Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Maxine Mei-Fung Chung | 20 Questions: THE EIGHTH GIRL
Author Guest / March 16, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  The Eighth Girl: A Novel 2–What is it about?  The Eighth Girl is about a young woman named Alexa Wu who is living with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) previously known as multiple personality disorder. Only three people know about her condition–her stepmother, Anna; her psychiatrist, Daniel and her best friend, Ella. When Ella starts work in a high-end gentleman’s club and catches the attention of its shark-like owner, Alexa finds herself the unwitting keeper of a nightmarish secret. With lives at stake, she follows Ella into London’s cruel underbelly on a daring rescue mission. Threatened and vulnerable, Alexa will discover (with the help of Daniel) whether her multiple personalities are her greatest asset, or her most dangerous obstacle. 3–What words best describes your main character(s)?  Alexa is a complicated heroine. While having survived trauma, she finds beauty in nature and small acts of human kindness which she records with her camera. She is also someone who others underestimate, and an advocate for the greater good. At the heart of Alexa is a longing for connection, a need to be understood. Daniel, who has also survived trauma at the hands of his alcoholic father…

Michael McAuliffe | Exclusive Excerpt: NO TRUTH LEFT TO TELL
Author Guest / February 27, 2020

From Chapter 1 White Night February 1994 Lynwood, Louisiana The bald tires of Frank Daniels’s corroded pickup rolled over a shallow bed of popping gravel and stopped next to two men in pointy hoods. The men huddled together, shifting around an imaginary fire and stomping their feet now and again. Their hoods were for show, not warmth. The other conspirators waited inside the clapboard frame house. Daniels got out of his truck and acknowledged the security detail with a half salute, which was all the formality he could muster given the late hour. With a rocking gait and fixed grin, he waddled up to the house in oversized boots worn to accommodate his swollen feet. The sentinels followed, hoods now in their hands. He wasn’t yet much of a Klansman, not compared to Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, but Daniels soon would fix that by leading his own white night. The residents of Lynwood wouldn’t know it right away, but the town’s coming racial reckoning would be the doing of the Klan’s new grand dragon. All revolutions started somewhere, and that Friday evening Lynwood would join Fort Sumter as a cradle of insurrection. He closed the door behind him and…

Tom Threadgill | Exclusive Excerpt: COLLISION OF LIES
Author Guest / February 3, 2020

Amara scanned the long list of agencies who participated in the crash investigation. It’d be easier to name who wasn’t involved. The National Transportation Safety Board had coordinated the inquiry, but the FBI and virtually every state and local resource had been active as well. With fewer than ten thousand people in Cotulla’s county, their limited resources meant they needed all the help they could get. Because the bus driver was a veteran, even the Department of Defense had stepped into the fray. When everybody’d had their say, the crash boiled down to one finding: suicide-murder. No charges were filed since the lone culprit was already dead. The Feds promised to do more for PTSD victims. The railroad put up crossing gates at every intersection in the county. The elementary school students planted seventeen trees in memory of their friends. The community grieved. And the Reyeses still mourned. All the families probably did. Amara dragged her finger across the screen and leaned closer. Who’d done the body IDs? She jerked when Sergeant Norwood popped his bubble gum. “Whatcha working today, Alvarez?” “Paperwork on the Leon Valley burglaries mostly.” She shrunk her internet window and grabbed a pen. “Then I’ve got…

Sophie Hannah | Exclusive Interview: PERFECT LITTLE CHILDREN
Author Guest / February 3, 2020

Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Sophie! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and new book, PERFECT LITTLE CHILDREN?  I’ve been writing psychological thrillers since 2006. This includes my Culver Valley police series and several standalone thrillers – Perfect Little Children is one of those. It’s about an ordinary woman, Beth, whose life takes a sudden, sinister turn when she witnesses a totally baffling scene involving her one-time friend, Flora. It’s been 12 years since their friendship ended. Then one day, unexpectedly, Beth sees Flora with her children, Thomas and Emily, who were five and three years old when Beth last knew them. Inexplicably, the children appear not to have aged at all. They are no taller, no older, and they’re even wearing the exact same clothes that Beth last saw them wearing. Why haven’t they grown? Beth, fearing something dangerous and terrible is going on, sets out to investigate… Beth painfully parted ways with her best friend Flora twelve years ago, but when she’s in Flora’s neighborhood, she can’t help but drive by Flora’s house, which leads to a whole host of other strange things. What inspired this setup?  It was inspired by a real-life situation I found myself…

Alicia Anthony | Top 5 Reasons Why We Love Series + Giveaway!
Author Guest / January 27, 2020

I don’t know about you, but I love a good book series. When I began writing my debut novel, Inherent Truth, I didn’t originally plan for it to become a series. However, as things progressed and the characters revealed themselves, it became clear–this book was meant to be the kick-starter for a far more complex story than could be told within the confines of one novel. And so, Blood Secrets was born. I’ve thought about that a lot as I’ve navigated this journey, and after talking with some friends I’ve come up with what I consider the top five reasons why we love book series so much. I can’t wait to see if you agree. Reason #1: Characters become friends. Come on, don’t act like you’ve never closed a book and felt like you suddenly lost your best friend. We’ve all been there, and series have a way of roping us in, wrapping us up in these fictional lives so that we begin to feel like family. Most series provide a diverse cast of characters so that almost any reader can find a favorite, providing enough common ground that each turn of the page feels like a chat with a…

