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU (Detective Eden Berrisford: #2) Written by Mel Sherratt

7. LAST BREATH (Detective Erika Foster: #4) and COLD BLOOD (Detective Erika Foster: #5) Written by Robert Bryndza

8. SLEEP TIGHT (Detective Ruby Preston) Written by Caroline Mitchell

 

FAVOURITE MYSTERY/SUSPENSE BOOKS:

299391481. THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE (Bosch Universe: #28) and THE LATE SHOW (Renee Ballard: #1) Written by Michael Connelly (Not Yet Reviewed)

2. BROTHERHOOD IN DEATH (In Death: #42), APPRENTICE IN DEATH (In Death: #43) and ECHOES IN DEATH (In Death: #44) Written by JD Robb (Not Yet Reviewed)

3. HER EVERY FEAR Written by Peter Swanson

4. RIGHT BEHIND YOU (Quincy and Rainie: #7) Written by Lisa Gardner

our-little-secret-9781501142802_hr5. NEVER LET YOU GO Written by Chevy Stevens 

6. PRETTY GIRLS (Not Yet Reviewed), COP TOWN (Not Yet Reviewed), THE GOOD DAUGHTER and THE KEPT WOMAN (Will Trent: #8) Written by Karin Slaughter

7. OUR LITTLE SECRET Written by Roz Nay (Not Yet Reviewed)

8. EMMA IN THE NIGHT Written by Wendy Walker (Not Yet Reviewed)

9. DOWN A DARK ROAD (Kate Burkholder: #9) Written by Linda Castillo

10. EXPOSED (Rosato and DiNunzio: #5) Written by Lisa Scottoline

 

FAVOURITE LITERARY BOOKS:

97818484550161. THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER Written by Phaedra Patrick

2. MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON (Lucy Barton: #1) and ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE (Lucy Barton: #2) Written by Elizabeth Strout

3. LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE Written by Cynthia Ng (Not Yet Reviewed)

4. ARE YOU SLEEPING Written by Kathleen Barber

 

 

 

The Wayward Wallflowers: Series Review

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During my Christmas break I binge-read the Wayward Wallflowers trilogy by Anna Bennett.  I first discovered Anna Bennett when she wrote the Honeycote series as Anne Barton.  I love the witty banter and steamy chemistry between the hero and heroines and the quirky secondary characters in all the novels.  Spoiler alert I loved this series!

25895548MY BROWN-EYED EARL (The Wayward Wallflowers: #1) Anna Bennett

2016; 333 Pages (St. Martin’s Paperbacks)
Genre: historical romance, fiction, series, romance

(I received a paperback copy from the AUTHOR)

Rating: 

William Ryder, Earl of Castleton, has broken up with his longtime mistress as he is left with his late cousin’s illegitimate twin girls. He is looking for a governess for the girls, but is not expecting the woman that turned him down at a young age.

Orphaned as young girls, Meg and her sisters are taken in by their widower uncle, Wiltshire. He is known as being mad as a hatter and the girls have been dubbed the Wilting Wallflowers. Money is tight so Meg decides to become a governess but didn’t expect the man she jilted to be her new employer.

As the two try to stay out of one another’s way, they are only more attracted to one another. And, as they try to raise the spirited girls they discover their late fathers didn’t share the whole truth behind their former match.

I loved the twins, Diane and Valerie. They each had their own personality that aided in Meg and Will’s romance – kind of like the Parent Trap. The twins remind Meg of her sisters and bring out her maternal side. While Will is getting used to being an Earl and taking care of things, the twins bring out his responsible and loving side. I really enjoyed this novel and couldn’t wait to read book two.

 

30199416I DARED THE DUKE (The Wayward Wallflowers: #2) Anna Bennett

2017; 334 Pages (St. Martin’s Paperbacks)
Genre: historical romance, fiction, series, romance

(I received a paperback copy from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY)

Rating: 

In the second book, we meet Meg’s middle sister, Beth Lacey. Beth has become a companion to Alexander Savage’s, the Duke of Blackshire, dowager grandmother and enjoys it until Alex comes home. Alex is known for his ornery ways, having women seduce him for his prowess and scars from a house fire. Alex has returned home after being poisoned and then having his carriage tampered with. Someone is trying to kill him, and until he finds the killer he needs to move his grandmother to the country. Beth could help him with that but first insists he must grant his grandmother 3 wishes so that she does not feel like he doesn’t want her around. As he dodges further threats, and tries to make his grandmother happy he finds himself falling for the girl he once dubbed the Wilting Wallflower.

