Glede Browne Kabongo - Unflinching Tales of Deception, Secrecy and Danger
GLEDE BROWNE KABONGO writes gripping psychological thrillers--unflinching tales of deception, secrecy, danger and family. She is the #1 Amazon bestselling author of The Fearless Series, Swan Deception, Conspiracy of Silence, and Mark of Deceit. Her love affair with books began as a young girl growing up in the Caribbean, where her town library overlooked the Atlantic Ocean. She was trading books and discussing them with neighbors before Book Clubs became popular. Gledé holds a Master's degree in Communications and was a featured speaker at the 2016 Boston Book Festival. She leads workshops on publishing and the craft of writing and hopes to win an Academy Award for screenwriting. Gledé lives outside Boston with her husband and two sons. As our Author of the Day, she tells us about her book, Winds of Fear.
Please give us a short introduction to what Winds of Fear is about.
Winds of Fear is “a chilling, edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller” about a suburban mom who suspects her new neighbors are hiding a dark secret, especially when they express an unnatural fascination with her oldest son. The novel focuses on Abbie Rambally’s determination to uncover what her neighbors are hiding before it’s too late.
What inspired you to write about someone who doesn't trust her neighbors?
Winds of Fear is the third stand-alone novel in my Fearless Series. Because my main character faced difficult and complicated situations in the previous two novels, she has learned to trust her instincts. The new neighbors, the Paynes, just seem too good to be true. When Jenna Payne, the wife, starts asking deeply personal questions about Lucas, Abbie’s oldest son, she knows something isn’t right, and sees the potential for danger. Abbie is definitely in mama bear mode throughout the story.
Tell us more about Abbie Rambally. What makes her tick?
A blogger wrote to me after she finished reading Autumn of Fear, book two in the series and she described Abbie as “a warrior”. I think that’s an accurate description of the character. What makes Abbie tick is a fierce, unrelenting drive to achieve her goals and overcome any obstacle in her way, while demonstrating an authenticity and vulnerability readers relate to. It doesn’t matter if the stakes are personal, professional or other, Abbie is always embroiled in some sinister plot that pushes her beyond her limits. As she said in the opening chapter of Game of Fear “I attract trouble like a magnet despite my best intentions.”
Winds of Fear has an interesting cover. How did that come about?
I wanted continuity in the series so my designer and I worked to create the same look of intrigue, mystery and foreboding as the previous two covers. Black & white was a natural choice, with a bold color, yellow.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’ve worked in marketing and communications for over fifteen years for companies in the high-tech, energy management, financial services and trade publishing industries. I also have master’s degree in communications, and worked briefly as a freelance journalist right out of college.
Readers say that this book had plenty of twists and turns. Did you plan them out before you started writing, or did some of it just "happen" along the way?
I usually have a few tricks up my sleeve in terms of the twists and turns from the beginning. The magic truly happens in the writing process when so many ideas occur about where the plot could go or what obstacles characters will encounter, and which boundaries they’re willing to push or obliterate to overcome those obstacles.
Winds of Fear is one of those books you can’t put down and, when you do, you’re still thinking about it. How did you pull this off?
It was important to me that the story combined gripping suspense with powerful, emotional resonance. When you mix complex characters with hidden agendas, and complicated histories, then pit them against each other with competing motivations and goals, it makes for an unputdownable story readers love. Plus, there has to be a twist at the end. It’s in the psychological thriller rule book.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I’m a hardcore outliner/plotter in the beginning but I also leave room for the story to unfold organically. That’s where the pearls of the story often lie. After the outline, I still brainstorm the scenes, often wondering how far I can push the characters, and what dark places I’m willing to take them.
The book was written from different POVs - why did you take this approach?
Multiple POVs is a popular thriller device but I chose this route because it made the most sense for the story. Each POV character added to the richness and tapestry of the story, challenged the main character in various ways, and was instrumental in building the edge-of-your-seat suspense that readers loved.
This is part of a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
Absolutely, it can be read as a standalone. I wrote the series that way on purpose. Each book represents a part of the main character’s life journey. In book one, Game of Fear, readers are introduced to Abbie Cooper as a seventeen-year old high school senior hellbent on getting into the Ivy League. But even then, she had secrets and opposing forces equally determined to bury her. In Autumn of Fear, she’s a college student who must unravel a stunning web of lies that stretch back decades in order to solve the mystery of a vicious assault that landed her in the hospital with gaps in her memory. Winds of Fear takes place 10 years after college. At this point, Abbie is married with a family and pursuing her Ph.D. when shady neighbors come calling.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on Fearless, the final book in the series (unless readers clamor for more Abbie). I’m also way overdue for my next standalone novel so I’ll be working on House of Lies as well.