BARBARA TAYLOR SISSEL: THE IDEA OF CROOKED LITTLE LIES CAME FROM AN EXPERIENCE
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Barbara Taylor Sissel’s latest novel Crooked Little Lies will be released on August 1. The book was selected as part of Kindle First program and already gathered big steam.
With 260 plus reviews with average 4.0 Amazon stars the story starts its literary journey by the best possible way. The interest towards Crooked Little Lies puts the novel in Amazon Top 10 for the last three weeks. We’ve got a great chance to speak with Barbara.
Once again huge thanks to our good friend from Lake Union Publishing Dennelle Catlett.
– Barbara, Tell us about your new book, Crooked Little Lies. What is it about?
– Lauren Wilder is a wife and mother, and a businesswoman, who is accustomed to thinking of herself as ordinary, capable and reliable, until an accidental fall leaves her in a fragile state both physically and mentally. Now in recovery her every move is suspect; her every word is looked on with mistrust. Never more so than when she’s implicated in the disappearance of a young man, Bo Laughlin, with whom she had only the briefest of encounters. At least that’s how she remembers it. But the police have doubts, and as the search for Bo ensues, and the police hammer her with questions regarding her involvement, Lauren becomes terrified, not of what she remembers but of what she doesn’t.
With nowhere to turn, she begins her own investigation into the mystery of Bo’s disappearance, and immediately uncovers what seems to be a web of deceit, one that’s shared by her family and friends. But is her perception of events as they unfold real or a twisted projection of her damaged mind? The question CROOKED LITTLE LIES asks is this: What would you do if almost overnight the life you loved and depended on was taken from you and you were left with no one you could trust, not even yourself.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– The original idea came from an experience I had while running errands around my own neighborhood. I would see a young man regularly, walking along the residential streets and also along the interstate feeder road. He was so determined in his stride, so intent on some goal. For a while I assumed his focus was on his destination. I imagined all sorts of scenarios: he was walking to his job, to his girlfriend’s house, or to the grocery store. But I saw him so frequently and in so many different areas, I began to be concerned about his circumstances. In trying to get help for him, I found he had refused all assistance. My heart went out to his family, and the story grew out of imagining what it must be like when someone you love is unstable and refuses medical care. Not to mention, putting themselves in danger every day. So many things could happen in a heartbeat. A person like that is so vulnerable. They might go missing without a trace. A family would be helpless to prevent that. A search would be nearly impossible, given the way this young man travels. He could be almost anywhere.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Keeping the reader in the dark without seeming obvious. Not giving too much away.
– Tell us something more about your main characters, Bo and Lauren? Are they based on people from your real life?
– Bo is based on the young man in my neighborhood I mentioned earlier. Lauren came along to meet him all on her own. I got to know her through writing about her.
– How long did it take you to write Crooked Little Lies?
– About five months from start to first finished draft, then another three or four months to the final.
– Tell us about your previous books, Safe Keeping and Evidence of Life?
– Evidence of Life tells the story of Abby Bennett who waves goodbye to her husband and daughter only to learn later that they’re missing and presumed drowned in a flood that overtook the campground where they were to spend the weekend. Abby refuses to accept that they’re gone and undertakes a search for them on her own only to discover that there’s much more to her family’s disappearance than she at first imagined.
Safe Keeping opens with this sentence: My son is a murderer. . . . When her thirty-something son, Tucker, is once again targeted as a suspect in the matter of yet another young woman who has been found dead near their home, Emily Lebay and daughter, Lissa, launch an investigation to finally uncover the truth behind the crimes. But even as Tucker’s life hangs in the balance, what they find will not only prove more shocking than they could have imagined, it will also alter their lives forever.
– Tell us about Barbara Taylor Sissel?
– I think I’m living a nearly perfect life! I do work that I love in an idyllic setting, living where I do, in the Hill Country of Texas. The view outside my windows stretches for miles and is an endless source of changing beauty and fascination. It’s quiet and conducive to writing. I love being outside and love to grow things so it’s wonderful to have room to spread out and try different sorts of landscaping. From water gardens to shady perennial borders to desert cactus gardens, I’ve got room to do it all.
– What are your writing habits?
– I’m very regular about it. I work every morning from around 8 until lunch. I seldom deviate as I find once I’ve established the direction of a story, I need the continuity to keep everything cohesive. I come back again after lunch, but I might only work on the actual manuscript for an hour or so. Four hours is about tops for me when I’m working on something new. Editing is different, especially if I have a deadline. That might result in some 8 to 10 or more hours of work straight through.
– What are you working on next?
– It’s something I’ve had nightmares about, more so when my two sons were teenagers and got drivers licenses. The story begins with that dreaded middle of the night phone call, the one where the caller identifies himself as a deputy sheriff and asks you if you’re so-and-so’s mother. The car accident the deputy is calling about is horrific, but the fallout from the car accident is even more devastating and deadly, and in the end it isn’t only bones that are fractured, but an entire family. What will it take for them to find peace? Is forgiveness even possible?
– You are an avid gardener. Do you find inspiration in or while you’re tending to your plants and vegetables?
– I actually seek inspiration there! Gardening is very meditative. I find often my mind will loosen when I’m outdoors, working with the plants. It will give me just the next line of dialogue or a whole plot twist or it will show me the way to get out of the corner I’ve written myself into. Sometimes, on certain days, I’m back and forth between the garden and the computer many times.
– Is there a question I haven’t asked, but that you would like to answer?
– I can’t think of one, but I do want to thank you for having me today. I enjoyed answering these questions and I would love to hear from anyone through my website if they should have further questions! Thanks so much again for this opportunity to talk about my books and my work.