I really like Beth’s sassy attitude and Alex’s brooding as their banter and romance is fun. With the hint of mystery and suspense, of who is after Alex, I liked this novel even better than the first book. The dowager and Beth’s uncle steal the show with their humour and endearing moments. This is another fun historical romance.

 

33574144.jpgTHE ROGUE IS BACK IN TOWN (The Wayward Wallflowers: #3) Anna Bennett

JANUARY 2, 2018; 352 Pages (St. Martin’s Paperbacks)
Genre: historical romance, fiction, series, romance

(I received a paperback copy from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY)

Rating: 

Second son, Sam has messed up again and forced his older brother’s hand. If Sam wants to have a home and money he must evict a man from his brother, Nigel’s property. When he goes to the home he discovers that the man is an older man with his niece. As he tries to get them to leave he falls for the niece, Julie.

Julie thinks she loves Nigel, but discovers that he wants her for a mistress not a wife. She discovers that Sam, the rogue is the one worth giving her heart to.

I really enjoyed the first two novels in this trilogy but this one really fell flat. Everything seemed forced in this book. While, I can buy that roguish Sam turns into a prince, but how they come together is quick and less romantic. However, hating Nigel and loving Julie’s uncle saved the book for me and I liked it. I was sad to hear that Charlotte and Alec didn’t get a book…unless there is a spin-off.

 

For more on Anna Bennett and Anne Barton please go to the author’s website!

Book Review: The Kept Woman

kept womanTHE KEPT WOMAN (Will Trent: #8) Written by Karin Slaughter

2016; 461 Pages (William Morrow & Company)
Genre: suspense, mystery, southern, police, murder, standalone

(I received an ARC from the EDELWEISS)

Rating: ★★★★★

WOWEE!!! Karin Slaughter has written another winner. Whenever I start a Slaughter book, I know I will not be doing much of anything else. From the first page I am hooked and I can read fast enough. I received this novel last year but I have been putting it off. I don’t really have many book crushes but Will, well he…is right up there with Gilbert Blythe (From Anne of Green Gables) for me. Slaughter is just amazing at characterization – as much as I love Will and Geoffrey for their flaws, I dislike very strongly Lena and Angie for their selfishness. Slaughter’s writing is not for the faint of heart – it is gritty and dark, very gritty and dark – so be warned.

In this one, Sara is called to a murder where the dead body is that of a police officer. Sara realizes that the extensive amount of blood does not belong to the corpse, but belongs to a woman. They must find the missing woman as she may be close to death with the loss of blood – victim or killer.

The body is found in a night club owned by a basketball star that was accused of rape. A case that Will had been investigating. With high priced lawyers, and other powerful allies, the athlete was able to walk. And if that is not enough on his plate, Angie is back in his life.

This book was a crazy ride – especially an emotional rollercoaster. We get to know Angie’s story. It gives you insight to how she got to be the way she is. I am still not a fan of her but I have moved her from the “hate” column to the “strongly dislike” one. I cannot wait till the next Will Trent book!!!

 

Next month I will be reviewing Slaughter’s standalone novels!

The Other Girl by Erica Spindler: Review and Q&A with Author

the other girlTHE OTHER GIRL Written by Erica Spindler

AUGUST 22, 2017; 352 Pages (St. Martin’s Press)
Genre: suspense, mystery, southern, police, murder, standalone

(I received an ARC from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY)

Rating: ★★★1/2

Officer Miranda Rader of the Hammond PD in Louisiana is trying hard to run away from her past. Everyone, including her own mother and brothers, saw her as heading for trouble and washed their hands of her fourteen years ago. Growing up she had everything to prove to the world – that she is one of the best detectives on the force and has honour. Everything is going well for Miranda until she is named the lead on the brutal murder of a beloved professor, Richard Stark.  Stark’sr father is the president of the college and wants the murder solved soon, without any scandal. Then Miranda finds a clue at the crime scene that is a tie to her own past and the worst time in her life. As she tries to uncover the truth of the victim, Miranda stirs up things that might be turned against her.  The “beloved professor” might in fact be a dark predator.  And, when another body turns up, of a police officer, Miranda is suspected. She has to find the killer before she is arrested.

