I might be a little biased here but I ADORE Kimberley Belle. I love her books, her style, her writing and frankly, we’ve met and she’s absolutely DARLING in person. She made me drink Fireball in Nashville and we listened to some amazing music and had a truly wonderful time (with fellow Calamity Dame, Emily Carpenter). As much as I love Kim, I really REALLY love her books. I read Three Days Missing in less than, well, three days. I immediately wanted to talk to her about it!
So, tell us about THREE DAYS MISSING! What was the inspiration to write it?
Three Days Missing is the story about a little boy, Ethan, who goes missing during an overnight trip with his 2nd-grade class. Shocked and distraught, his mother Kat rushes to the campground but she’s too late; the search party has returned empty-handed. Meanwhile, another mother, Stef, receives a mysterious call about her own son. She hardly knows Kat, except for the vicious gossip that swirls around Kat’s traumatic past. But as the police investigation unfolds, Ethan’s disappearance will have earth-shattering consequences in Stef’s own life—and the paths of these two mothers are about to cross in ways no one could have anticipated.
As for inspiration, I don’t always know where my ideas come from. This one popped into my head at the most inopportune time – when I was halfway through another story—and it wouldn’t let me go. But I always honor the story gods. I put down the other story to write Three Days Missing.
Why do you gravitate towards writing suspense? What is it the draws you?
I write domestic suspense in part, I think, because of my background in women’s fiction. I love writing about relationships—parent-child, husband-wife, siblings. I love exploring the emotions that come along with these kinds of bonds, mostly because they’re so universally recognizable. Toss in the suspense angle—a lying spouse, a child gone missing—and it’s a what-if scenario everyone can imagine themselves in. That’s the appeal of the genre, actually, that people will read it and think, that could have been me.
Who is your absolute favorite suspense author and why do you love them? What do you think they do particularly well and what do you learn from them?
I adore Karin Slaughter, and I’ve never read a book of hers I haven’t loved. She gets everything right—a strong hook, interesting characters, twists you never see coming. Reading one of her books is a study in suspense, and many times I’ll hit The End and then go back and read it again, just to see what I missed the first time around. She’s a true master.
Do you know the killer when you start? If not, when do you figure it out?
Usually, yes. I work from an outline, and though I do give myself room for things to change as I write, I always know where I’m headed. The only exception is in The Last Breath, a story about a woman who returns home to care for her terminally ill father who’s just been released from prison for the murder of her stepmother, and now he’s coming home to die. There were three possible killers in this story, and though I always knew it would be one of them, I couldn’t decide which one until I was ¾ of the way through the story.
Do you have a theme you’re exploring in your latest book? What about that theme is interesting to you?
One of the big themes in Three Days Missing is that you never know what’s going on behind another person’s closed doors. A lot of what people show the world is not who they are in private, and I definitely explore that – the good, the bad, and the really ugly – in this story. It’s actually a theme that was inspired by the experience of a dear friend, whose husband abused her for years. She didn’t tell anyone, so when he beat her badly enough to send her to the hospital, it came as a huge shock to her family and friends. Abuse is often like that, a couple’s dirty little secret. She is one of my closest girlfriends, and I had no idea what was happening inside her home.
Particularly for writing thrillers, pacing seems to be a major sticking point for both writers and readers. How do you manage to walk the line between in-depth character development and a swift pace that moves the plot along?
Ha! If I only knew the answer to that one. For me, it’s always a struggle to balance the two, but I do try to come up with scenes that both move the story forward and deepen character for the people populating the scene. In Three Days Missing, for example, each mother responds differently to the story dangers, and their reaction says something about who they are as a person. Do they ask for help or demand it? Are they brave or do they fall down in a crying heap? Character development doesn’t necessarily have to slow the story down.
Well, Kim, you certainly know how to move a story along and still write characters that stick. A true talent, and NO easy feat! I’m so happy to call Kimberley a writer pal. I might have to fly all the way to Atlanta to plot every one of my books!
Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of four novels: The Last Breath, The Ones We Trust, The Marriage Lie, and the forthcoming Three Days Missing (6.26.18). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Agnes Scott College and has worked in marketing and fundraising for various nonprofits, both at home and abroad. She divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.
Keep up with Kimberly on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KimberlyBelleBooks), Twitter
(@KimberlySBelle), Instagram (@KimberlySBelle) and Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/KimberlyBelle). For more about Kimberly and her books, please visit her website, www.kimberlybellebooks.
Kate Moretti is the New York Times Bestselling author of four novels and a novella, including Thought I Knew You, While You Were Gone, Binds That Tie, The Vanishing Year, and Blackbird Season. Her first novel THOUGHT I KNEW YOU, was a New York Times bestseller. THE VANISHING YEAR was a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards Mystery/Thriller category for 2016 and was called “chillingly satisfying.” (Publisher’s Weekly) with “superb” closing twists (New York Times Book Review).
Kate has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for twenty years as a scientist and enjoys traveling and cooking. She lives in Pennsylvania in an old farmhouse with her husband, two children and no known ghosts. Her lifelong dream is to find a secret passageway. See more at www.katemoretti.com