September 5, 2022
Best-selling author Joy Jordan-Lake's historical mystery, A BEND OF LIGHT, drops readers into a quiet coastal village five years after post–World War II America, where the past and present secrets collide.
Amie Stilwell, a photo interpreter for an Allied unit in England, returns to her hometown in Maine. Jobless and discouraged but stubbornly resourceful, she moves in with Shibby Travis, the surrogate mother with whom Amie never lost touch.
There, the unexpected also awaits for her. It begins with a silent, abandoned boy is found with a note from a stranger pleading that he be watched over. Amie and Shibby take him in, but the mysteries multiply when a Boston socialite is found dead in a nearby barn and an old friend, believed to be a casualty of war, suddenly reappears. Trained to see what others cannot, to scan for clues, and to expose enemies, Amie uses her skills to protect the child, solve a crime, and find the motive behind a veteran’s masquerade. Through the hazy filter of a town’s secrets, Amie must also confront her own painful past.
Josie and Joy discuss Joy’s historical research, her approach to creating a small town with all its insular nuances juxtaposed with how its residents will open their hearts toward strangers; and why redemption is such a big part of her novel.
August 10, 2022
In Rhys Bowen’s latest historical novel, WHERE THE SKY BEGINS, London during WWII is seen through the eyes of Josie Banks, and East Ender, a plain-spoken East Ender in a bad marriage, with no job, and one talent: making a decent cuppa.
Evacuated to the English countryside, Josie ends up on the estate of the aristocratic: Miss Harcourt, a reluctant host to the survivors of the Blitz.
Awed as she is by the magnificent landscape, Josie convinces Miss Harcourt to let her open a humble tea shop on the estate, seeing it as a chance for evacuees and villagers to begin again and possibly thrive.
When Josie meets Mike Johnson, a handsome Canadian pilot stationed at a neighboring bomber base, a growing intimacy brings her an inner peace she’s never felt before.
Then Stan returns from the war.
Now a threat looms larger than anyone imagined. And a dangerous secret is about to upend Josie’s life again. Her newfound courage will be tested if she is to emerge, like a survivor, triumphant.
Rhys and I discuss how and when this story came to her, the research that took her into one of England’s most devastating wars, and why she loves to pivot in and out of writing mysteries—all great stuff from this prolific writer.
You'll find WHERE THE SKY BEGINS on Amazon, or you can get it from your local bookstore now.
June 21, 2022
In the Movieland — the fourth book in the Eve Ronin thriller series — bestselling author Lee Goldberg’s plot, parallels a true and recent ongoing investigation that concerns a shooter whose stalking ground is a national park in and around Malibu Canyon. As always, Lee peppers the plot with several possible suspects, dirty politics, investigative shenanigans, and plenty of great detective work by Sherrif Detective Eve Ronin and her soon-to-be retiring partner, Duncan Pavone.
And, as always, you’ll be at the edge of your seat until the very last plot twist.
Lee and I discuss the depth of his research, his always great dialogue; his spot-on pacing; and how the tension that exists between Eve and her family and her department is the driving force to making her the best investigator she can be. He also brings great insights on ageism in Hollywood (it’s not just against actors); And, should your book get optioned for TV or Film, the best answers to give producers as to how much you’d like to be involved. What he says may surprise you.
June 5, 2022
Wouldn’t it be great if real life was just like television?
In debut romcom novelist Meredith Schorr’s AS SEEN ON TV, her main character, Adina Geller, takes that concept to the online magazine editor she’s trying to impress. He tells her to run with it.
She’s hell-bent to do just that in the hope that the fee from the article will not only allow her to pay the rent she shares with her loving single mother, Valerie but lead to a full-time job.
But there’s only one way which town she’s chosen, Pleasant Hollow, is anything Hallmark TV episode: Adina has a meet-cute with the charming guy in town: Finn Adams. Wait—not so fast: since Finn leads the developer’s project that will change everything about Pleasant Hollow, he’s also the one person standing in the way of making her article a reality. But there’s more to Finn—and Pleasant Hollow—that meets the eye.
