LIVE TO TELL - READ-ALONG SEGMENT 5

CHAPTERS 16 TO END

I couldn’t resist having Byron and Mike work for the Providence Journal—or PRO JO as the locals call it. Seemed fitting for a book about political corruption--that was rampant in Rhode Island when we lived in Providence and Bristol for almost four years after we first got married, and I read the Pro Jo every day.

One of my favorite marketing tag lines for this book was “How far would you go to save your children?” This applies not only to Lauren Walsh, but to the Quinns.

As in all my books, I worked hard to motivate the characters. How does a man like Garvey Quinn go from hero to murderer? As a parent, I know that fear for an endangered child is one of the most all-encompassing, visceral emotions one can experience. With Garvey’s character, I wanted to show that desperation to save his daughter’s life had pushed him over the edge.

When it comes to hot-button morality topics, few are as charged as the issues of “savior siblings” and stem cell research. Cancer is rampant in my family, as it is in many. My uncle died of it when he was 8 and my grandma, about to turn 92, still cries over him, and over my mom, whom she also lost to cancer. While I rarely publically discuss politics or religion, I’ll admit that I’m personally strongly in favor of doing whatever is medically and scientifically possible to save lives.

It’s always crucial--and a challenge--to tie up all the loose ends in the final pages of a thriller. Here, I not only had to let the reader know what happened to everyone, but I also needed to arouse curiosity about what will happen to them next, because there’s going to be a sequel (well, two). Close doors, open doors—and do it quickly, or you’ll kill the pacing.

I thought I knew where I was going with the sequel before I started writing it, and I quickly wrote and handed in the first twenty-five pages or so of SCARED TO DEATH right after I finished LIVE TO TELL. That was necessary because we wanted to get the excerpt into the end of this book.

But a few months later, when I actually sat down to write SCARED TO DEATH, I realized I had gone off in the wrong direction. LIVE TO TELL was already in galley stage at that point (October), and it’s not easy to make changes at that stage. Thank God I have an understanding editor. Lucia allowed me to tweak the excerpt in keeping with my new vision.

Stay tuned for SCARED TO DEATH, which goes on sale in December, to be soon followed by HELL TO PAY!

Read the excerpt from SCARED TO DEATH. Click here.

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Comment by John on March 23, 2010 at 3:11pm
Mission accomplished, my friend! You did a great job of closing some doors only to open others, and I am already making plans to scour eBay for an ARC when the time comes. While the whole book in its entirety was a page-turner, I read the last few chapters in a frenzy (as seems to be my tradition with your books). Thanks for another GREAT read! :)

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