In New York Times bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub's new thriller, one woman finds herself in the crosshairs of a twisted predator who might just be masked behind a familiar screen name . . .
During the darkest period of her life, Landry Wells found solace in a group of bloggers who had been in her shoes and lived to tell the tale. She's shared things with her online friends that even her husband and children didn't know. Things that now, looking back, make her uneasy.
One of the bloggers is dead, victim of a random crime—or was it? Did she trust too easily; reveal too much? At the funeral a thousand miles from home, Landry is about to come face to face at last with the others. These women are her closest confidantes in the world: they understand her; they know everything about her—and one of them might be a cold-blooded killer . . .
Now For The Q&A
What inspired you to write your first book?
I began writing my “first” book when I was in elementary school, after my teacher complimented my essay about Abraham Lincoln, which inspired me to tell my parents I was going to become an author one day. That book, scribbled longhand on lined notebook paper, wasn’t destined for publication; nor were the many other novels I wrote throughout my school years. I was twenty-seven years old when I sold my first novel, a young adult ghostly suspense novel called SUMMER LIGHTNING, to HarperCollins. Eighty books later, I’m blessed to have built a career doing what I love best.
Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
While I’ve published dozens of books in various genres, nearly all—whether they’re for adults or young readers, whether romance, suspense, mystery, even paranormal--capture themes that have been prevalent in my own life. In the end, my heroes and heroines are flawed human beings who might make some missteps, but ultimately remain true to themselves and their loved ones.
What books have most influenced your life most?
It might seem illogical, but the books I read while I was growing up were more influential and memorable than any I’ve read in recent years. From the moment my mom sat me on her lap and read P.D. Eastman’s “ARE YOU MY MOTHER?” – the first book I can clearly recall—I had a voracious appetite for books, subconsciously learning to how to be a writer via my exposure to other authors’ work. I was blessed with parents who embraced and encouraged my aspirations—when I became fascinated by all things Lincoln after reading biographies of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, they planned a summer vacation around it, driving a thousand miles from New York to Lincoln’s birthplace and museum in Illinois, and to Washington, DC to the Lincoln Monument and Ford’s Theater. When I read my way through Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series and Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn books, we drove halfway across the country to Missouri to see Laura’s home and museum and Mark Twain’s Hannibal on the Mississippi.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
The first adult suspense novel I read, when I was eleven, was Mary Higgins Clark’s WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN—and I was hooked. I went on to read everything Mary wrote, and when I became an author, finally had the opportunity to meet her at a Mystery Writers of America event. I was starstruck, and she was utterly gracious and encouraging and incredibly humble. In the years since, I’ve gotten to know her at subsequent events and she has always been a class act, truly the grand dame of this genre. Having twice been a finalist for the Simon and Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award in recent years—and having Mary herself praise my work—was an unforgettable highlight of my career.
What book are you reading now?
The Anatomy of Motive, by FBI profiler John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, partly as research, partly for pleasure. I never read fiction while I’m writing it—so that means that unless I’m on a beach vacation somewhere (and those are sadly few and far between), I don’t read many novels these days. Luckily, I love all kinds of nonfiction—historical, true crime, biography, travel, memoir are among my favorites.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
THE PERFECT STRANGER is the second book in my social networking suspense trilogy for HarperCollins. The three novels are connected not by characters or setting, but by theme: do you ever really know who might be lurking behind a familiar screen name on the Internet? Book 1, THE GOOD SISTER (Harper, October 2013), was about cyber-bullying and a fictionalized version of Facebook; Book 3, THE BLACK WIDOW (Harper, March 2015), is about online dating. This one, THE PERFECT STRANGER (Harper, August, 2014), is about a group of breast cancer bloggers who are scattered all over the country and find kindred support and friendship in each other that they haven’t found in their real lives. Now they meet in person for the first time at the funeral for one of their own who was the victim of a random murder—or so they believed. Now they wonder if she shared too much online and if her killer is a fellow blogger who might go after one of them next. For readers who want a bit more of the story, I’ve published an e-novella prequel, COLD HEARTED, which visits a key character a decade before THE PERFECT STRANGER unfolds.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
After 80 published novels over 20 years, you might think I’d have it down to a science. But it’s a constant juggling act, balancing my writing career with family—I’m a wife and mother of two--and then, within the writing career, balancing the deadlines with promotional duties like book tours, conferences, interviews, etc. I’ve learned to be highly disciplined and while I spend at least a third of my life on the road, the rest of the time, I’m in my home office seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day. I’m perpetually exhausted and have had to sacrifice many things (hobbies, friendship, sleep!) in order to meet the tight deadlines for three novels a year. But it’s worth it, because I’m blessed that I can make a living doing the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’m embarking on a month-long book tour this week and it will take me through the southwest and the northeast from the Great Lakes to New England. The complete schedule is available on my website at www.wendycorsistaub.com/whatsnew. For those who aren’t in those locations, I do have an active online presence and I love to interact with my readers on Facebook, Twitter, and via my dedicated social networking site at www.wendycorsistaubcommunity.com. Thanks so much for your time and this opportunity!
Huge Thank You To Wendy For Answering My Questions
Hope You Lovely People Check Out
The Perfect Stranger
Wendy Corsi Staub
Chicks That Read
I'm a bookwhore, yes I said it, I have no shame, I will wander off with any old book I'm not even a little bit ashamed. Twenty Seven, Mum, SEND Teaching Assistant, general beauty hoarder and lover of the Irish.