Meredith and I discuss her process in concepting this romantic comedy. Why romcom plots need some darkness in between the humor, and why persistence is the key to an aspiring writer—or for that matter, an author’s—longevity in creating books. What she says will resonate with those who write—and read—about happily ever afters.
May 19, 2022
From USA TODAY and #1 national bestselling author Samantha M. Bailey comes this tense psychological thriller about a mother who must keep watch at all times if she wants to keep her family safe.
Sarah Goldman, mother to six-year-old Jacob, is relieved to move across the country. She has a lot she wants to leave behind, especially Holly Monroe, the pretty twenty-two-year-old babysitter she and her husband, Daniel, hired to take care of their young son last summer. It started out as a perfect arrangement—Sarah had a child-minder her son adored, and Holly found the mother figure she’d always wanted. But Sarah’s never been one to trust very easily—and one day, she saw something so shocking that all she could do was flee.
This spine-tingling, page-turning novel is psychological suspense at its very best—a chilling look at trust, voyeurism, and obsession in the modern age, and how far we will go to watch out for those we love.
Samantha and I discuss her journey to getting publishing, how the plot came to her, and her process in keeping readers turning the pages.
WATCH OUT FOR HER is in bookstores now.
February 28, 2022
In best-selling author Lisa Barr’s latest thrill, WOMAN ON FIRE, rising young journalist, Jules Roth, is given an unusual—and very secret—assignment: locate a painting stolen by the Nazis more than 75 years earlier: It is the final request of World-renowned shoe designer Ellis Baum, who has a special relationship with the painting and knows his time on Earth in short.
But a cunning art gallery owner is also searching for the painting. Heir to her art collector family’s millions, Margaux de Laurent is renowned for getting everything she wants—and the only thing standing in her way is Jules. Helping Jules is Adam Baum, Ellis’s grandson. A recovering addict and brilliant artist in his own right, Adam was once in Margaux’s clutches. He knows how ruthless she is, and he’ll do anything to help Jules locate the painting before Margaux gets to it first.
A thrilling tale of secrets, love, and sacrifice that illuminates the destructive cruelty of war and greed and the triumphant power of beauty and love, Woman on Fire tells the story of an exquisite work of art that burns bright, moving through hands, hearts, and history.
February 7, 2022
Rea Frey’s latest novel, the compelling family saga, SECRETS OF OUR HOUSE tells the story of Desi, a wife and mother who thrives for perfection: both at work and at home—
But then real life gets in the way.
This story of two intertwined families—tested by a terminal illness, Mother Nature, and the deep dark secret that Desi has held onto through her marriage—is what gives the characters in SECRETS OF OUR HOUSE its bittersweet resonance—and it’s explosive ending.
I talk to Rea Frey about how this plot came to her; The research she did on surviving the harshest forces of nature—something her characters must do; Why it’s important to allow our children to follow their own paths; And why revealing the secrets and lies we feel may destroy us may in fact set us free.
January 17, 2022
In USA Today best-selling author Kaira Rouda's latest domestic suspense novel, SOMEBODY'S HOME, the sale of house isn't a fresh start, but the beginning of a nightmare.
Julie Jones has left her suffocating marriage. Although it’s on the wrong side of the tracks in Oceanside, California, she's hoping that her new house is the first step toward a new life with her teenage daughter, Jess.
However, the previous owners have left something—or rather someone—behind…
Tom Dean has a seething hatred for the father who considers him a lost cause. He’s now extended his malice to the woman who has purchased the only home he’s ever known. She thinks he’ll be gone in three days, but Tom has the perfect plan for this single mother and her daughter.
Before the weekend is over, somebody is going to get exactly what they deserve.
Kaira and I discuss where she gets her novel premises, her process for bringing her everyday characters to life, how young adults become disenfranchised from the rest of the world and cajoled into domestic terrorism, and why it’s important to lift the curtain on the dark side of our everyday lives.
