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Friday 5 February 2016

ℚ♫ In the Dark - Chris Patchell

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about her second novel, In the Dark (, Chris Patchell, 479 pages), a Suspense Thriller.

Her first novel, "Deadly Lies is a taut, fast-paced thriller that grabs you from the start and doesn't let go. Patchell is a master story teller with a real talent for creating pulse-pounding suspense."  ~ Kevin O'Brien New York Times best selling author of No One Needs to Know

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to Chris Patchell; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter.

To begin, do you have a music playlist that you used for In the Dark, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"Funny thing about playlists… I can write when the television is blasting or in the middle of a whole room of people talking (as long as they’re not talking to me).  But I can’t write when there is music playing, which confounds my husband who is a musician.  I think it’s because I really like music and I can’t relegate it into the background.

Here are two songs that I think capture the mood of my books.

For Deadly Lies, it’s Slither by Velvet Revolver
For In the Dark, it’s Do I Wanna Know by Arctic Monkeys"
What was the inspiration for In the Dark?
"I was on Facebook one day, and I saw a whole rash of notifications about my friends who were checking in at various locations, and I started thinking about how cute little college girls might use an app to let their whole social network know where they are at any given time of the day.  And how their friends might not be the only ones watching.  Creepy, right?

I have a couple of girls growing up in the digital age, and with background in tech, I spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff.  How safe we are.  How much we share.  Oddly enough, as the book took shape, very little of this theme actually shows up in the story.  What did stick with me though, was the idea that you don’t always know who is watching."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Although it’s unintended, a little of myself always leaks into my work.  Tech is a theme in my stories, and more specifically, identity.  Like Little Red Ridinghood, we can’t always recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and often, we discount the danger in front of us.  How many times has your instinct told you that something isn’t right and it isn’t until later you learn that your instincts are bang-on.

Character-wise, Seth has my analytical mind.  Writing emotional characters are more of a stretch for me, and often I need to dig deep into my own personal experiences to draw out emotions in my characters that feel real and resonate with readers.  I think this is what’s meant by “bleeding on the page”."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for In the Dark - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"Okay, true confession time—my husband does my cover art.  I came up with the initial concept for In the Dark.  The woods in late fall, which is when this story takes place.  Naked trees.  The intensity of the blue caught my eye right away.  Then my husband applied his special magic putting a radial blur on the image, and BAM, I knew we had a winner.

 The blurry cover inspires the feeling of panic and motion; two emotions that definitely mirror what’s going on for the characters at different points in the story."
Why should we read In the Dark and what sets it apart from the rest?
"So, I was having lunch with my editor one day, and I asked him what he thought my biggest strength was as a writer.  At first he looked like a deer in the headlights and I thought, oh crap.  Then he said something that mirrors what some of my readers have said in the reviews posted about the book—my superpower is the surprises I reveal at different points in the story.

Twists are a hallmark of the genre, so as far as superpowers go, this is a good one to have.  I recently met with a book club and they said my strength was definitely suspense—raising the stakes so you have to turn the page until you find out what comes next.  I love dark, complex plots that intertwine and then combine for a big bang ending."
Can you tell us something quirky about In the Dark, its story and characters?
"The book has a couple of bad guys—one of them is named Charles Sully.  That wasn’t accidental.  If you read the book, you’ll know how well he suits his name.  The word is defined as:


damage the purity or integrity of; defile.
"they were outraged that anyone should sully their good name"
Every good book plants questions in the reader’s mind, and some of those questions I answer very subtly.  For instance, a few people have said that they didn’t understand why Marissa broke up with her third husband (yes she was married three times, and that wasn’t accidental).  The answer is in the chapter that starts with Kelly playing her flute.  It’s a single word that explains everything about their break up.  See if you can find it."
Who would you recommend In the Dark to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"If you love suspense thrillers, then this is the book for you.  Some of the themes are gritty—kidnapping and murder.  And I’ll admit, the characters swear.  I was tempted to scrub some of the language and the grime from the final draft, but stopped myself because I believe what I wrote was true to the characters.  I hope you think so too."
If you could / wished to turn In the Dark into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Director: The late, great Tony Scott – I love his fast-paced style and doling out of a story a scene at a time.  Spy Games is one of my all-time favorite movies.  Smart and playful with a deeper plot unfurling in the background.  He excelled at showcasing his characters, and In the Dark has some great characters, both good and evil.

Actors: Marissa would need to be played by someone tough and vulnerable, someone like Ashley Judd.  While she looks all wrong for the part, Judd is a terrific actress with great range.  If age was not a factor, Bill Pullman could play Seth—smart and haunted, he’s got the right emotional tone for the character.  I will admit though that I did have an actress in mind when I wrote Brooke’s character—Kate Hudson."

What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"I’m definitely a thriller girl.  I love a fast-paced thriller packed with intensity.  I’m also fascinated by the question of what makes people do the things they do. Just for fun, I do read the occasional literary novel, young adult, and romance books.  I just finished reading a noir.

Jane Austen is one of my all-time favorite writers.  To me, genre matters less—as long as a story has a good plot and interesting character I’m hooked.  I’m an avid reader, but now that I’m a writer too, I’ll often re-read stories to dig more into craft by studying how other authors do what they do well."
What is your writing process?
"Hmmm… It all starts out with an idea that I let ruminate in my head for a while, and once it has legs (I can see a beginning, middle and end for the story), I start fleshing out the plot.  It could be a short narrative capturing the story arc, or an outline (I do outline).

And then I draft.  Probably 4 – 5 full drafts of the story with lots of micro revisions in between. Somewhere around the 2nd or 3rd draft, I send the story to some beta readers for feedback.  I also work with an editor who is always pushing me to do better (bigger obstacles, bigger flaws, etc.).  I have to admit though, somewhere about half way through the editing process I always want to quit and start something new because the way ahead feels hopeless.  Endless.  Like the book will never get done, but I push through those feelings and somehow get to the end."
What is in store next?
"Right now I’m working on a sequel to In the Dark.  I’m calling it The Farm.  My husband and I have been mucking around with cover ideas.  I’m about half way done the second draft and excited to see how it shapes up!  So far, my writing group loves it.  Dark themes. Some of the same characters as In the Dark.  Hopefully readers will love the new book too."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I have two dogs.  One is a neurotic Yorkie named Sasha.  She was a rescue from a puppy mill and, like me, she is a bit of an introvert.  She kept me company outside on my deck this summer when I started working on The Farm.  The second is a new addition to the family. He’s a ten-week old Morkie (part Yorkie, part Maltese).  Cute as a button, and about the size of one too, there is nothing introverted about him.  He’s full of big dog attitude and has the sleeping habits of a newborn (god help us).  Together, they’re a lot of fun."

Aww, little babies!  Hello Sasha and Maximus (?)!  Lots of head scratches and belly rubs to both of you :-)
Thank you for sharing them with us!  I bet Sasha is really protective of the little one :-)
And thank you again for being here today to chat about In The Dark - we look forward to reading it!

In the Dark
Available NOW!

UK: purchase from US: purchase from find on Goodreads


Unknown said...

Absolutely great interview!!!
I have read both her books and loved them both!
I love that her hubby does the covers.
And I am so glad to hear that she is already working on a new book (The Farm) - keep 'em coming!
I'm a fan!

Chris Patchell said...

Thanks, Wendy for the great interview!