This week’s FAST FIVE Author Interview spotlights Kate Fellowes, author of the novel Thunder in the Night. I am a member of Sisters in Crime, Inc. (SinC) and Sisters in Crime Hawaii Chapter (SinC/Hawaii). Earlier this year, via Internet, I joined Kate’s Wisconsin chapter, WISinC. When Kate asked for “any mystery/suspense/romantic suspense authors among the group” willing to participate in the book launch of her latest novel, Thunder in the Night, I thought of Doc Holliday in the movie, Tombstone, when he said, “I’m your Huckleberry.” Kate graciously agreed to an interview.
Welcome, Kate. Thank you for offering to give us a preview of your new novel, Thunder in the Night. Rather
than the 140 characters we’ve grown accustomed to on Twitter, can you share with us a more detailed account
of the novel and your research for Thunder
in the Night?
KATE FELLOWES: Thunder
in the Night is my fifth romantic
suspense novel and it's a launch title for the new Crimson Romance ebook line,
debuting June 4th.
My heroine is writer
Allison Belsar. She's on a trip to Belize with a group of local zoo supporters.
The tour is supposed to be an educational adventure, but almost immediately
Allison can sense all is not as it seems. The zoo director and his assistant
don't get along on nearly every level and it becomes obvious they are both
keeping secrets. Of course, this is bait to Allison, who is eager to do stories
with more substance than the chatty travel bit she's been assigned.
Mart, the assistant
director, is more than willing to answer her questions--to a point. Over the
course of those tropical nights, the attraction they feel for each other sparks
and then flames. Allison finds herself hoping it will be more than just a
holiday romance. When she suffers a fall in the ruins of Tikal and that very
night her room is broken into, Mart takes her into his confidence. Her earlier
hunch was on the money--something is very wrong on the zoo trek. But as things
turn out, it isn't what either of them anticipate.
Intrigue follows them
home and once they are back in the States, events escalate, culminating at the
zoo's biggest fundraiser, the Mardi Gras ball. Working together, they unmask a
killer and help break up a ring of criminals who prey on the most innocent of
I love to read romantic
suspense and am especially fond of those writers who represent, for me, the
golden age of the genre: Phyllis Whitney, Barbara Michaels, Mary Stewart. One
thing you find with their books is you always come away from the story having learned
something. I love that, too. With my own work, this book and others, I like to
sprinkle in a few facts or interesting tidbits that enhance the action of the
story. This book, with so many environmental aspects, made that
part--researching and sprinkling--even more fun.
I'm an information
gatherer and I've worked in a library most of my adult life, so doing
background research on Belize and Mayan ruins was all in a day's work. Now,
with the internet making armchair travel so easy, I was able to virtually fly
in a helicopter over the rainforest and ride a zipline through the jungle.
Someone who read the novel asked me when I was there and I'd have to say that
was on my lunch break a few months ago!
FAST FIVE: Your “visit” to
Belize and the Mayan ruins is incentive for aspiring writers to dig deep when
developing the setting for their characters. In Thunder in the Night, your protagonist is a writer for a local
magazine involved with a group of local zoo supporters. Is “the job” the most important part
of Allison’s life?
KATE FELLOWES: Allison's
career is very important to her, even more so now, because she is coming off a
bad marriage and has recently been a casualty of staff cuts at her previous
position. Her father is her role model--his example and advice are touchstones
for her. She is resilient, able to adapt to changes and meet challenges. She's
smart and independent and unafraid.
Allison will look you in
the eye and ask the uncomfortable question, then not look away until you answer
it. She has a geniune curiosity about the world and a genuine sympathy for
others. She doesn't put on any airs and graces, and that draws people to her.
If you met her at a party, Allison would set you instantly at ease and you
would feel as if you'd known her for years rather than minutes.
FAST FIVE: The
Mystery/Suspense genre is the focus of Fast Five interviews, but what unique
twist makes your novel stand out?
FELLOWES: Thunder in the Night has a love story at its core, combining an exotic setting with
adventure, intrigue and betrayal. The crime that drives the mystery, motivates
the murder and ultimately draws Allison and Mart together is a global one but,
once they fly home, it's taking place on a really local level. That's always a
fascinating concept: what is going on in your own backyard, right under your
nose, so to speak, and you don't even have a clue? Luckily, Allison and Mart do
have the clues--and, of course, they have each other.
FAST FIVE: How does your
main character’s profession draw her into suspenseful situations, (murder, for
KATE FELLOWES: Allison
is now writing for a local magazine after being downsized from a big newspaper.
Her goal is to be an investigative journalist, ferreting out injustice and
abuses of power, so she's frustrated having to do this travel piece on the trip
to Belize. As soon as she realizes there's trouble on the trek, her reporter
instincts kick into high gear. I think wherever she goes, Allison will always
be looking for the Real Story. In Belize, she definitely finds it!
FAST FIVE: Is Thunder in the Night part of a series,
and are you working on a sequel?
KATE FELLOWES: This book
is not part of a series, Allison and Mart will be happy, ever after! I'm
currently shopping around a cozy mystery series (I have two titles written, so
far) and am looking forward to beginning a new novel over the summer, which is
always such a good time to write. But then, so is winter..... :)
FAST FIVE: Thank you for
visiting today, Kate, and for the revealing look at your protagonist Allison. I
look forward to the June 4th release date of Thunder in the Night and will keep an eye out for that Cozy Mystery
series. This last is not a Fast Five question, more an “if/then” scenario: If
Paris is not an option, then where would you most like to spend your time
writing and why.
KATE FELLOWES: I have
two favorite places to write. The first is under the apple trees in our
backyard on a summer afternoon. That's one of my favorite places to read, too,
so you can always find me there, deep in one book or the other!
The second place is in
the stacks of the library at my alma mater, Alverno College. If I want to
really concentrate on my writing and come away with good material, I hop in the
car and go back to school. Up in the stacks, I'm totally undisturbed. No phones
ringing, no chores beckoning, no time clock to keep an eye on. Because I
studied there so much back in the day, I remember the library being a place to
do real work, so that's what still happens! Hours pass and I'm always smiling
as I leave because I've had another great day of writing. Even though I don't
get there nearly as often as I'd like to, I always do make it a point to get
there. Every one of my novels has been written, in large part or small, in the
stacks at school.
Where to find Kate Fellowes on the Internet: