To celebrate the latest release of these two romantic suspense novels (Unhinge: A Novel by Calia Read and Never Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy), the authors have put together a fun Q&A for us!! They have both released thrillers, and you know me ‘n thrillers. RIGHT. UP. MY. DARK. ALLEY!!! So I can’t wait to see what they have to say.
You guys will remember Calia Read from her last twisty psych-thriller romance, Unravel. That one had a few gotchas that delightfully freaked out a few of my fellow readers, here!! And Monica Murphy is one of our queens of NA, and I remember her awesomeness from all the way back when I went crazy over indie NA romance novels. Remember One Week Girlfriend? That was a HUGE hit!!
Jen: Drew Callahan from Monica Murphy’s One Week Girlfriend? Poor tortured college student. The guilt he has in this book is heart breaking! I love Monica Murphy’s One Week Girlfriend Series! The best!
Theresa: Never Tear Us Apart sounds twisted!!!
Marit: Ooooh, I’ve just finished Unravel by Calia Read! Beautiful and twisted story with surprises! I couldn’t put it down A must read!
Amy: Remember the GREAT mindscrew of Unravel? Well, Unhinge is about the lady we saw briefly in the psych hospital who was holding the baby doll. … I love Calia Read’s books. Mmmmm, Thayer Sloan…
So let’s see what these authors are up to!
P.S. I LOVED how they discussed the new trend-possibility of new adult going “psych-thriller/romantic suspense”!! That’s exactly what I’m into lately, and wasn’t that what a few of us wished for, in the new year? As Amy so eloquently put it… “New trend – MINDF&%KS!!!!!!” <— Tee hee!!! YAY US!
Monica Murphy: I’m so excited to have the chance to chat with Calia Read today! Calia, we both use alternating timelines to tell our stories – have you had any challenges when writing with this style?
Calia Read: The biggest challenge for me is making sure that the past and present scenes easily flow into the next. I don’t want one scene to feel like it came out of nowhere. It’s a lot of hard work, but I always love seeing the end product! My hope for the reader is that it has them turning the pages, that when one past scene finishes, another puzzle piece clicks into place and helps them better understand the main character. Do you think the non-linear narrative benefits the reader?
Monica: Well, at times it was hard for me to remember what happened when. But I would say the biggest challenge was ensuring that the non-linear narrative made actual sense for the reader. I think this narrative helps the reader relive exactly what the characters went through when we delve back into their pasts. I know I enjoy reading this sort of past/present narrative – as I did when reading your book, UNHINGE. Calia, I’m curious – were there any books, TV shows or movies that influenced your writing?
Calia: A huge influence for the Fairfax Series would be Girl, Interrupted. Hands down.
Monica: It’s embarrassing to admit but reality TV always seems to influence my writing! Bravo owns me. I also like to watch documentaries and true crime shows – they definitely influenced NEVER TEAR US APART.
Calia, UNHINGE is the second in the Fairfax series following UNRAVEL. What drew you to the romantic suspense genre?
Calia: When Unravel was published two years ago, Naomi’s story was different and new and that’s what I loved so much about it — it was a breath of fresh air and a challenge for me because I sometimes had no idea where the story would go. I let Naomi and Victoria take control. There was many times where my heart was racing writing a scene. That’s what draws me in time and again!
Monica, do you see more New Adult gravitating towards romantic suspense in the future?
Monica: I’ve been on a big thriller reading kick the past couple of years (especially YA thrillers!). I just really love getting caught up in a well done suspenseful story that keeps me guessing till the very end. I love to be surprised and shocked. I also love unreliable narrators. I’ve seen quite a few new adult books with suspense elements so yes, I definitely can envision even more in the future.
Calia, you are used to writing about the darker side of human nature. Was returning to the setting of Fairfax easy or difficult?
Calia: It’s always difficult. In fact, when I tell my husband I’m working on a Fairfax book, he hangs his head because he knows what’s in store. It’s impossible for you to write a character that has gone through such horrible things and not have some of their emotions rub off on you.
Monica: I like writing light and fluffy and sexy but I also enjoy writing dark and angsty. ONE WEEK GIRLFRIEND had dark subject matter as well. I’m not scared of pushing the envelope and would love to continue writing darker books, absolutely.
Okay Calia, in your eyes, what are the essential qualities of a leading man?
Calia: Top essential quality for me is patience. (Especially when it comes to the female characters in Fairfax) They should be headstrong, unwilling to give up when the odds don’t seem good. And a sense of humor. Because you have to laugh.
Monica: For me, my leading man needs to be loyal, protective, capable, strong, kind and of course, sexy and handsome. I think a man who protects what he deems is his and stands by his woman no matter what is swoon-worthy.
I know it’s hard to play favorites, but….who was your favorite character to write and why?
Calia: In a strange way, I can relate to Victoria. She’s quiet and says very little but she thinks so much. People underestimate her a lot.
Although, secondary characters will fight for first place. They step up and hold a scene when your main character refuses to talk to you. And Reagan was that character.
Monica: This is where I admit that I love love writing a bad guy. So my favorite character to write was Aaron Monroe, the serial killer who kidnapped Katherine. Even though I don’t write in his point of view in NEVER TEAR US APART, whenever he appeared on the page, I just let go and wrote him up as crazy and horrible as I wanted him to be. Not that he was my favorite though…
Katherine is actually my favorite character. She’s had to endure so much and she could’ve given up. Many wouldn’t have faulted her for it but she never does. She keeps going. And I love that about her. She’s strong no matter what. I love her.
As writers, we all have different ways of getting in the zone. Do you have any habits or rituals you use before writing? Music you have to listen to, lucky pen you have to use?
Calia: With four kids, solitude is the key for me to slip into the zone. I get easily distracted so there’s no way I could write while they’re watching Nick Jr. J I sometimes listening to music. It depends on where I’m at in the book. A quirky habit for me is having a pen and pad of paper next to me. Do I use it? Hardly. But I like it to have it just in case.
Now for the question of the moment – any New Years resolutions for 2016?
Monica: I don’t like making resolutions because I feel like I set myself up to fail! But I do like to make goals. I’m working on that list now but I probably won’t reveal them. I think that’s bad luck.
Calia: I do have one big resolution for 2016 In terms of writing. It’s to SLOW DOWN. I’m constantly comparing myself, stressing myself out. And this year it’s to really enjoy my characters, the words, the story. All of it. Even when my characters are being passive aggressive B’s and not talking to me. J My mantra for 2016 is quality over quantity.