December 9, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

Kimberly Belle Kicks Off An Autographed ARC Giveaway of Her Latest Adult Thriller Dear Wife (entry details in the post) and Talks Writing Gods, Putting Characters Through Hell and Naked Bike Rides In The Rain…

Kimberly Belle, author of Dear Wife (Released June 25th) answered every question I threw at her and poured everything into it for us to enjoy! From writing Gods (I knew about hockey Gods… I knew not of writing Gods) to meeting your favorite writing inspiration at a doctor’s office randomly (oh lord, help the day I would run into Leigh Bardugo in a doctor’s office), and everything in between… and that is a wide gamut!

Kimberly Belle, author of Dear Wife  (Released June 25th) answered every question I threw at her and poured everything into it for us to enjoy! From writing Gods (I knew about hockey Gods…  I knew not of writing Gods) to meeting your favorite writing inspiration at a doctor’s office randomly (oh lord, help the day I would run into Leigh Bardugo in a doctor’s office), and everything in between… and that is a wide gamut!
Additionally Kimberly is giving away and Autographed Advanced Reader’s Copy of Dear Wife to one lucky reader (if you have or are planning to enter the Storm Crow give away, you will recognize how to enter). The rules are just before the Q and A. The deadline to enter is Midnight Eastern Time Tuesday, June 18th (when I post my review for Dear Wife).

Here is how you can enter to win an autographed advanced reader’s copy of Dear Wife that she will send herself to one lucky winner. Again, those who have entered to win a Pre-Order of The Storm Crow, the process will be familiar!

  1. Comment on the this blog post
  2. Follow Kimberly Belle on twitter @KimberlySBelle
  3. Follow me at @LiteracyBatman 
  4. Like and Retweet the twitter post!

Entries begin today and run through Midnight Eastern Time Tuesday, June 18th (the day I post the review for Dear Wife). 

1) Can you talk about your writing process in general- and if it was any different with Dear Wife?

My stories are complicated and have a lot of moving pieces, so I spend months thinking them through before I write the first word. I start with the basics: character, major plot points, a one or two sentence synopsis, and then I take it from there. I brainstorm, add subplots and secondary characters, fill in and expand on the many blank spots. Once I have a fairly detailed outline, I’ll run it by my agent and editor, who are both brilliant at pointing out all the places it could be better. Crafting a story is a group effort, and their feedback and ideas really help me as I’m shaping the plot.

But Dear Wife was a gift from the writing gods. I had just spent months working on another story when the idea for Dear Wife woke me up in the middle of the night. My eyes popped open and the story was right there, fully formed. I knew my characters, the major plot points, how the story began and ended. While the house slept, I stared at the ceiling and watched the story play like a movie in my head. In the morning, I called my editor and pulled the proposal I had just sent her, then asked for another week or two to throw together a new one for Dear Wife. Thankfully, she loved the story just as much as I did.

2) Following up on the above- How much can a story structure/plot or entire book change as you write?

I give myself room for things to change and develop as I write. Sometimes that means adding characters (like Evan in THE MARRIAGE LIE) or rewriting chapters from another point of view (a couple of Jeffrey chapters ended up Marcus’s in DEAR WIFE). But I can make those changes because the bones are already there, both on paper and in my head. I’ve never had a story change so much I had to go back and rewrite it.

3) Are there any books whether from the summer list I put out, or that you thought… how the hell did she miss X book… that are on your can’t miss list, this summer

The problem is there are SO MANY good books. I love anything Emily Carpenter and Kate Moretti, and I just read a fantastic suspense debut by Samantha Downing. Jennifer Hillier’s JAR OF HEARTS is one of my favorite books in forever.

4) I have heard/read you talk about Karin Slaughter (who I haven’t heard of) as your favorite author/inspiration. What book of hers would you tell newbies to start with? What have you learned from her?

My favorite of hers is PRETTY GIRLS, but you can’t go wrong with a Karin Slaughter book, they’re all excellent. She’s a master at crafting realistic, interesting, funny characters and plot twists you don’t see coming. I met her once, very randomly in a doctor’s office. I saw her name on the list as I was signing in, and then I was like a crazy fangirl. I ran over, introduced myself, and started gushing. I’m sure she thinks I was stalking her.

5) Have you read any recent Young Adult novels? If so, do you have a favorite book/author? If not, would you consider it?

I will read pretty much read anything, including YA. It’s been a while since I’ve read one, but I adored THE HATE YOU GIVE. That book reached into my chest, ripped out my heart, and stomped it on the floor.

