Book: A Stranger on the Beach
Photos Credit: Nina Subin
Author: Michele Campbell
1. What are you most excited for readers to unearth in your newly-released novel ‘A Stranger On The Beach’?
I’d compare A Stranger on the Beach to Fatal Attraction or Body Heat. It’s the story of two gorgeous, charismatic, yet ultimately unreliable people who have an intense one-night stand that turns toxic and dangerous.
The main experience I want for my readers is that they be thoroughly transported, immersed and entertained. If they also think about the issues of class, money, upward mobility, age, and gender that are raised by the book, then great. Those are all there, but I did not set out to write a “message” book and I don’t think I have. I’ve written a true psychological thriller.
2. What makes the beach/ocean such an epic backdrop for a thriller novel?
The beachfront setting – in a fabulous house in the Hamptons, set partly during a hurricane -- is simultaneously glamorous and dangerous. And that’s this book in a nutshell.
3. Do feel that you share any particular characteristics with the main character, Caroline?
Ambition and a fondness for material things. But I would never allow those characteristics to dictate my conduct the way she does.
4. Is Aidan meant to be sinister or misunderstood?
5. You are known for your great psychological thriller novels! What is the secret to holding suspense so that readers are turning the pages frightened and mentally captivated throughout?
It’s partly in the concept. Here two people meet, and one becomes dangerously obsessed with the other. If that was all there, it would still have the makings of a great thriller.
But here, there’s also the dual, he said/she said perspective, which leaves the readers questioning who is telling the truth.
Maybe Aidan is stalking Caroline, or maybe it’s Caroline who’s pursuing Aidan. It’s that added bonus in the set-up that makes this book such a head trip.
6. What made you want to write ‘A Stranger On The Beach’ from varying character perspectives?
This is a Fatal Attraction story, meaning a stalker story. Normally that type of story is told from the perspective of the victim. In You, Caroline Kepnes turned the genre on its head and told it from the perspective of the stalker.
I thought telling it from both perspectives would be new, fresh, fun and also really suspenseful. It’s a way to mine the unreliable narrator trope that is the hallmark of modern suspense.
Caroline and Aidan see the same events in completely different ways. How is that possible? What is the truth? Is Caroline a liar? Is Aidan mentally disturbed? Both?
I really enjoyed the process of taking one character’s version of events and twisting it to see through the other character’s eyes. Readers will have the experience of questioning what the reality is? It’s a wild ride, and it was fun to write.
7. How have your past experiences as a federal prosecutor helped you when writing suspense and thriller novels?
An author uses everything she knows when she writes. That includes universal things as well as specific things. I’m a lawyer and a former federal prosecutor, and I write about crime. I’m also a person, a woman, a wife, a mom, a friend.
It all goes into the mix. However, I do believe that my previous career in law enforcement, as well as my familiarity with the setting, gives my books an extra authenticity. There will always be a police investigation in any Michele Campbell book.
8. What’s the best book you have read in 2019?
A book that’s not out until 2020 – The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor. It’s an absolutely thrilling, evocative and very literary suspense novel about an American detective who goes to Ireland to investigate the disappearance of her beloved cousin.
I’m right in the middle of it, and I can barely think about anything else.
9. Do you plan to write more books in the future?
I am writing another book. My fourth book, The Wife Who Knew Too Much, is coming summer 2020. Inspired partly by that great classic of psychological suspense, Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, it’s the story of a waitress from small-town New Hampshire who marries a wealthy man whose first wife died in an apparent suicide.
But what really happened to the first wife? As the protagonist is drawn deeper into the dark glamour of a life she’s ill-prepared for, it becomes clear to her that what a wife knows can kill her.
Places To Find More From This Author:
Facebook: Michele Campbell Books
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