Elizabeth Benoit ran for sheriff to wipe out the corruption in the good old boys’ network of Eckardt County, but she has yet to break in her shoes when a stranger’s body is found in a ravine. Fearing a serial killer on the loose, Elizabeth launches an investigation that lays bare more than one family secret. Elizabeth and her deputies are about to face off against odds that are not in their favor. Only one source can tip the scales, but will she sell her soul for his help?
Winter Austin recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, THE KILLER IN ME:
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
Setting. THE KILLER IN ME is set in my neck of the woods, Southeast Iowa. Iowa as a state does not get much spotlight in books, and I wanted to change that. The setting is how I mold my characters and then the plot. I like to keep my characters outside a lot, and the landscape around here is a mix of wooded areas and miles upon miles of farm ground. Very easy to create a killer situation.
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
My biggest challenge in writing this book was juggling a full-time job, full-time to part-time college classes, and my full-time family obligations while writing something that was completely spur of the moment for me. I didn’t have much of the plot figured out, and as an organic pantser, it stretched my writing muscles. The biggest opportunity came when I was contracted by Tule for this book and the subsequent book to follow. I’d been out of the publishing game for nearly two years, and Tule gave me the chance to make a comeback.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
A taste of what Iowa Nice means, and just how close-minded people are in this area. We tend to be suspicious of outsiders; if we don’t know your family’s history, you are suspect. To be frank, even if you grew up here, moved away for a long time, and then came back, you’re still a bit of an outsider.
Winter Austin perpetually answers the question “Were you born in the winter?” with a flat “nope,” but believe her, there is a story behind her name.
A lifelong Midwest gal with strong ties to the agriculture world, Winter grew up listening to the captivating stories told by relatives around a table or a campfire. As a published author, she learned her glass-half-empty personality makes for a perfect suspense/thriller writer. Taking her ability to verbally spin a vivid and detailed story, Winter translated that into writing deadly romantic suspense, mysteries, and thrillers.
When she’s not slaving away at the computer, you can find Winter supporting her daughter in cattle shows, seeing her three sons off into the wide, wide world, loving on her fur babies, prodding her teacher husband, and nagging at her flock of hens to stay in the coop or the dogs will get them.
She is the author of multiple novels.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.