I have been a fan of Erica Spindler’s writing since I picked up her first book, as I love the suspense she creates.  I enjoyed this book, but it was not the suspense thriller I was expecting.  I expecting a grittier novel.  This one was more of a simple mystery – meaning that you are interested in knowing what is going to happen, but you aren’t enthralled at the edge of your seat. I liked Miranda as a character and the lead, but at times the secondary characters were a bit one sided. I think this was because the author was trying to create more than one suspect in readers’ mind. The killer (and ending) is a bit predictable but I still enjoyed this novel. Miranda is interesting and I am hoping we will see more of her and the town.

 

Erica-Spindler1Q&A with Erica Spindler:

Q: Start by telling us a little about The Other Girl and what inspired the story?

A: In THE OTHER GIRL, the grisly murder of a popular college professor, forces Detective
Miranda Rader to face the traumatic past she thought she’d buried. It leads her on a quest for justice that may cost her everything—even her life. A real life event close to home inspired THE OTHER GIRL. I live in a family-oriented, bedroom community of New Orleans. One afternoon the news exploded with the account of an attempted abduction of a young girl walking home from her bus stop. The girl managed to escape and the
perp got away. As you can imagine, the story was everywhere and on everyone’s lips for days. She’s interviewed, her parents are on TV. But no arrests are made, and the case goes silent. Until—the sheriff appears on TV and announces the girl made up the whole thing. I was shocked. The girl’s identity is known—so now everyone thinks she’s a liar. All her friends, teachers, family, neighbors. Everybody. What if she really was telling the truth? How would that impact her life now—and in the future? Would she bury the past? Would she long for justice? And what if she wasn’t the only girl? What about justice for them? These questions are at the heart of both this story and my main character, Miranda.

Q: Can you give us a look into the character development process, more specifically how you developed protagonist Miranda Rader?

A: I started with the “What if no one believed you question” and built my character from there, by asking more questions, defining who she is at the time of the incident—and how do I make it believable no one backs her up. Then I tackled all the ways that might have changed her life. For example, I decided she would have felt powerless against the system, so she would choose to become part of it as an adult—and what’s more empowering than a badge and a gun? This really is a psychologically driven thriller, and my end goal was justice and healing, so every decision I made had to pass the test: Will this take me a step closer to that goal.

Q: How would you describe your writing process, including getting started, conducting research, and knowing when a work is complete?

A: Beginning always starts with what I call my “Dark Gift” moment. It a goosebumps reaction to something that happens to me personally, or in my personal sphere. And it starts the worst-case-scenario, what-if snowball rolling. I usually brainstorm on paper a lot. Jotting ideas, plot points, bits of dialogue, character characteristics, or whatever. The good stuff keeps coming back, the other just falls away. I do whatever research I need to start the book, then research as I go. (I don’t love research.) I’ve recently discovered a screenwriting book titled Save The Cat by Blake Snyder and have started incorporating his notecard, three act process and have found it very helpful.  When I think I have enough of a direction, I open a document on the computer and begin. There are days writing is the hardest job ever, and other days when it’s heaven on earth—and lots of
days in between. For me, I know it’s done when all the threads are tied up and I get this euphoric feeling of satisfaction—not for having finished, but for my characters. It their happy ending, after all.

Q: Tell us about your influences, from all-time favorite authors to most inspirational works. Additionally, are there any recent titles you’d recommend?

A: Down here in south Louisiana, we’re known for our gumbo. It started with the cajuns, who would throw whatever they had in an abundance into the pot to make a rich, flavorful stew. That’s the way I think of my influences—horror like Stephen King and Peter Straub; Glitz and Glamour like Judith Krantz and Sidney Sheldon; childhood influences like the Trixie Beldon and Nancy Drew mysteries; the Gothic Suspense from my teens years, like Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart; and the Contemporary Romance like Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown they all come together in my stories to create this complex and, hopefully, tasty mix.

Q: What would you say is the greatest writing tip you have for aspiring writers?
A: How about three instead? Believe in yourself, learn from your mistakes, and keep your butt inthe chair!

Q: When did you know being a writer was what you wanted to do? What was the moment like when you realized it was becoming a reality? Was the path to publication a linear one?

