Search this blog

Monday 19 April 2021

ℚ The Deadening: Olivia Callahan Suspense [1] - Kerry Peresta

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The Deadening (, Level Best Books, 353 pages), a Psychological Suspense, book one in the Olivia Callahan Suspense series.

"A gripping read populated by likable characters. Peresta draws us into a colorful, detailed world and makes us care what happens to the people living in it. We root for Olivia as she struggles to regain her memory, her bearings, and the identity she lost long before her injury. Excellent!" - Susan Crawford, Internationally bestselling author of The Pocket Wife and The Other Widow

"The Deadening is a captivating psychological suspense novel that will have you holding your breath with each turn of the page. Peresta has created a world chock-full of characters who are dynamic and unforgettable, for better or worse. Hold on to your seat." - Clay Stafford, bestselling author and founder of Killer Nashville

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

A very warm welcome to Kerry Peresta; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What was the inspiration for The Deadening?

"While trying my best to persuade potential book-buyers to drift by my table at an author signing six years ago, I realized they were all racing to an author table across the room.  This woman’s table hummed with activity, and I noticed her pile of books to sell was melting away like a snowball on a summer sidewalk.  My pile, on the other hand, hadn’t diminished one bit.  Frustrated, I walked across the room to her table, edged my way through the throng, and stood before her.  She stopped signing one of her books and turned curious eyes on me.  “What’s your secret,” I asked, with a smile, though I felt nothing but envy.  “Why are you the only one selling books in here?”

She put down her pen and folded her arms.  The rest of the people around her table gathered closer to listen as she told me she’d been in a car wreck that had almost killed her, and she’d been in a coma for six months.  When she woke, her personality had been totally rewired.  Instead of passive and shy, she was now talkative, funny, bold.  “People seem to like that,” she said, simply, and resumed selling and signing books.

As I walked back to my lonely book table, deep in thought, the seed had already rooted.  I started work on THE DEADENING a week later."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I draw on a lot of personal experiences with the protagonist, and also with the antagonist.  I do exaggerate and stretch and distort, of course, because lies are necessary in fiction, along with the truth, right?  But I tend to draw from my experiences because I write from a deep place, with much conviction, as I remember some of these experiences that end up in my books. 

In my first book, “The Hunting,” it was very much like me…well part of her…but she had a career similar to the one I had and I wrote it so descriptively that many people said they were more interested in the workplace scenes than the story, ha!"
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for The Deadening - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"Many of THE DEADENING’S pivotal moments take place at the beach on Hilton Head Island, SC.

At one point, Olivia has gone through a tumultuous and unwanted divorce, and does her best to take her two daughters back to Hilton Head for a vacation by herself, which was traumatic for her emotionally.  The woman on the cover is a despondent Olivia, thinking about prior vacations with her husband and their daughters, and all she’s lost.

The birds signify her former life, abruptly departing within the winds of change.  She is, on the cover, coming to terms with lost hopes and how to move forward.

The cover was designed by Level Best Books."
Why should we read The Deadening and what sets it apart from the rest? 
"A reader’s taste is totally subjective, and I feel a reader will either love or dislike an author’s voice.  My style is concise and to the point.  The dialogue does not bog down, it races.  Character development is dribbled in within the action, like bread crumbs, and I try my best not to bore the reader with too many details. 

My readers, like me, will be more interested in behaviors and outcomes than lush descriptions of settings or home interiors.  Although it is certainly important to do that, I don’t linger there.  The psychological significance of my protagonist’s journey back to her identity is paramount, and how she got there in the first place. 

I think that what sets me apart is a nice balance between relatable, well-developed characters and a sense of sustained, gripping tension."
Can you tell us something quirky about The Deadening, its story and characters?
"Yes!  I use all my unused baby names in my books.  For instance, on my list, years ago when I was having babies; were Lillian, Isabelle, Olivia.  One of Olivia’s daughters is named Lilly (Lillian) and of course, Olivia, one of my favorite names that my husband just couldn’t agree to, is now the star of a series.  In my first book, THE HUNTING, the protagonist is Isabelle, Izzy for short.  So that has been rather life-affirming.  I got to use my names after all!"
If you could / wished to turn The Deadening and the Olivia Callahan Suspense series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Olivia, since she is a redhead and undergoes a personality metamorphosis; would be a great fit for Amy Adams.  They are about the same size and age, and Amy Adams’ range as an actress is incredible.  This would definitely be a dream come true!

For my antagonist, Mark Ruffalo would be a great pick.  He can be both smooth and charming, and dark and horrifying, which typifies my bad guy.  Olivia’s mom, Sophie, a supporting character in the book, could be played by Jessica Lange or Rene Russo

As far as a director goes, I love Ron Howard and Clint Eastwood."
Amy Adams as Olivia Mark Ruffalo as the antagonist Jessica Lange or Rene Russo as Sophie, Olivia's mom Ron Howard or Clint Eastwood as director
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 like to write about women experiencing trauma, either emotional or physical or both, and their journey toward wholeness.  I like to explore the decisions that these women make that either take them further toward, or away from, all that they were meant to be.

I like to read crime thrillers and suspense novels, but only if the characters are three-dimensional, flawed, and interesting.  I won’t read books that are all action, action, action, because I’m much more interested in the life journey these people are taking, and the effects of their behaviors and decisions, and why they made those decisions and indulged in those behaviors.  But there must be danger involved, and probably a detective, and lots of wine.

I’ve tried to read cozy mystery and women’s fiction, and they don’t grab me the way a good Lee Child or Louise Jensen book does."
What is your writing process?
"One) Decide on an overarching theme and motivations. 
Two) Extensive character sketches. 
Three) Not-so-extensive outline, in other words, a general road map that may work out or may not, depending on what happens under my hands. 

I’m bad about getting off on bunny trails, and not sticking to the point (there are so many plots that need to be explored!) so I send several chapters to my editor at a time, to make sure I’m on the right track.  She has the best and most objective insights, and I love that her career before she became an editor was in social work, as a counselor.  Perfect fit for a psychological suspense author!"
What is in store next?
"Happily, Olivia is going to hang around a while.  I’m working on Book Two in the series now, planned to release in 2022; and Book Three is a dim gleam in my eye that will happen in 2023.

Book Two is titled, “The Rising,” which should give the readers a hint about the topic!  Olivia is on the move!"
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?
"What a fun question!

Yes, all of my grandchildren are precious to me, but this one is the newest.  And I love cats!  Here is a pic of me on my favorite spot, my deck; with two of my favorite things: my 8-month old cat, Felix; and my youngest grandchild, Selah Eden Miller."
What a beautiful picture; thank you so much for sharing it with us, Kerry! 

We hope you are having a great tour and look forward to reading The Deadening,

An assault stole her memory. Now she's on a mission to reclaim her life. But does she want it?

The Deadening
Available NOW!

purchase from purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo UK find on Goodreads


Wall-to-wall books said...

Nice interview! I loved that you used your "unused baby names" what a cool idea!
Great book, can't wait for book two!

Kerry Peresta said...

Thanks, Wall-to-Wall Books! It is a hoot using them, and I plan to use grandchildren's names also, at some point. BooksChatter, wow, what a great job you've done with this interview! Thank you for having me as a guest today! xo