By Cathy Clamp
Kendra Elliot’s third novel in the Bone Secrets series is a gripping tale that’s ripped from the newspaper headlines. A bus filled with children goes missing. When the wreckage is discovered, there’s only one survivor. But one child is missing from the scene and nobody knows why. What follows is a tense and thrilling ride across the years to discover what happened to that lone child, because his brother, reporter Michael Brody, will never give up looking. For twenty long years the answer of what happened to his brother Daniel the day his school bus disappeared has eluded him. And no matter who tries to stop him, he will learn the truth.
ITW Contributing Editor Cathy Clamp sat down to talk about BURIED, which follows on the heels of CHILLED, a Kindle top 100 paid best seller list, and debut novel, HIDDEN, which was on Kindle’s 2012 overall top 100 bestseller list.
This is the third in your Bone Secrets novels, but it’s not a typical series with a single protagonist. How would you characterize the series for someone starting with the third book?
Series might be the wrong word to describe the books. I usually say “related.” They’re all stand alone novels with the same levels of romance and suspense, but I give secondary characters a chance to be main characters in subsequent books. I didn’t want readers to feel they needed to start with the first book. I write each one with the assumption that it will be read by a person who hasn’t read any of my other books.
Tell us a little about the Bone Secrets world for readers who haven’t visited before.
I love forensics. I love to hear how forensics specialists solve mysteries based on what was left behind at crime scenes. My main characters have been a forensic odontologist, a forensic nurse, and I’m currently writing about a forensic anthropologist. It gives me a chance to study topics that fascinate me and then incorporate that education into a book. My readers can count on enjoying suspense intertwined with a romance and a well-disguised science lesson.
This book tackles a pretty difficult subject for a lot of people — the disappearance of a busload of children. Where did you get the idea for the plot?
I think it was a reaction to a news story about a rogue bus driver. I don’t remember what happened, but essentially he took off. With the kids. It was over quickly, but the concept stuck in my head and expanded. What if no trace of the kids or bus was ever found?
After the December shootings in Connecticut, I was worried I’d written about a subject that was too painful. But my early reviews indicate I handle the death of children with a gentle touch and appropriate emotion. In the book, I don’t dwell on the event, but focus on healing the people who were affected. I believe in happy endings. My readers can count on me to leave them upbeat and content.
Did you discover anything interesting or surprising during your research of this book (whether or not it actually made it into the story)?
I made one of my more disturbing book purchases to research this story. THE OSTEOLOGY OF INFANTS AND CHILDREN wasn’t a book I enjoyed. It’s a clinical textbook and is packed full of pictures of itty bitty tiny bones. I can’t look at them without wondering about the baby. My library is packed with texts on serial killers and death, but this boring bone book makes me the saddest.
Do you have any specific number of books you’re planning for this series? Is there an overall world arc you’re trying to resolve?
I don’t have an overall arc or a set number of books to achieve. I plan to keep writing these “related” books as long as I have characters I want to explore. Most of my fan mail includes requests for a book for their favorite character.
Whose story is next in line? What can readers expect from the next book, and when do you expect it to be out?
The next book will be about Dr. Victoria Peres, the forensic anthropologist that has small roles in HIDDEN and BURIED. During the editing process of BURIED, my editor kept saying, “You really should write about Dr. Peres.” My answer was always, “No, she scares me. She intimidates my characters and me.” My editor’s reply, “But why is she like that? What made her become that person?” I finally told her to stop talking about it. But two chapters into my book, I couldn’t get my editor’s questions out of my head. I went back and made the forensic anthropologist the main character. She’s been a lot of fun to explore. My editor was right, as usual.
Are there any writers who influenced what you decided to write? Who and why?
I write what I like to read. I’m an avid reader of Kathy Reichs, Karen Rose, Harlan Coben, Allison Brennan, Tami Hoag, Lisa Gardner, Lee Child and Robert Crais. I study their suspense building, romantic tension, and deft prose.
Will you be doing any book tours or signings for the release of BURIED? If not, where can readers get their book autographed?
I plan to be at Romance Writers of America’s national conference in Atlanta, July 17 -20. I will also be at Bouchercon in Albany, New York, September 19-22.
Where can readers find you online? (Website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.)
Thanks for dropping by The Big Thrill. It sounds like a book readers are going to love!
Kendra Elliot grew up in the lush Pacific Northwest and still lives there with her husband, three daughters, two cats, and a Pomeranian. She’s always been fascinated with forensics, refuses to eat anything green, and loves a strong Mai Tai on the beach on Kauai. Her first two books, HIDDEN and CHILLED, spent months on Kindle’s top 100 paid best seller list. HIDDEN was on Kindle’s 2012 overall top 100 bestseller list. Two more Bone Secrets novels will be released in 2013.
Visit Cathy at: www.ciecatrunpubs.com.