Who or what influenced your writing over the years? In terms of my actual writing it would be reading other works by amazing writers in my genre. They made me want to get better. I always read as both a reader and a writer. Read for enjoyment while keeping an eye out for exactly what the writer is doing and how they’re doing it. I will read books by Karin Slaughter, John Hart, Gillian Flynn and John Hart over and over again to learn from them.
What made you want to be a writer? Writing was just always how I made sense of my world. When I was confused about things, I would write about them in some way whether it was a journal or through a story of some kind. It always helped me figure things out. It was also a great escape. When life was kind of sucky, I would write and it would take me away for hours and hours. It was always a good release for me.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? Definitely the second draft! The draft where you’re going through to make sure that things make sense, that everything is consistent, filling in things that need filling and fleshing out things that need to be fleshed out. I love writing the first draft because it’s so easy; and once the actual book is complete, it’s easy to work with, but that in-between stage where you’re still tweaking a lot of things is very frustrating and painfully slow for me.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? It taught me a lot about the psychology of people who are abducted and held captive. Everyone always wonders why they didn’t just leave or escape. I think people find this phenomenon so hard to wrap their minds around, and yet it happens to varying degrees all around us every day. Women stay with men who are physically and emotionally abusive. Children don’t breathe a word when a trusted adult is abusing them. Rapes go unreported every single day. Usually people in Claire’s situation have been so broken down emotionally and physically by daily abuse and deprivation that the only things they have the stamina to fight for are the simple things we all take for granted: food, a blanket, things like that. Everything becomes about survival. When a captor is able to reduce a person to that level, they seem all-powerful and the terror of what they might do if you attempt escape and fail is so great that it is paralyzing.
Do you intend to make writing a career? I would love to write full-time if I could but I don’t think that is feasible. But yes, this is going to be a career for me. I intend to keep producing the best work I can and offer it to readers.
Have you developed a specific writing style? I think so. My writing is very spare and that is for a reason. I don’t like reading books where writers get bogged down in minute description. I like to envision things in my own mind so a general guideline from the writer is enough for me—then I can create the rest in my own mind. I don’t like descriptions that go on for pages and pages so I don’t do that to readers. I try to leave a lot to each individual reader’s imagination, especially since every reader brings his or her own filters, beliefs, likes, dislikes, etc to the reading experience.
Genre – Psychological Thriller / Crime Fiction
Rating – R