November 2, 2021
In Yasmin Angoe contemporary debut thriller, HER NAME IS KNIGHT, an elite assassin heroine on a mission to topple a human trafficking ring and avenge her family.
Stolen from her Ghanaian village as a child, Nena Knight has plenty of motives to kill. Now an elite assassin for a powerful business syndicate called the Tribe, she gets plenty of chances.
But while on assignment in Miami, Nena ends up saving a life, not taking one. She emerges from the experience a changed woman, finally hopeful for a life beyond rage and revenge. Tasked with killing a man she’s come to respect, Nena struggles to reconcile her loyalty to the Tribe with her new purpose.
Meanwhile, she learns a new Tribe council member is the same man who razed her village, murdered her family, and sold her into captivity. Nena can’t resist the temptation of vengeance—and she doesn’t want to. Before she can reclaim her life, she must leverage everything she was and everything she is to take him down and end the cycle of bloodshed for good.
Yasmin and I discuss how and when the premise came to her; how family is embedded deeply in the story—both in its plot and as inspiration for the concept—and why women as assassin protagonists are finally enjoying acceptance: from publishing editors and readers.
October 26, 2021
In GATED PREY, prolific thriller writer and television producer Lee Goldberg’s third novel in the Eve Ronin crime fiction novel series, her supposedly simple 24-7 sting operation takes a violent and unexpected turn, leaving three intruders dead, and a body count that nearly includes Los Angeles Sheriff's Detective Eve and her soon-to-be retired partner ,Duncan. Eve’s bosses are eager to declare the case closed, but there are too many unanswered questions for her to let go. Was the trap actually for Eve as bloody payback for her very public takedown of a clique of corrupt deputies? Or is there an even deadlier secret lurking behind those opulent gates?
Eve’s refusal to back down and her relentless quest for the truth make her both the hunter…and the prey.
Lee and I discuss his research for the book; the toll of Eve’s physical and emotional grief on her psyche, and her strength; why it’s easy to make Duncan so lovable; and—LISTEN UP!—some very interesting projects he has on the horizon.
September 13, 2021
Hank Phillippi Ryan’s latest thriller, HER PERFECT LIFE, Lily Atwood, is an award-winning on-air television reporter with a seemingly perfect life. A job she loves that earns her incredible celebrity status, a seven-year-old loving daughter, Rowen, who goes to a posh private school; and the perfect beautiful home in a safe neighborhood. But not everything is as perfect as it seems. Lily has several dark secrets—including the fact that her older sister disappeared when Lily was Rowen’s age.
This chilling psychological standalone has received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, which called it "A superlative thriller." It has also garnered a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and is now nominated for the Anthony Award for Best Novel, and the iconic Mary Higgins Clark Award.
Like protagonist Lily, Hank is also a television news reporter. She and I discuss how the idea of this plot came to her; what about Lily’s on-air career mirrors her own; and how she overcomes the doubt every author faces: writing that next novel.
August 13, 2021
In Liza Nash Taylor’s latest historical novel, IN ALL GOOD FAITH the lives of two women—May Marshall and Dorrit Sykes—intersect in the Great Depression: The era’s economic hardships turn both their lives turned upside down in heartbreaking ways. How they survive makes it worth revisiting one of the most tumultuous periods of the 20th Century America.
I talk to Liza about her research into bank failures, hobo life, and Hoovervilles. We also discuss how knitting kept her sane through the Covid lockdown, as well as how it inspired a future book. Liza and I also talk about why we must keep reinventing ourselves: something her heroines did not just to survive, but to thrive.
July 13, 2021
In Kristin Contino’s contemporary novel, A House full of Windsor, divorced mother Debbie has such an obsession of the British Royal Family to the point that her hoarding of Royal knickknacks leads her grown children to go to desperate measures. Their form of intervention: convincing her to partake in a reality television show that helps hoarders confront the underlying issues of their mania. By juxtaposing Debbie’s voice with that of her eldest daughter Sarah, Contino reveals the underlying sorrow about a young, hasty marriage and its overriding affects on Sarah and her siblings.
