“When Zoe meets Dan, he’s everything she is looking for in a man – intelligent, charming, supportive.
It’s only after they’re married that she realises that he’s controlling, aggressive, paranoid.
And there’s no way out.
Or is there?
Zoe knows she has to escape, but Dan’s found her once before, and she knows he can find her again.
But Dan has plans of his own. Plans that don’t necessarily include Zoe.
Be careful who you trust . . .
I am delighted to welcome you to damppebbles today as I have something quite special to share. I don’t do many interviews or Q&As on the blog but when I do, it’s always with an author whose books mean a lot to me. Today I have a Q&A with J.S. Carol, who writes the awesome Jefferson Winter books (as James Carol) and today publishes his utterly brilliant standalone psychological thriller Kiss Me Kill Me in paperback. A very happy publication day to James and the team at Bonnier Zaffre! If you missed my review of Kiss Me Kill Me when it was released in eBook earlier this year then please click HERE. I rather liked it!
But let’s not dither about any more than we need to. Here’s my Q&A with James…
DP: Welcome to damppebbles.com, James and thank you so much for joining me today.
I have read and loved KISS ME KILL ME (along with all of your other books!). Could you tell us a little about where the inspiration behind the book came from?
JSC: Thank you so much and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Like all my books KISS ME KILL ME started off with a question. I was sitting around one day and an image popped into my head of a woman staring at the pink cross on a pregnancy test and being totally devastated. To start with I thought she didn’t want the baby, but that wasn’t the case. That’s when the questions started. Why had this upset her so much? Why was she hiding away in the bathroom doing the test in secret? What was she worried might happen? The big question though was why didn’t she want her husband to know…?
DP: I am an avid reader of the crime and thriller genre so I’ve learnt over the years to look for clues whilst reading and try and guess where the story is going. One of the things I love most about your books is how you always manage to surprise me. How do you ensure you stay one step ahead of other authors in the same genre and keep us readers on our toes?
JSC: That’s a tough one, and it’s getting tougher. Like you pointed out, crime and thriller readers want to solve the crime. What’s more, they’re getting better at doing it too. If you keep them guessing until the end then you win. However, if they work it out then they feel cheated. It’s a real high-wire act. Get it wrong and that’s it, game over.
I think the way I write helps me to stay one step ahead. Rather than plot things out, I get an idea and then run with it. What this means is that my stories often go off in directions that I wasn’t expecting. The theory I subscribe to is that if things are taking me by surprise then hopefully they’ll take the reader by surprise too.
DP: The characters in KISS ME KILL ME are a fascinating bunch. What do you like most about Zoe? About Daniel? And what’s your least favourite thing about them?
JSC: What I like most about Zoe is the fact that even though life has dragged her all the way down to rock bottom, she manages to find the strength to try to escape. Daniel might be controlling every aspect of her life, but he hasn’t totally broken her. The thing I don’t like is her lack of confidence. This is a trait that I share with her, and one that I find annoying in myself.
With Daniel there’s not much I like, to be honest. I can see why Zoe fell for him. At the start he was charming and seemed genuine – there was nothing to suggest that he was the monster he turned out to be. The one thing I did like was writing him. The evil characters are always so much more fun to write than the good ones!
DP: If KISS ME KILL ME was made into a movie, who would you want to play Zoe and Daniel? Who would you choose to play Gabriel?
JSC: Jennifer Lawrence would make a great Zoe. She’s the right age and she would be able to project the combination of toughness and vulnerability the role would require. Patrick J Adams from Suits would be great as Gabriel. I could imagine Zoe trusting him. For Daniel I’d go for Daniel Radcliffe. He seems to be trying to shake off the Harry Potter tag so I can imagine him getting his teeth into a bad guy role. [DP: I LOVE the idea of Daniel Radcliffe playing Daniel. What a perfect choice!]
DP: Do you have any plans to write a sequel to KISS ME KILL ME. I had the feeling that should you want to, the opportunity was there to continue the story…?
JSC: KISS ME KILL ME was conceived as a standalone so at this stage there are no plans for a follow up. That said, if a suitable story presented itself then I would definitely consider writing it. One thing I love about writing is the way that the characters take on a life of their own. This was especially true with Zoe. There was a whole bunch of things she did that surprised me, so who knows, maybe her story isn’t quite finished yet.
DP: And finally, what question do you wish I had asked but didn’t (and what’s the answer!)?
JSC: What’s your favourite flavour of muffin? I’ve got to say muffins are a bit of a weakness. Most days I’ll have one while I’m writing. And blueberry is my favourite … except on the days when it’s chocolate chip… then there are these amazing salted caramel ones that you sometimes get … so many to choose from!
Thank you so much for joining me today, James.
Kiss Me Kill Me by J.S. Carol was published in the UK by Bonnier Zaffre on 31st May 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Book Depository | Goodreads |
J. S. Carol is the author of The Killing Game, which has been shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. As James Carol, he has also written the bestselling Jefferson Winter series. Broken Dolls, the first of these, was published in 2014 to rave reviews and reached #1 on the Amazon fiction and thriller charts. In addition James is writing a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. Presumed Guilty is the first of these.
James lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children. When he’s not writing he can usually be found in a pair of headphones, recording and producing music.