Kimberly Belle LR

6) Authors are always working on the next book… what is up next for you?

I’m currently finishing up a story about a newlywed woman who discovers a woman’s body under their lakeside home dock. The police show up, and in the stress of the moment, she follows her husband’s lead and lies about ever having met the woman. It’s not a big lie, and she doesn’t really think much of it at the time, but soon that one little lie turns into an avalanche. As the police close in on the woman’s killer, she uncovers dangerous truths about her husband and her marriage, as well as dark secrets that have been simmering below the lake’s currents for years. No title yet, but coming sometime in 2020.

7) Series tend to dominate the YA space. Have you ever considered a series or a character series? I mostly notice character series in your genre of adult books… things like from the files of… etc

I get asked this a lot, since I tend to leave a thread or two hanging with every book, and though I never say never, I don’t see myself writing a series anytime soon. For one thing, by the time I get to The End, my characters have been through the wringer. They’ve earned a bit of happiness and peace, the poor things. But more importantly, I love the process of discovering a whole new set of characters, of crafting real people with real emotions and personalities, of feeling them out and seeing how they operate. For me, that’s a big part of the fun, and I would miss it if I were to start a series.

8) Netflix has recently committed to buying the rights to 50 novels/graphic novels since the success of 13 Reasons Why, To All the Boys…, Umbrella Academy etc.. , including the documentary of Motley Crue’s the Dirt and Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone Trilogy/Six of Crows Duology (https://www.bookbub.com/blog/six-of-crows-tv-show-netflix-grishaverse)

Given this recent development, do you still think The Marriage Lie would make the best movie (after coming close already) and would you make an effort to pitch it?

I’ve sold the rights to both THE MARRIAGE LIE and THREE DAYS MISSING, so fingers and toes crossed they will actually get made. DEAR WIFE might be a little challenging to tell on a screen without giving some of the big plot twists away, but I’m sure some talented filmmaker can do it.

9) Ok. Seriously. Did you ride your bike naked through the rain in Amsterdam? If so, have you participated in a naked bike ride in the states?

Ha! No, and if you’ve ever been to Holland, you know why. Too cold. Too windy and rainy. But I have seen all kinds of people on bikes there, including naked people, and honestly, it’s more fun to watch than to participate.

10) Recently a lot of authors have come out on social media to demystify the idea of the romantic starving artist, as well as the myths behind making the best seller list. What would you say to new writers quitting their careers to write fulltime? 

What is the saying? It takes ten years to make an overnight success. No matter what genre you’re writing in, it’s a crowded market, and it usually takes multiple books to make a splash—and some decent money. I started writing in 2008 and my first book didn’t come out until 2014. That’s six whole years in which nobody paid me a penny, and then once the money started coming, it isn’t always consistent. Writing is a long, hard slog, and I know plenty of authors who have day jobs for salary and/or health benefits. My point is, don’t quit your job if you’re dependent on the salary — there’s nothing romantic about starving!

11) If readers did an author study of all your books, would they find an overarching theme that weaves through them all? If so, is it intentional and what inspires it/why were you purposeful in making sure that connectivity was there?

I tend to focus on familial relationships. Parent-child, husband-wife, siblings. I love exploring the emotions that come along with these types of bonds, mostly because they’re so universally recognizable. Toss in the suspense angle—a lying spouse, a child gone missing—and it’s a what-if scenario everyone can imagine themselves in. That’s the appeal of the genre, I think, that people read it and think, that could have been me.

12) What is the first book someone should read if they haven’t read anything by you before?

All of my books are standalones, so I’d say choose whichever one strikes your fancy and start there. That said, THE MARRIAGE LIE is the one that’s sold the best, so the chance of finding it at a library or second-hand bookstore is high. For the ebook readers out there, follow me on Bookbub and you’ll get notified when one of my books goes on sale. Everybody loves a good bargain, right?


13) Tell us about the Netherlands. There is so much going on in the States and we always hear comparisons to other countries… having lives in two different countries… what is your take away?

I fell in love with my husband—a Dutchman—in my last semester of college, and moved there soon after graduating. What was meant to be a few months turned into twelve glorious years. I speak the language, I know the culture, and even though I don’t have the passport to prove it, I am in my heart and soul half Dutch. My husband and I live primarily in the States now, but now that both kids are out of the house, we’re moving towards a 50/50 split between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

Living abroad made me extremely open minded and gave me a live-and-let-live mentality. I have zero patience for prejudice and bigotry, whether for the color of your skin, the name of your God or the gender of your partner. The upsurge of hate crimes after this latest election is both infuriating and heartbreaking at the same time. It’s part of the reason we want to spend more time there, though Europe certainly has its issues, too. Amsterdammers are like me, though, internationally oriented and big champions of diversity and inclusion. I feel very at home there.

