By John Raab
New York Times bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub returns with her latest book THE PERFECT STRANGER. Staub has written more than seventy-five books and continues to raise the bar in the suspense-writing genre. Her last book THE GOOD SISTER has been optioned for television by Fox, and she will release another book this year called THE BLACK WIDOW. Her trilogy, which ended in early 2013, won the 2013 Westchester Library Association Washington Irving for fiction award.
Staub has sold over four million copies of her books, and has also written under the pen name Wendy Markham, whose name could be seen on the USA Today, Barnes & Noble and BookScan bestseller lists.
She is here to tell THE BIG THRILL about her latest book, THE PERFECT STRANGER.
What can you tell us about the book that is not on the back cover?
The heroine and her fellow bloggers are breast cancer survivors. They’ve all turned to the Internet for kindred support that they couldn’t find in their own daily lives. They’re strangers who have gradually let their guards down online because they’ve been in each other’s shoes; they can share things with each other that their family and friends in the real world couldn’t possibly understand. That bond has strengthened them, but—they realize too late—has also made them vulnerable.
Landry Wells is your main character in THE PERFECT STRANGER. Who is she?
Landry is a genteel southern wife and mother who has always lived her life according to plan, only to have it turned upside down with a cancer diagnosis. You don’t face your own mortality and wage a fierce battle against a deadly disease without being profoundly transformed. Landry has recently learned how to put aside her natural reserve and reach out to strangers, offering—and drawing—strength. Her hard-won battle not only shattered her carefully constructed walls and taught her that there are no guarantees, but left her virtually fearless—which is a good thing, because a new predator now has her in the crosshairs.
Is there one of your books that you would like to go back and possibly write a sequel to?
I’ve always toyed with the idea of writing a sequel to my 2008 suspense novel DEAD BEFORE DARK, because I thought the “Night Watchman” was one of my most terrifying and complex serial killers—and quite possibly a resilient one. I’m guessing the Watchman might have a bone to pick even years later with my heroine Lucinda, and with Vic Shattuck, the now-retired FBI agent who later made a cameo appearance in another book. I wouldn’t mind seeing them all match wits again.
COLD HEARTED is the e-novella prequel to THE PERFECT STRANGER. What was the thought process behind setting up your book with a prequel?
My readers are loyal—and voracious! They’re always asking me to “write faster,” but my publishing schedule isn’t just determined by writing speed and meeting deadlines. When you’re under contract for print novels with a major publisher, you don’t hand them a manuscript one day and see it on store shelves the next—but that is basically how e-publishing works. I saw it as a way to provide my readers with something to read while they’re waiting for my next major release. While COLD HEARTED does lay the groundwork for THE PERFECT STRANGER, I didn’t want to cheat readers with an open-ended “teaser” or give them anything less than a satisfying, substantial, self-contained story. The novella introduces an enigmatic character who will reappear in the novel, and while her plotline has resolution, readers will certainly be wondering what happens to her after the curtain comes down.
What can fans expect to see from you in the future?
THE BLACK WIDOW is the third book in my social networking thriller trilogy that began with THE GOOD SISTER (which was about a fictionalized Facebook and cyberbullying) and continues with THE PERFECT STRANGER (about bloggers). THE BLACK WIDOW is set in the world of online dating and will be published by HarperCollins in March. I’m under contract with them for a new trilogy set in a fictionalized Hudson Valley town, Mundy’s Landing, with a notoriously bloody past that stretches back to the first settlers. I just finished writing the first book, tentatively entitled BLOOD RED, and it will be published sometime next year.
THE BIG THRILL would like to thank Wendy Corsi Staub for taking the time to share some inside thoughts with us. For more information on Staub and all her writing, please visit her website.
Wendy Corsi Staub has published nearly eighty novels, including multiple New York Times bestsellers. Her latest, THE PERFECT STRANGER (Harpercollins), continues a trilogy that began with THE GOOD SISTER, one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Reads of 2013. A two-time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award and five time winner of the WLA Washington Irving Prize for Fiction, she has also been honored with the RWA Rita, the RWA-NYC Golden Apple for Lifetime Achievement and the RT Bookreviews Career Achievement Award in Suspense. Alter-ego Wendy Markham writes bestselling chick lit. Now writing another suspense trilogy for Harper, she lives in New York.