One of the best things about social media is getting to know people you may never have met otherwise.
This is how I came to know our guest author today. We are both part of a Facebook group supporting indie authors and as we share a love of dark and twisty suspense, we became friends. So I am thrilled today to welcome Canadian author Emerald O’Brien who has just released her eight novel The Girls Across the Bay.
It is a gripping suspense that explores relationships, secrets and small towns.
Sit back and join me as we get to know Emerald and her latest thrilling psychological suspense, The Girls Across The Bay.
RH: Welcome Emerald, thanks for visiting. I just downloaded your Avery Hart trilogy and I can’t wait to get stuck into that and your latest novel, The Girls Across The Bay. I can’t decide what to read first!
RH: Before we get stuck into some questions, congratulations on your latest release! It sounds like a cracking read.
EO’B:Thank you so much!
Inspiration Behind The Girls Across The Bay
RH: The Girls Across The Bay is a psychological suspense that explores the repercussion of a small town murder for two women bound by a shared past. Tell us a little about the story and the inspiration behind, The Girls Across the Bay.
EO’B: I’ve always loved exploring relationships in my writing, but it hasn’t been since my first two novels that I explored the relationship between sisters. Having just one of my own, and a tight bond between us, the dynamics of other sisterhoods are always of interest to me.
The two sisters in The Girls Across the Bay, Grace Sheppard and Madigan Knox, believe they have a bond stronger than blood because they became sisters when they were both adopted at a young age, yet chose to remain close even after one brave act split them apart.
You know the saying you can’t choose your family? Grace and Madigan believe you can, in that they have chosen to be closer to each other than anyone else. The thing is, when they were split into different homes, they took two very different paths in life. One was driven to join the law force, and the other ended up writing for her local paper.
When a woman is found dead in her home, Grace investigates, while Madigan reports on the crime. After they find a connection to their past through the dead woman, their bond is truly tested.
The Lure of Suspense
RH: You enjoy writing unpredictable suspense and with eight novels out in under four years, you must really love the genre. Tell us a little about what draws you to suspense? Do you (or do you plan to) write in other genres?
EO’B: I love unpredictable stories, and like some people, I’m a little disappointed when I know what’s about to happen and who did what IF I don’t care why. I want to care about the characters AND be taken on that suspenseful journey where I keep wondering what will happen, or if I know, the question of why keeps me on the edge of my seat too.
I’ve also released the first book in a fantasy series called Midnight Motel. It is my only book that isn’t a straight mystery/thriller/suspense, but it does have suspenseful elements to it. I just can’t get enough of that feeling when reading, and I want to make sure I give that to others too.
Going Above And Beyond For The Story
RH: What (if any) special skills do you think a writer needs to bring to the story to make it a gripping and believable tale? Can you share one experience in which you went above and beyond to make it the story you wanted to tell?
EO’B: This is a bit of a tough one. I do believe my writing has progressed over the years, and I think one reason for that is the fresh eyes I bring to my story. Beta readers and editors really point out any weak spots and also push me to dig deep.
That’s my answer. In earlier novels, my stories are fast-paced and unpredictable, but as I learned more about writing, I began to dig deeper within a character and their history. I think once you know a character well, and realize their past experiences can not only shape who they are and what they do, but by extension, the plot as well, you’re taking the story to a place it should naturally go. I’m always content when I’ve listened to my characters, regardless of the rewrites needed afterward, and take the story to a place that is true to them.
The Lure of The Characters
RH: Some writers talk about their characters taking over as the story progresses. You’ve written the Avery Hart trilogy and the Darkness Follows duet, so I’m wondering if your characters ever hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins?
EO’B: I feel that the character(s) makes the story. Even when I have a great idea for the plot, the more real the characters are, the more my story changes around their past and decisions. The plot starts out as mine, but the characters take it where it’s meant to go.
RH: Now, take a deep breath because I’m going to fire five fast questions at you. Ready?
RH: Who is your all-time favourite heroine (real or fictional)?
EO’B: Real is my grandma, and fictional (off the top of my head) would be Hermione Granger, Anne Shirley, Lisey Landon…
RH: Are you a plotter, a pantser or something in between?
EO’B: I’d call it plotting. Lots of plotting to start with and then it flows after that.
RH: What is your ‘weasel word’—the word you find you repeat most in a manuscript?
RH: What is your most effective writing habit?
EO’B: Setting the mood with candles, a drink, and solitude.
RH: What is one word (or phrase) that sums up what writing means to you?
RH: Thanks for chatting with us today. Where can we find your gripping suspense novels?
EO’B: Thank you so much for having me, Rowena! You can find my novels available on all retailers on my website http://www.emeraldobrien.com/
About The Girls Across The Bay
A bond stronger than blood. A connection that could end it all.
Madigan Knox and Grace Sheppard became sisters the day they entered their foster home. After living through a childhood nightmare, one brave act set them free, but split them apart into different homes.
As adults, they are reunited in the small coastal town they dreamed of living in as children, but the reality of life in Tall Pines is far from what they had imagined.
When a woman is found dead in her home, Madigan reports on the crime while Grace investigates. A dark connection to the victim is discovered, pulling them both closer to the crime and the traumatic past they are desperate to move on from.
With old wounds ripped open and dark secrets threatening their bond, the sisters must rely on each other more than ever before to survive.
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About Emerald O’Brien
Emerald O’Brien is a Canadian writer who grew up just east of Toronto, Ontario. She studied Television Broadcasting and Communications Media, graduating from the program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. To date, she has published eight novels and one boxed set. When she’s not reading or writing, Emerald can be found with family and friends. Watching movies with her husband and their two beagles is one of Emerald’s favourite ways to spend an evening at home.