Erik Therme - Harrowing Psychological Thrillers
Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, If She Dies.
Please give us a short introduction to what If She Dies is about.
Nine months ago, Tess Parker's five-year-old was hit and killed by Brady Becker in a car accident. When Brady is sent to prison, Tess begins following his twelve-year-old daughter as a way to come to terms with the loss. When Brady’s daughter goes missing, Tess is the likely suspect and must learn the truth to prove her innocence.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
My greatest fear, as with most parents, I imagine, is the death of a child. How do you live through that moment, let alone the days, months, and years that follow? Or even worse, what if the person responsible wasn't brought to proper justice?
Tell us more about Tess. What makes her tick?
I wish I knew! Joking aside, I've had multiple readers say they get frustrated with Tess and her decisions, which is kind of the point. She's trapped in time, unable to move forward, but also unable to escape the past. All she has is her pain, grief, and struggling marriage.
The book touches on some heavy themes. Why did you take this approach?
I'm endlessly fascinated by people's motivations and the choices they make. Life is complicated and messy, and even the best of us have dark moments. Do the ends justify the means? Do two wrongs make a right? These are the types of questions that drive my characters to do what they do. Many times I’m as surprised as the reader by the results.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I've watched thousands of movies and excel at movie trivia. I’m also a semi-compulsive organizer and can easily spend hours making spreadsheets, lists, or reorganizing the nooks and crannies of our house.
Readers say If She Dies has some unpredictable twists. Did you plan it all out before you started writing or did some of it just "happen" along the way?
I never outline my novels, so most of the twists occur organically, but I always have an idea in my head when I start. I love giving readers those "gotcha" moments, but it’s also a double-edged sword, as sometimes the pressure to include a twist—as opposed to simply focusing on telling a compelling story—can backfire.
This is book one of a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
It wasn't my intention to write a series when I started If She Dies, but once finished, I knew these characters had more to do and say. Both this book and the sequel can be read as standalones, but each story brings new characters and complications to the series.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I write in Mogwai slippers (from the movie Gremlins) while listening to movie soundtracks and enjoying a cold Mt. Dew.
What are you working on right now?
I've just finished the first draft of If She Lives, the third (and final) book in the series. Next comes the endless rewrites!
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I love connecting with readers on Facebook and Twitter. To be notified of new releases, you can follow me on Amazon or sign up for my mailing list: http://eepurl.com/cD1F8L