By L.J. Sellers
After the success of his first two thrillers, Daniel Palmer’s third novel, STOLEN, was eagerly anticipated by readers and reviewers alike. In this bold thriller, a young woman faces a life-changing diagnosis and her husband makes a risky move in an attempt to save her. But the consequences could be deadly for both.
“A twisting, suspenseful chiller of a book,” says William Landay, author of DEFENDING JACOB. Here’s more about the novel in the author’s own words:
Sometime stories grow from the smallest seed of an idea, but this concept seems big. How did it originate?
From the start I wanted to write a book about identity theft. The story didn’t come alive for me until I flipped the premise. Instead of writing about a man who has his identity stolen, I decided to write about someone who steals an identity. This opened a lot of interesting possibilities, but I wasn’t about to make my hero a villain. It’s a classic premise in a way, a good man pushed by circumstance to commit an ignoble act. In the case of STOLEN, I created a devoted husband who commits identity theft to obtain health insurance for his cancer stricken wife. What I needed next was the big idea to propel the narrative forward. So I added a twist. What if the main character unwitting stole the worst identity imaginable? All I needed to do from there was set my imagination loose.
Is the issue of medical expenses personal for you?
I think it’s personal for all Americans. A couple big issues came up during my research. Most notable is the ongoing crisis resultant from a massive shortage in generic cancer medications. I used this very concerning trend coupled with the shortcomings of cut-rate insurance to place my characters in truly difficult predicament.
What was your biggest challenge in writing this story?
It’s the same challenge I have with every book I write. Don’t be dull! For three hundred some odd pages, I want to keep the tension hot, the characters believable, the story exciting, and the twists and turns coming. It’s also the first novel I’ve written in the first person. In addition, the whole narrative is told from a single perspective. In some ways these were liberating choices, but it definitely created a few unforeseen challenges. The main character needed to be very relatable with a compelling voice to avoid violating the Don’t Be Dull mandate.
Did you have a theme in mind? Or a message for readers?
STOLEN, like my previous novels, explores the hidden dangers of commonly used technologies. I love it when my readers get squeamish thinking they could fall victim to computer hackers, online reputation attacks, or even identity theft. So an overarching message here might be to keep aware of our vulnerabilities as we migrate more of daily life onto the internet. The internet is a great tool, but it can also be fraught with danger.
What would you like readers to know about the story that they won’t get from cover copy or reviews?
Mostly I want readers to know that this book is a really fun ride. STOLEN builds pretty quickly and once it gets going it doesn’t let up. If I had to sum up STOLEN in a few words, I’d say it’s unrelenting and brutal.
This is your third standalone thriller. Do you ever get attached to a character and want to bring him or her back in another book? Or write a series?
I look for the story first. If I have a story that fits a character I’ve written, sure I’d bring them back. So far that hasn’t been the case. I’m not opposed to writing a series, but I haven’t yet found the right character(s) to fit the bill.
What’s next from you?
I’m working on a novel called DESPERATE. It’s about a newly married couple brought together by tragic circumstance. Driven by an all consuming need and desire to adopt a child, this couple believes their prayers have been answered in the form of a young and desperate pregnant woman whom they met through an adoption website. What starts out as a hopeful encounter, soon becomes nightmarish when this young woman wages psychological warfare designed to tear the couple apart and irreparably destroy their lives.
Will you someday combine your music and story talents to write a play or a script about musicians?
For me writing a novel is work, but writing a song is pure pleasure. Even as the deadline looms, I continue to pick up my guitar and write new tunes. It’s something I’ve always done and hope to continue to do. I’ve pondered the idea of writing a musical about being in a rock and roll band, but for the foreseeable future I’m going to stick to my day job.
Tell us your involvement in the Red Sox Home Base program.
My father and I got involved with the Red Sox Home Base program as part of an event we hosted to promote the publication of his novel, THE LAST SURGEON. That book dealt with brain trauma and PTSD incurred during military combat service, specifically in Afghanistan. We decide all proceeds from this event should be used to help fund the mission of Home Base. Since then we’ve both been close with the program directors.
Daniel Palmer spent a decade as an e-commerce pioneer, helping to build first generation Web sites for Barnes & Noble and other popular brands. His previous novels include HELPLESS and DELIRIOUS. An experienced musician and songwriter, Daniel has recorded two CDs and licensed his songs for commercial use. A graduate of Boston University, Daniel lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children.
To learn more about Daniel, please visit his website.