On her 29th birthday, striving artist Kelly Holter is mysteriously transported from a gallery in Chicago to a restaurant in her hometown. Suddenly her life is unrecognizable: She’s married to Eric, a man she barely knew in high school. Strange things keep happening, and she doesn’t know who she can trust. The closer Kelly gets to putting the pieces together, the more her reality seems to shift. And if she can’t figure out what happened on her birthday, the next change could cost her everything…
Sarah Zachrich Jeng recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her debut thriller, THE OTHER ME:
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
No spoilers, so I’ll have to be vague, but the biggest challenge was definitely getting the logistics right. The biggest opportunity was getting to come at a familiar trope from a new angle.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
THE OTHER ME has elements of science fiction as well as psychological thriller and domestic suspense.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
My first several drafts were dual timeline and dual POV between Kelly and her antagonist. It made the book way too long and (according to early readers) the antagonist too sympathetic!
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
I grew up on Stephen King and love how he grounds the supernatural in realistic settings. Tana French’s atmospheric and character-driven writing is a huge influence on me. And Octavia E. Butler’s work is sci-fi, but has elements of mystery and crime that make her books thrilling. The way she made social issues so central to her work made for some truly compelling and important, as well as entertaining, stories.
Sarah Zachrich Jeng grew up in Michigan and always had a flair for the morbid and mysterious (for her dad’s thirty-fifth birthday, she wrote a story entitled “The Man Who Died at 35”). She had a brief career as an aspiring rock star before she came to her senses and went back to school to become a web developer. Sarah lives in Florida with her family and two extremely hyper rescue dogs. THE OTHER ME is her first novel.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.