27 April, 2012

#Interview with Robert Swartwood, #Author of The Serial Killer's Wife

Check the book out on Amazon

Five years ago Elizabeth Piccioni's husband was arrested for being a serial killer. Her life suddenly turned upside down, she did what she thought was best for her newborn baby: she took her son and ran away to start a new life. 

Now, living in a quiet part of the Midwest with a new identity, Elizabeth is ready to start over. But one day she receives a phone call from a person calling himself Cain. Cain somehow knows about her past life. He has abducted her son, and if Elizabeth wants to save him she must retrieve her husband's trophies -- the fingers he cut off each of his victims. 

With a deadline of one hundred hours, Elizabeth has no choice but to return to the life she once fled, where she will soon realize that everything she thought she knew is a lie, and what's more shocking than Cain's identity is the truth about her husband. 

The Serial Killer's Wife is a 80,000-word thriller in the vein of Jeffery Deaver, John Sanford, and Thomas Harris. It includes a special foreword by Blake Crouch. 

DDS: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
RS: A few years ago I created the term “hint fiction” and then edited the book Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer, published by W. W. Norton. Besides that, I write short stories and novels in many different genres, though my novels tend to lean toward the thriller part of the spectrum.

DDS: What got you into writing?
RS: I’ve always liked reading, and I’ve always liked telling stories. So as I got older and realized that I could still keep doing both, I was thrilled. 

DDS: Tell us about your books
RS: Again, almost all of my books tend to lean toward the thriller part of the spectrum, though some have supernatural elements – like The Calling and The Dishonored Dead – and some are just straight-up action, like my novel No Shelter, which features Holly Lin, who works as a nanny but moonlights as a non-sanctioned government hit woman.
DDS: Tell us about ‘The Serial Killer’s Wife’.
RS: The back-story of The Serial Killer’s Wife is about a woman whose husband has been arrested for being a serial killer. She just had a newborn baby, and to protect herself and her child, she manages to run away to start a new life. The book picks up five years later, as she’s reestablished herself far from home under a new identity. But someone finds her and abducts her son and tells her that if she wants to see her son again, she must retrieve her husband’s trophies – the fingers he cut off each of his victims.

DDS: What was the hardest part while writing this book?
RS: Writing the novel twice. After I had initially pitched it to my agent, I had the idea of having Elizabeth's son get abducted just like in the published version, but that she would be reunited with him almost immediately ... except there would be an explosive collar around his neck. The collar could not be taken off or else it would explode; Elizabeth could not go to the authorities or else it would explode; what's more, there was a timer on the collar that counted down from one hundred hours. The idea was to be a kind of twist on the standard thriller setup; her child was in peril, yes, but this time her child was with her every step of the way. I sent it to my agent and he said he liked it but felt it may be a tad over the top; his main concern was the collar around the son's neck, how bombs don't really have timers on them -- that's more a movie and TV conceit -- and how triggering a bomb isn't as easy as pushing a button. So he said that he would go out with it as is but suggested I revisit that particular point. I am as impatient as any writer, but I am also a perfectionist, so I decided to hold off and revisit the point, and in doing so rewrote most of the novel. But because of this, I ended up cutting out a good chunk and making the novel even tighter and more fast-paced.

DDS: What are your writing pet peeves?
RS: The fact you actually have to do it. Writing is hard.

DDS: Who is your favourite Character? (one of your own creation – published/unpublished)
RS: I think Holly Lin – the female hit woman I mentioned before. The reason I think she’s my favorite is because I wrote the character with the idea of doing a series, so obviously I want to spend a lot more time with her.

DDS: Now time for some fun facts about you. If ‘The Serial Killer’s Wife’ was to be turned into a movie – which Actor/actress would you like to see playing the characters?
RS: I’d probably like to see a lesser-known actress play the role of Elizabeth. Maybe even Elizabeth Banks. She has primarily done a lot of comedies in the past, but it’s been proven time and again many comedic actors can do great in dramas.

DDS: Who is your favourite author & which is your favourite book? I know it is beyond difficult, but you can name only one in each category!!
RS: Stephen King is my favorite author. Lord of the Flies by William Golding is my favorite book.

DDS: One thing readers would be surprised to know about you…
RS: I have sung karaoke. Many times.

DDS: Besides writing, what else do you enjoy?
RS: Reading. Watching movies. Procrastinating.

DDS: What’s next?
RS: I’m currently working on finalizing my thriller The Inner Circle, which is the second book in the Man of Wax trilogy.

DDS: Anything else you would like to say to your readers/fans?
RS: There are millions of books out there, so I feel extremely honored and lucky when someone takes the time to read something I’ve written—and, hopefully, enjoys it enough to try something else of mine. Thank you.

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