I am so excited to host the fabulous Emily Carpenter on the blog today. (Fan girl moment.)
Emily Carpenter is the bestselling author of two thrillers, BURYING THE HONEYSUCKLE GIRLS and THE WEIGHT OF LIES (June 6). After graduating from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication, she moved to New York City. She’s worked as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant for the CBS shows, As the World Turns and Guiding Light. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her family. Visit Emily at emilycarpenterauthor.com and on Facebook and Twitter.
Tell us a little bit about your process. What’s the most difficult thing about writing to you?
To me, the hardest thing about writing is that I live in the world of my book and characters and there are some days when I am dying to talk about them and what they’re doing. Kind of like you might gossip about the Kardashians or a kooky mutual friend or something. But here’s the sad truth: there’s really nobody else on the planet who knows these people as well as I do or (let’s face it) loves them as deeply as I do and could bear to engage in an in-depth conversation like that!
What genre do you write and why did you pick this genre?
Suspense is my lifeblood. I read it, watch it on TV and in the movie theater. For some reason, there is nothing more compelling to me than a mystery. I like romance and drama and comedy and historical, all that, but a mystery? I’m riveted. I feel like something’s missing if there’s not a dead body at some point in a story. Several years ago, my kids got me playing The Sims, the video game, and I made my character and built her house and tried (unsuccessfully) to get a boyfriend. After a while of playing, I was like, “So what happens now? Where’s the mystery I have to solve?” I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that you could have this world with all these characters, and there wasn’t going to be some kind of crime to figure out!
Does your particular genre require research? If so, how do you do it?
Something I love about suspense is that it can be about anything. And literally, so many things scare me, that it’s kind of embarrassing. But my point is, that opens the door to an opportunity to do all sorts of research. I’ve researched the Appalachian hills in Alabama in the 1930s, the state of popular horror fiction in the 1970s, the history of Native Americans around coastal Georgia, how to build an app, and the study of attachment therapy and sociopathy in modern-day psychology. For another book I’m working on, I just discovered this French group of poets and mathematicians who play with the syntax of literature based on mathematical concepts in order to open up new possibilities in the works. I was just fascinated by that.
Tell us about your current release. What inspired you to write it?
EVERY SINGLE SECRET, my new book, is set (mostly) in one house, an old Victorian mansion in the mountains of North Georgia. I wanted to write a book set in one location, like Agatha Christie, the absolute master, did to such great effect. I was also inspired by the unhinged, unbelievably creepy movie, Ex Machina, which is set in one house. Writing a “locked-room mystery” felt like a challenge I was ready for – then once I got about a third of the way into the book, I felt so claustrophobic and had to get myself out! I ended up writing some flash-forward chapters where the main character, Daphne, is running for her life from someone. I just needed that breath of fresh air to keep me from losing my mind. Additionally, I hadn’t explored a romantic relationship in any of my books, so it was really fun to write about this engaged couple, Daphne and Heath, who are completely, utterly committed to each other but have still held back parts of themselves.
Tell us about your protagonist’s inner struggle and ability to cope. What is her besetting sin, and how do you plan on having her address that issue?
Daphne Amos may be my favorite main character I’ve written. My life has been and is nothing like hers, but I identified so much with her determination to rise above a difficult, lonely childhood and start a business and not wallow or feel sorry for herself. She really wants to do the right thing and move forward, be productive and find love and make a life for herself. So she has this intense, pragmatic, sensible side, but then – with her fiancé, Heath – she just completely gives in to that wild, passionate, romantic part of her that she’s been suppressing since she was a child. In spite of the disappointments and tragedy of her past, she secretly still believes in the concept of a soul mate and has found it in Heath and is utterly devoted to him. This woman will just fight, fight, fight to the end to preserve their love. I just love her brave, good heart. But then, of course, this creates some significant obstacles for her as well, and she has to learn to temper both aspects of her personality.
Find out more about Emily on her website here: https://emilycarpenterauthor.com/