Through a heartfelt and humorous plot, all the players find a way to heal, move forward, and in the case of the novel’s two heroines, find the love that has eluded them.
Kristin and I discuss how she came up with the book’s plot, her own love of all things British, and how she found the inspiration to revisit this story after having set it aside.
June 29, 2021
In the novel, CHOOSE ME, prolific authors Tess Gerritsen and Gary Braver have collaborated on a thriller that introduces Frankie Loomis, a tough-as-nails police detective whose investigation of a college student’s fatal plunge from a balcony is so finely layered with possible suspects that it will keep you guessing until the end if it was suicide or a murder.
Tess and Gary discuss why they enjoyed the collaboration; why it was great to see how each approached dialogue—both the men’s and women’s—from each other’s points of view; and why they chose to make Frankie a woman of a certain age.
We also discuss two very important issues specific to authors: when using a pen name works well; and why the laws that protect Intellectual Property need to be strengthened, especially in circumstances when novels are adapted to movies or television.
February 12, 2021
In Black Coral, master magician and prolific novelist Andrew Mayne’s second thriller of his Sloan McPherson series—Mayne’s take-no-prisoners detective, a diver with her police force’s newly formed Underwater Investigation Unit—stumbles across a submerged car in an alligator-infested canal.
It turns out that the bodies inside belong four to missing persons—teenagers presumed runaways. This decades-long cold case is just one piece in a string of similar vanishings—and if Sloan’s team is correct, the work of a serial killer hiding in plain sight.
But Sloan will do anything to catch him—even if it means being his perfect victim.
Andrew and I discuss how Sloan’s unorthodox past makes her an unlikely albeit a successful detective; and how he channels his Florida childhood to create stories about the secrets that lie beneath the water’s edge. We also talk about his own ties to law enforcement; and how his profession as a master illusionist has helped form his approach for writing tight, taut suspenseful novels.
February 1, 2021
In prolific screenwriter Daniel Pyne’s latest thriller, WATER MEMORY—Black Ops specialist Aubrey Sentro may be one concussion away from death. But when pirates seize the cargo ship she’s on, she must decide whether to risk her life to save her fellow passengers.
As she plays their deadly game of cat and mouse, she pushes herself to survive by focusing on thoughts of her children. She’s never told them what she really does for a living, and now she might not get the chance.
While her memories make her vulnerable, motherhood makes her dangerous.
Daniel and I also discuss his process for writing the novel his first series, and the similarities and differences between writing for film and television as opposed to novels.
January 11, 2021
There are tiger moms. And then there is Rachel Marin, Jason Pinter’s protagonist in the thriller series that bears her name. Pinter has given Rachel a very unique skill set: she has an uncanny ability to see clues that crime scene investigators may miss.
She is also a lethal killer.
In A STRANGER AT THE DOOR—the second book of series—when danger lands on Rachel’s doorstep with the threat of harming her young family, she has a vested interest in solving the heinous murder of a local high school teacher.
Jason and I discussed the twists and turns of this suspense-filled thriller. We also talk small towns and the evil that may lurk behind those perfect white picket fences.
January 3, 2021
In BONE CANYON—prolific author and television producer-writer Lee Goldberg’s second book in his Eve Ronin series—charred bones found in the aftermath of a devastating Santa Monica Mountains fire embroils his protagonist in a conspiracy that puts her hard-fought position on the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department in jeopardy—not to mention her life.
Lee and I discuss how he approaches the research for his books, why he believes that making life for Eve, a rookie cop, complicated and messy, both in her personal and her professional relationships makes her a more satisfying heroine, and the most important thing he feels every author should do to be successful in their careers.
