I’m delighted to have Edwin Hill with us today! Edwin is the Edgar- and Agatha-award nominated author of three novels in the Hester Thursby series. His first standalone thriller, The Secrets We Share, will arrive in bookstores March 29th. (Comment on this post or on Facebook for a chance to win! But do it by launch day, March 29)
If you are in the Boston area, join Edwin at Brookline Booksmith for the launch! RSVP here.
Tracee: Edwin, Previously you’ve written a mystery series, could you share the spark of inspiration behind your new thriller, The Secrets We Share?
Edwin: I loved writing the Hester Thursby series but was looking for a new challenge. I was inspired by Hank Phillippi Ryan, who wrote her first standalone title, Trust Me, in 2018 after writing two successful series. She often talks about how enjoyable it is to write a standalone, where anyone can be good and anyone could be bad. With a series, it’s important to protect your core cast, so it freeing to be able to take any of the characters in any direction I wanted! This is a novel where you can’t really trust anyone, which would have been hard to do with the series.
Plotting or planning
Tracee: I won’t even hint at the ending but admit to falling for a few red herrings as I literally stayed up late into the night engrossed in Natalie and Glenn’s story. Are you a careful plotter or do you dash to the end and connect the dots in revision?
Edwin: With this book, I had so many false starts I couldn’t even begin to claim to be a plotter! When I started, it was about a couple that ran an elite boarding school in New Hampshire. Then it transitioned into a story about a therapist who spies on his clients. Thankfully, the therapist had two sisters named Natalie and Glenn who came in and stole the show.
Tracee: In addition to being a great story, The Secrets We Share has wonderful characters and a sense of place. I believe you had another location in mind when you began writing, why the change?
Edwin: This was my pandemic book, so besides changing the story radically at least two times, I decided to keep things easy on myself and limit the amount of research I had to do. Once I figured out what I was actually doing, I set the story in my own neighborhood in Boston and used an abandoned factory that’s about a mile from my house as inspiration. The story starts when a twelve-year-old girl sneaks into the factory and finds a body being devoured by rats. Of course, the factory has been sitting there rotting away ever since I moved here, but as soon as I started writing the book, it was torn town and replaced by condos!
One thing I love about setting books in Massachusetts is that you can always use the weather to help with atmosphere. I set this book in the weeks right before Thanksgiving, when it’s dark and winter is just setting in – perfect for a creepy thriller!
Tracee: What’s next for you? More in the series or another stand alone? Either way, I’m looking forward to it.
Edwin: I took the concept that I rejected for The Secrets We Share – the therapist who spies on his clients – and reimagined it a bit. The novel is still in its infancy, so I don’t know much more about it, but I am liking where it’s going! I think it will be called Bad Behavior.
Tracee: Well, I for one, can’t wait. Thanks for joining us today and thanks for offering a copy of The Secrets We Share to one lucky responder! For a chance to win please comment here, or on Facebook or Twitter. But do it by launch day, March 29!