A: I always thought I wanted to be a visual artist, which is what I’m trained for. I’d completed my MFA and lined up a University teaching job for the fall. Then I caught the writing bug. A cashier dropped a free Nora Roberts novel into my shopping bag; I read it and was hooked. Although a big reader all my life, I’d never read romance. After a months-long reading frenzy, I decided I had to try to write one. The minute I put pen to paper, I knew I had found my true calling. I never looked back. As for a linear path to publication—if that includes rejections, rewrites, rejections, rewrites, yes it was linear. My very first novel, rewritten several times, is still in a drawer. I’ve nicknamed it Fatally Flawed, because I made every mistake a beginning writer can make. It’s my learning
curve, I’m proud of that fact, and it will never to see the light of publication. Promise!

Q: What would you say makes The Other Girl stand out amongst other popular thrillers from the last few years?

A: There have been so many awesome thrillers published in the last few years! What I hope stands out about THE OTHER GIRL is it’s main character’s authentic journey as she relives past trauma and fights for justice. I think readers will really like her and be rooting for her.

Q: Do you have any creative rituals for when you sit down to write?

A: Coffee. More coffee. And chocolate. Seriously dark chocolate.

Q: When you’re writing a suspense novel such as The Other Girl, how do you go about mapping out the plot? Did you know the ending ahead of time, or did you let the story unfold as you wrote?

A: In writing circles, you’re either a plotter or a pantser (as in the seat of your pants.) I’m
actually a bit of both. Some things I know. How it begins, who the hero is—and who the villain is. I also start out knowing what the hero desires—or thinks she desires.
I know the crime, or crimes, that make the plot move, and also what the hero has to learn from this journey. Everything else is the magic that happens as I’m writing—the story and characters take on a life of their own and things happen that I never could have planned beforehand.

Q: Are there any pieces of you in any characters in The Other Girl?

A: Yes, definitely. In all my books, there’re are bits and pieces of me scattered about. (Sounds like crime scene!) And my heroic characters are always colored with my world view.

Q: Are you a fan of Law and Order: SVU?

A: Nope, I don’t watch. I don’t want to be influenced by some cool plot twist or crime scenedetail they come up with. I do sometimes watch true crime and things like forensic files.

Q: What’s your favorite psychological thriller?

A: One of my all time favorite novels is Ghost Story by Peter Straub. Another is Along Came a Spider by James Patterson, and The Shining by Stephen King. The list goes on!

 

Erica-Spindler4_thErica’s Bio:

Catching a summer cold changed Erica Spindler’s life forever.

Up until that fateful malady, Erica planned on being an artist. She had studied for that profession, earning both a BFA and MFA in the visual arts. Then in June of 1982, she stopped at a local drugstore to pick up cold tablets and tissues; the cashier dropped a free romance novel into her bag. She hadn’t read a romance in years but once home, with nothing to do but sniffle and watch daytime TV, she picked that romance up — and was immediately hooked. For the next six months she read every romance she could get her hands on. Sometime during those months, she decided to try to write one herself.

The moment she put pen to paper, Erica knew she had found her true calling. Since that day, Erica has published more than twenty novels. Her titles have been published all over the world and Red was turned into both a wildly popular graphic novel and daytime drama in Japan. Critics have dubbed her stories as “thrill-packed, page turners, white knuckle rides, and edge-of-your- seat whodunits.”

Erica is a USA TODAY, New York Times and Amazon.com bestseller. In 2002, her novel Bone Cold won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence. An RWA honor roll member, she received a Kiss of Death award for her novel Forbidden Fruit and is a three-time RITA award finalist. In 1999 Publishers Weekly awarded the audio version of her novel Shocking Pink a Listen-Up award, naming it one of the best audio mystery books of 1998.

Erica and her husband — a man she describes as funny, handsome and way too sassy — met in art school and have been together ever since. They have two sons, born nine and a half years apart. Erica makes her home in the New Orleans area, although she originally hailed from Illinois.

Erica came to her present home in much the same way she came to writing — fate intervened. She and her husband, then college students, traveled to New Orleans to see the King Tut exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Without advance tickets, they had a choice: wait in line all day or spend the day sightseeing. They chose the latter and fell head-over-heels in love with the city.

Erica is currently at work on her next thriller for St. Martin’s Press.