By Don Helin
In his thriller, DARKNESS & SHADOWS, Andrew Kaufman ratchets up the tension by weaving such a masterful web of intrigue that NEW YORK Times bestselling author of FLAT-OUT-LOVE and LEFT DROWNING, Jessica Park says, “This is a story about damage and survival, about the past and the future, and about facing the truth behind the pain. I’ve never read a better mix of engrossing suspense that also slammed me with heartfelt and raw emotion.”
Struggling professionally and reeling from the psychological wounds left by a horribly abusive mother, Patrick Bannister is driven over the edge by a news report. A wealthy socialite couple has been murdered, and while the wife’s name isn’t familiar, her face is. It’s his first and only love, Marybeth, the woman who he lost to a horrific fire years ago. Patrick’s obsession to find the truth sends him scouring documents that lead to a shocking discovery: there’s no evidence Marybeth ever lived or, for that matter, ever died. Was the love of Patrick’s life just a product of his abused psyche?
His quest for answers takes him on a twisted odyssey that forces him to question his own reality. He might not be able to trust his memories and perceptions of the past, but the answers may still lie in the darkest recesses of his mind.
Patrick will soon find out that by stoking the flames from that long ago fire, he’s blazing a path straight into danger. And this time, not only is he about to get burned–he could also lose his life.
Andrew E. Kaufman is a former journalist living in Southern California with his Labrador retrievers, two horses, and a very bossy Jack Russell terrier who thinks she owns the place. After receiving his journalism and political science degrees at San Diego State University, Andrew began his writing career as an Emmy-nominated news writer/producer, working in San Diego, then in Los Angeles. For more than ten years, he worked as a broadcast journalist, covering many nationally known stories.
He became one of the highest-grossing independent authors this year with combined sales reaching into the six-figure mark. THE LION, THE LAMB, THE HUNTED was on Amazon’s Top 100 bestsellers list for more than one hundred days, where it became their seventh bestselling title out of more than one million e-books available nationwide and number one in its genre. His first novel, WHILE THE SAVAGE SLEEPS, also made the Top 100 and was number one in its genre.
Andrew was a contributor to CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: THE CANCER BOOK, where he chronicled his battle with the disease.
Is there anything special you’d like to tell us about DARKNESS & SHADOWS?
DARKNESS & SHADOWS is the sequel to my last book, THE LION, THE LAMB, THE HUNTED: A PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER which became my breakout novel. That success led me to an international dual publishing deal with Thomas & Mercer and 47 North. At that time, my agent and I pitched the idea of a sequel to my editor and he was very excited to have me proceed with it.
Patrick, the protagonist, was one of those characters who simply wouldn’t leave my mind. He’s deeply flawed but in a lovable way. Suffering from OCD, he’s a writer obsessed with words–lists, to be exact–and this is his central conflict: he’s trapped between two worlds, one that he loves, the other that he hates. While new readers can enjoy DARKNESS & SHADOWS as a standalone, my hope is that the old ones will fall in love with Patrick all over again.
Did any particular event inspire the plot?
I think a lot of things did. I love psychological thrillers where the characters’ reality gets skewed. In this book, Patrick finds out that the only woman he ever loved has been murdered. The only problem is, she already died several years ago–in fact, he watched it happen. To make matters even worse, after digging through records, he soon discovers there’s no evidence she was ever born or, for that matter, ever died. This sets Patrick into a mental meltdown, where he’s forced to question his own thoughts and perceptions of the past and wonder whether this woman actually existed. It’s a total mind flip, and I loved writing it!
What are you doing to promote your book?
I have the Amazon marketing machine behind me, so I’m able to focus more on writing than promoting. But back in my Indi days, I was the marketing machine, and a large part of my promotion centered on building my audience one reader at a time. Today the focus centers more on staying in touch with my established audience and remaining as accessible to them as possible.
I’m in the process of completing the book I’ve always dreamed of writing! A new standalone that’s probably going to be my biggest mind-bender yet. Comparatively speaking, it takes reality flip to a whole new level, and it’s so complex that I actually need a map to keep track of all the elements! That one will be released in October, 2014 through Thomas & Mercer. For the most part, it takes place inside a mental institution, so as you might imagine, there are plenty of opportunities to distort reality, which I love to do in my books.
When you’re not writing, what are you doing (hobbies, family, etc.)?
Actually, since becoming a full-time author, I’ve learned that I can’t write for twelve hours a day (even though I’d be perfectly happy doing so) and remain sane. That said, I do try to get away from the computer and maintain some sort of balance in my life. I’m learning to cook–which in and of itself is pretty amazing. I also spend lots of time with my three Labrador retrievers, my jack Russel Terrier, and my two horses (I find the critters keep me grounded–sometimes even better than the humans). Also, as much as I despise it, I work out almost every day–it helps keep the cobwebs out of my mind and the anxiety-fueled doubts from consuming me.
Thanks Andrew. Your book looks terrific.
Andrew became one of the highest-grossing independent authors this year with combined sales reaching into the six-figure mark. THE LION, THE LAMB, THE HUNTED was on Amazon’s Top 100 bestsellers list for more than one hundred days, where it became their seventh bestselling title out of more than one million e-books available nationwide and number one in its genre. His first novel, WHILE THE SAVAGE SLEEPS, also made the Top 100 and was number one in its genre.
Andrew was also a contributor to CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: THE CANCER BOOK, where he chronicled his battle with the disease.
After receiving his journalism and political science degrees at San Diego State University, Andrew began his writing career as an Emmy-nominated news writer/producer, working in San Diego, then in Los Angeles. For more than ten years, he worked as a broadcast journalist, covering many nationally known stories.
To learn more about Andrew, please visit his website.