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Independent and tenacious journalist Vivian DeMarco is back in Walton, Georgia, for one reason—to do her job and get out. When her boss suddenly dies under suspicious circumstances, Vivian’s only hope for finding the truth—and the next big story—is small-town law enforcement’s lanky poster boy, Deputy Ryan Frost. But the deeper they dig, the more twisted the truth becomes, and Vivian finds herself fighting for not only answers but also her life. False leads, incriminating emails, and someone called The Watcher force Vivian to confront the secret of her past and decide: How much is she willing to risk for the sake of a headline?

Author Natalie Walters welcomes you back to Walton, Georgia, where everyone knows your name—but no one knows your secret.

Walters spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest release, DEADLY DECEIT:

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

So many and for different reasons. I love the fast action and complexity Joel C. Rosenberg brings in his political thrillers. Author Ronie Kendig creates this amazing team dynamic between her characters that inspires me. And Melissa Tagg has this way of developing the perfect trifecta of storytelling with engaging characters who become like family by the final page, a setting that makes me wish [it] actually existed, and storylines that elicit the kind of emotions that by page one, I’m fully invested.

Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?

I think the biggest genre convention I often find myself challenging is making sure I create a balanced relationship between my hero and heroine. I love a knight in shining armor coming to the rescue but I also love strong, independent female leads. When I create the characters I try to give them a weakness that only the other person can fortify, and I think this allows both the hero and heroine to step into a position that empowers their counterpart to be the very best version of who they are without appearing weak. In DEADLY DECEIT, Vivian DeMarco is a tenacious reporter who is fiercely independent and Deputy Ryan Frost, who was thrust into the role of protector at a very young age. I think they both epitomize the balance of strength and weakness that makes them perfectly suited for each other.

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

The method of murder is actually what I came up with first, then the characters, and then the plot.


Natalie Walters is the author of Living Lies. A military wife of 22 years, she currently resides in Hawaii with her soldier husband and their three kids. She writes full time and has been published in Proverbs 31 magazine and has blogged for Guideposts online. In addition to balancing life as a military spouse, mom, and writer, she loves connecting on social media, sharing her love of books, cooking, and traveling. Natalie comes from a long line of military and law enforcement veterans and is passionate about supporting them through volunteer work, races, and writing stories that affirm no one is defined by their past.

To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.


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