December 11, 2020
In the second novel in the Village of Primm series—The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks—novelist Julie Valerie turns up the heat in her satirical domestic comedy of a wife, mother, and aspiring filmmaker who clings to the pursuit of perfection, only to have fate play with her plan at every turn.
Julie and I discuss her heroine, Holly Banks, who soon discovers that her new neighborhood of über mommies have good reason to doubt that their highly coveted planned community is less than perfect—especially when a dark secret leads to some dire circumstances in their community.
We also talk about Julie's insights on those parents in the book whose mission is giving their families a perfect life—and the pitfalls that make that impossible, even in a community that prides itself on premiere schools, perfect lawns, and in the case of the Village of Primm, the crowning glory of its topiary garden: a forty-foot peacock (peahen?) that turns out to be the ideal example of what can go wrong does go wrong.
The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks in Amazon Now. You can also order it through your local bookstore.
September 1, 2020
Josie and her guest, Robert Dugoni, discuss his latest thriller, The Last Agent—the second book in his Charles Jenkins series.
The novel’s non-stop fast-paced plot revolves around the ultimate heist: the exfiltration of the undercover Russian Operative who once saved Jenkins’s life. Every step of the way—from Moscow to Scandinavia to the open ocean—Jenkins is hunted by a brutal Russian agent on a killer quest of his own.
You can order Robert Dugoni’s novel, The Last Agent, right now, through Amazon.
You can read an article including this interview in THE BIG THRILL: http://bit.ly/BigThrillLastAgent
April 3, 2020
In Samantha M. Bailey’s debut thriller WOMAN ON THE EDGE, a mother hands her infant daughter to a stranger before falling to her death in front of a subway train. That is, the woman given the child claims they've never met.
But there is enough evidence to prove otherwise. If she's lying, it's because she has a lot to gain: the child she's always wanted, AND access to the fortune the child will one day inherit.
In other words, WOMAN ON THE EDGE has all the right elements for a taut, breakneck domestic thriller.
Sam and I discuss how the concept for her novel came to her, and why the book's plot hits home with so women. And having personally known Sam since WOMAN ON THE EDGE began it’s journey to publication, if your an aspiring author seeking insights and inspiration, our discussion on that process is one you won’t want to miss.
January 28, 2020
In New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni’s latest thriller, A COLD TRAIL, Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite returns home to Cedar Grove, where a brutal murder and her haunted past come to a crossroads.
There her husband, lawyer Dan O’Leary, is drawn into representing a local merchant whose business is jeopardized by the town’s revitalization. At the same time, Tracy is urged by the local Police Department to put her own skills to work on a new case: the brutal murder of the new police chief’s wife who was also local reporter investigating a cold-case slaying of a young woman.
As Tracy’s and Dan’s cases crisscross, Tracy may have put everyone she loves at risk.
Josie and Robert talk about the genesis for the book's plot, a family recipe for great spaghetti sauce (hint: a family recipe) and the REAL Tracy Crosswhite.
August 29, 2019
Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke’s latest psychological thriller—The Two Lila Bennetts—has been lauded by Authorlink as an imaginative and unpredictable story of modern life, the choices we make and their consequences.” BookTrib calls it a “‘whose-doing-it’ masterpiece.”
And Publisher’s Weekly declares: "its flawless pacing will keep readers on the edge of their seats."
I had the opportunity of talking to this bestselling dynamic author duo about the book’s plot and their creative process for weaving two voices into stories that keep readers turning the pages to see what will happen next.
ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF "THE TWO LILA BENNETTS"
April 29, 2019
Today's guest is the prolific suspense novelist Debra Webb, a USA-Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author with over one hundred and fifty books to her name.
Debra’s latest novel, THE SECRETS WE BURY, is the first in a new romantic suspense series whose protagonist, Dr. Rowan Dupont—formally Nashville, Tennessee Police Department’s forensic psychologist—also happens to be an undertaker’s daughter.