Nicci French | 20 Questions: LOSING YOU
Author Guest / January 24, 2020

1) What’s the name of your latest release?  Losing You.   2) What is it about?  A teenage girl goes missing and her mother has one short and terrifying day to find her. 3) What word best describes your heroine?  Unstoppable. 4) What makes your hero irresistible?  There is no hero. The heroine has to save her daughter by herself. That’s what makes her irresistible: she is like a tigress. 5) Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help?  Nina turns to the police but the police don’t believe her. One of the themes that repeats in our novels is that people have to save themselves… 6) What do you love about the setting of your book?  Sandling Island is inspired by an island near where we live in South East England. It’s swept by the wind off the north Sea, it’s linked to the mainland by a causeway that is covered by the tide once a day and it produces the best oysters in the world. 7) Are you a plotter (follow an outline) or a pantster (write by the seat of your pants)? Every book is a bit different. But this book is…

James Ziskin | The Five Animals Ellie Stone Meets in Florence, Italy
Author Guest / January 21, 2020

I write the Ellie Stone mysteries, a series featuring a young newspaper reporter set in the early 1960s. In the seventh installment, TURN TO STONE (January 21, 2020), Ellie is in Florence, Italy for an academic symposium honoring her late father. But just as she arrives on the banks of the Arno, she learns that her host, Professor Alberto Bondinelli, has been fished out of the river, quite dead. Then a suspected rubella outbreak leaves ten of the symposium participants quarantined in villa outside the city with little to do but tell stories to entertain themselves. Making the best of their confinement, the men and women spin tales and gorge themselves on fine Tuscan food and wine. And as they do, long-buried secrets about Bondinelli and his checkered past rise to the surface, and Ellie must figure out if one or more of her companions is capable of murder. It was great fun—challenging, too—researching and writing about one of my favorite places on earth, Florence. There’s so much history and art to be found, literally, on almost every corner. Ellie, of course, has visited Florence before. In 1946, shortly after the end of the war, she accompanied her father on…

Peter Riva | Exclusive Excerpt: KIDNAPPED ON SAFARI
Author Guest / January 20, 2020

CHAPTER 3 Mamba Kisiwa na Simu ya Dharura—Crocodile Island and an Emergency Call The day’s shooting went well, starting with a morning call at eight. Pero had hired a fishing boat with Honda outboards, and they embarked from the hotel dock and headed two hours up the lake to Crocodile Island. The water was calm in the early morning, crystal clear, birds dipping beaks on the wing to drink. As they approached Crocodile Island, looking down off to the side, Mary spotted a small herd of hippos. Heep filmed them, lowering the waterproof camera as the blue-black, corpulent giants danced along the shallow bottom near the shore of the island. The morning’s planned shoot was filming the crocodile sand nests, the enormous females waiting just offshore, slowly treading water with powerful tails. Mary donned her wet suit, powered up her video camera, and went snorkeling in four to ten feet of water. Heep and the crew remained in shallow water and used the main underwater camera, filming her filming the crocs. The crew soon found themselves standing in five feet of water, as close to fifteen-foot crocs as anyone sane would ever want to be. While Susanna had adjusted her…

Loreth Anne White | These Are A Few of My Favorite (Scary) Things
Author Guest / December 2, 2019

I absolutely love mysteries and thrillers—books, movies, TV shows—I binge them all. I am also inspired by them. In fact, my newest novel, In The Dark, is an homage to author Agatha Christie and one of her most iconic stories And Then There Were None. In my novel, Christie’s story actually becomes a plot device, a psychological tool, that the villain uses to instill fear in the victims that are trapped. The victims know what transpired in And Then There Were None, which has them anticipating that the same will happen to them. Some of my other favorite mystery writers include Daphne DuMaurier and Patricia Highsmith. Also, at the moment I’m loving Lisa Jewell’s voice and her domestic suspense—I’ve been on a Lisa Jewell glom. In this vein, I love Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard and enjoyed Helen Fitzgerald’s The Cry, and Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us. Liane Moriarty, too. Off the top of my head, my favorite thriller movies include The Bone Collector, The Thomas Crowne Affair (for the romantic tension), and The Debt (pure tension plus love triangle!) And finally, let’s not forget great TV shows in this genre. I think that the television series adaptation of The Cry is just fabulous. I am hooked on Big Little Lies. I’m also a…

Nalini Singh | Exclusive Interview: A MADNESS OF SUNSHINE
Author Guest / December 2, 2019

Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Nalini! Can you tell us a little bit about your latest novel, A MADNESS OF SUNSHINE?  A MADNESS OF SUNSHINE is my debut thriller. Set in an isolated town on New Zealand’s rugged and stunningly beautiful West Coast, it’s about all the different faces people wear, all the secrets we keep, and how well we ever know one another. The New Zealand landscape is an integral character in the book, a place that’ll take your breath away…and a place so wild and empty that bodies could disappear without a trace. A MADNESS OF SUNSHINE marks a change of genre for you! What inspired this change to write a thriller? Did you find anything surprisingly different than writing paranormal romance? I’ve always enjoyed mysteries and thrillers, and many of my paranormal romances have a mystery element or subplot. So it wasn’t a huge shift to write a pure mystery – it was more a case of having the right story and the right setting. Anahera Rawiri left her small New Zealand hometown of Golden Cove eight years ago, but returns to find things similar, but with some frustrating differences. What does her return home mean to Anahera?…