Thanks so much for having me! I hope your readers love Dear Wife.

Bio Header.jpg

The Bio

Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of five novels, including the forthcoming domestic suspense, Dear Wife (June 2019). Her third novel, The Marriage Lie, was a semifinalist in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller, and her work has been translated into a dozen languages. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Belle divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.
Keep up with Kimberly on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KimberlyBelleBooks), Twitter (@KimberlySBelle), Instagram (@KimberlySBelle) or via her website at www.kimberlybellebooks.com.

The Books

Dear Wife
Some vows are meant to be broken.
Beth Murphy is on the run…
For nearly a year, Beth has been planning for this day. A day some people might call any other Wednesday, but Beth prefers to see it as her new beginning—one with a new look, new name and new city. Beth has given her plan significant thought, because one small slip and her violent husband will find her.
Sabine Hardison is missing…
A couple hundred miles away, Jeffrey returns home from a work trip to find his wife, Sabine, is missing. Wherever she is, she’s taken almost nothing with her. Her abandoned car is the only evidence the police have, and all signs point to foul play.
As the police search for leads, the case becomes more and more convoluted. Sabine’s carefully laid plans for her future indicate trouble at home, and a husband who would be better off with her gone. The detective on the case will stop at nothing to find out what happened and bring this missing woman home. Where is Sabine? And who is Beth? The only thing that’s certain is that someone is lying and the truth won’t stay buried for long.
Purchase links


Three Days Missing
When Kat Jenkins awakens to the police on her doorstep, her greatest fear is realized. Her nine-year-old son, Ethan, is missing—vanished from the cabin where he’d been on an overnight field trip with his class. Shocked and distraught, Kat rushes to the campground where he was last seen. But she’s too late; the authorities have returned from their search empty-handed after losing Ethan’s trail in the mountain forest.
Another mother from the school, Stef Huntington, seems like she has it all: money, prominence in the community, a popular son and a loving husband. She hardly knows Kat, except for the vicious gossip that swirls around Kat’s traumatic past. But as the police investigation unfolds, Ethan’s disappearance will have earth-shattering consequences in Stef’s own life—and the paths of these two mothers are about to cross in ways no one could have anticipated.
Racing against the clock, their desperate search for answers begins—one where the greatest danger could lie behind the everyday smiles of those they trust the most.
Purchase link


The Marriage Lie – a 2017 Goodreads semifinalist for Best Mystery & Thriller

Even the perfect marriage has its dark side…
Iris and Will’s marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane.
Grief-stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. But as time passes and there is still no sign of Will, she reluctantly accepts that he is gone. Still, Iris needs answers. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core.

The Ones We Trust
When former DC journalist Abigail Wolff attempts to rehabilitate her career, she finds herself at the heart of a US army cover-up involving the death of a soldier in Afghanistan—with unspeakable emotional consequences for one family. As the story of what happened comes to light, Abigail will do anything to write it.
The more evidence she stumbles upon in the case, the fewer people it seems she can trust, including her own father, a retired army general. And she certainly never expected to fall in love with the slain soldier’s brother, Gabe, a bitter man struggling to hold his family together. The investigation eventually leads her to an impossible choice, one of unrelenting sacrifice to protect those she loves.

Beyond the buried truths and betrayals, questions of family loyalty and redemption, Abigail’s search is, most of all, a desperate grasp at carrying on and coping—and seeking hope in the impossible.

Purchase links

The Last Breath
Humanitarian aid worker Gia Andrews chases disasters around the globe for a living. It’s the perfect lifestyle to keep her far away from her own personal ground zero. Sixteen years ago, Gia’s father was imprisoned for brutally killing her stepmother. Now he’s come home to die of cancer, and she’s responsible for his care—and coming to terms with his guilt.
Gia reluctantly resumes the role of daughter to the town’s most infamous murderer, a part complete with protesters on the lawn and death threats that are turning tragedy into front-page news. Returning to life in small-town Tennessee involves rebuilding relationships that distance and turmoil have strained, though finding an emotional anchor in the attractive hometown bartender is certainly helping Gia cope.
As the past unravels before her, Gia will find herself torn between the stories that her family, their friends and neighbors, and even her long-departed stepmother have believed to be real all these years. But in the end, the truth—and all the lies that came before—may have deadlier consequences than she could have ever anticipated….
Purchase links


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