Rowan, who comes from the small town of Winchester Tennessee, is haunted by the mysterious drowning death of her twin sister. Between her mother’s subsequent suicide and the recent murder of her father, returning to Winchester to run the funeral home feels fitting—even if it leaves her vulnerable to an obsessive serial killer.
Debra and I not only discussed her plotting and how her own past affects her writing, she also has sage advice to authors just starting out: "If what you write is what readers want to read, don't deviate from what works best for them—and for you."
February 26, 2019
In the 10th novel in the Deborah Coonts’ series, LUCKY CE SOIR, Coont’s heroine, a fixer at the mythical and very posh Vegas Strip hotel, the Babylon, puts her business life on hold in order to meet the parents of her fiancé, the noted French chef Jean-Charles Boucle, only to stumble into a murder mystery that might destroy the Bouclet family’s reputation in the high-stakes industry of top-flight French wines.
December 28, 2018
James Rollins has written enough bestselling novels to fill a tall bookcase. In most of them, a historical event, or artifact, is the catalyst for a modern-day catastrophe. Sometimes Rollins will find the perfect plot concept from reading an article. Sometimes it’s sparked from his travels. For his latest novel, CRUCIBLE, it came from a place that even surprised him. (You'll have to hear the interview to find out where.)
In CRUCIBLE, the Spanish Inquisition is the catalyst for a religious cult's modern-day witch hunt in the not-too-distant-future. Fair warning: should the events depicted in this novel come to pass and scientists soon develop an artificial intelligence capable of warp-speed learning capacity, fact will be much scarier than fiction.
Click here to read the feature article accompanying this podcast interview in TheBigThrill.org
November 30, 2018
According to internationally bestselling author David Baldacci, when you’ve written as many books as he has—ten series, or a total of thirty books, and counting; and another twelve stand-alone novels—there is one way to keep his writing razor-sharp: “Start from Square One: create a new character, a new series—a new world.”
With his latest novel, LONG ROAD TO MERCY, Baldacci has done just that. His new protagonist, female FBI agent Atlee Pine, must cover a desolate Far West outpost on her own. And although its size is intimidating—it includes Grand Canyon National Park—Atlee is strongly motivated to succeed. She sees it as a way to avenge the tragic death of her twin sister, Mercy, who was abducted by a serial killer when the girls were only six years old.
David and I talked about his process in creating new, complex characters and weaving real-time geopolitical incidents into a heart-pounding plot.
Click here to read the accompanying feature interview with David in TheBigThrill.org
November 1, 2018
The iconic loner anti-hero, Jack Reacher, has made thriller writer Lee Child an internationally renowned author.
Child’s debut novel, Killing Floor—the first of 23 Reach books—won both the Anthony and the Barry awards for Best First Mystery.
The 9th novel, THE ENEMY, won both the Barry and the Nero awards for Best Novel and became a film starring Tom Cruise.
I interviewed Lee about the latest book in the series, PAST TENSE, in which a turn in the road takes Jack to his long-deceased father’s hometown, where the ghosts of his past aren’t necessarily dead and buried.
Click here to read the accompanying feature article with Lee at TheBigThrill.org
September 17, 2018
New York Times best-selling author Kristan Higgins’ eighteenth novel, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, follows three women—best pals Emerson, Marley, and Georgia—whose lifetime battles with obesity were the bonds that brought them together. The death of one provides the catalyst for self discovery, change, and acceptance for the other two.
August 13, 2018
If you’re a novelist, the best way to make lemonade from a lemon of a non-fiction book deal gone awry is to repurpose it into a thriller that garners numerous enthusiastic reviews and a slot several best-sellers’ lists.
With her latest stand-alone novel, TRUST ME, Five-time Agatha award-winner Hank Phillippi Ryan has done exactly that. I talked to her about this latest thriller as well as how she varies her process when writing a stand-alone novel as opposed to her Jane Ryland series.
Click here to read the accompanying feature article with Hank in TheBigThrill.org