Following on from yesterday’s post, Sarah Stephens is a fellow Bloodhound author whom I have also not met in person. I am hoping to review her book on the blog later this month.
What is the title of your novel? Briefly, what is it about?
My latest thriller is The Good Life. It focuses on Kate and Calvin, a married couple traveling to a luxury resort in Costa Rica to rekindle their marriage. After an evening of partying with another couple at the resort ends in tragedy, Kate must unravel a mystery that threatens to reveal secrets she’s been hiding for years—from her husband, her family, and herself.
I also have four other thrillers: Isolation, The Anniversary, It Was Always You, and A Flash of Red.
Why did you decide to write in the crime genre?
I’m a developmental psychologist and my teaching at Penn State University focuses a great deal on healthy development for children and families. In my writing, I like to explore the darker side of the human experience, since my other work examines the more joyful pieces of life.
And what inspired you to start writing this book?
We were deep into lockdown here in the States, and I wanted to transport myself to somewhere bright, full of luxury, and warmer climes. My husband and I honeymooned in Costa Rica many years ago (and I should mention that our trip was much less eventful than Kate and Calvin’s!), and the story for The Good Life evolved from imaginings I had of specific places we visited during our travels.
What do you find most challenging about writing fiction? And what do you find most rewarding?
The biggest challenge is the blank page and getting over your inner critic. Once I get started, I find the process deeply enjoyable. Living with characters you create and transporting yourself to a different place and set of experiences is a fun reprieve from life’s normal challenges.
Are you working on another novel now? If so (without giving too much away) can you say what it is about?
I am! It’s another thriller. It focuses on a young professor who crashes weddings to pick up one-night stands. One of her lovers ends up dead, and intrigue and danger ensue as she works to prove her innocence.
What do you like to read yourself? Are there other crime fiction writers you admire? Aside from crime writers, who are your favourite authors?
My beloved P D James is forever a touchstone for me. I love everything she’s written, and go back to her novels often. I enjoy almost any psychological thriller, especially those by Gilly Macmillan, Fiona Barton, and Ruth Ware. Recently, I finished The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris and highly recommend it.