Lana, a young mother, who suffered a traumatic event 11 years ago, has been living under an assumed name. She visits her hometown to check if it’s safe to reclaim her identity, but becomes accident prone. When her parents die in a car crash, Lana blames her own past misdeeds, then discovers her mom and dad weren’t who they claimed to be, leading her to suspect their own secrets may be responsible for their deaths.
Lana returns to her family’s native Croatian village to visit her grandma in hopes of learning the truth about her parents. When she meets the villagers, they slam their doors in her face at the mention of her father. Meanwhile, the accidents that happened back home have followed her to Croatia, as has a tall, dark stranger.
Lana probes into the village’s past and uncovers a cold case and a decades old curse, bringing out the ghosts of the past, and putting herself in the same danger her parents ran from years ago.
Ivanka Fear recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, THE DEAD LIE.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
The book is the fourth I wrote in a series, but is chronologically the first. The idea for the series came from an early morning phone call ( which I’m not sure was real or the remnant of a dream) about colored diamonds. From that idea, I created a character who inadvertently got involved with criminal activity, and I wrote a short story. I used that story as background for my main character in my first novel and the sequel, then wrote additional novels with her backstory leading up to the events of the first two novels.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
Once I formed the idea for my novel, my main character drove me to continue telling her story. She came to life in my mind and I created a world around her. I was so entertained and involved in her life that I thought others would find her intriguing. The book’s setting is also a character in a way, and through research and memories of my time spent in Slovenia/Croatia, I hope my descriptions immerse readers in that world. I enjoyed creating both the setting, and the main character with her traumatic past, and am excited for the opportunity to bring her to my readers.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
Oh yes, definitely! I’m very much inspired by other creative people. No doubt all the books I’ve read and movies I’ve seen over the years have influenced me as a writer. I particularly enjoy mystery, suspense, thrillers, horror (gothic is great), with a touch of romance thrown in. I create music playlists for my novels. This one includes spooky classics such as ‘Spooky’ ,’Thriller’ , and ‘Superstition’.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
Like many writers, I put part of myself into my main character. One of my favorite female characters in a crime fiction series is Stephanie Plum. But I wanted to have a protagonist who is not only a strong woman, but an older one, like myself. I thought many readers might idenitify with an older protagonist. Although my main character in my first novel is a young woman, she is middle-aged in later books. I felt she should mature as one would in reality. And as in real life, she has flaws and deals with past trauma while she plays her role as amateur sleuth.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
My hope is that it will entertain and readers will connect with my main character. But on a deeper level, there are themes that I expect will resonate with readers. Redemption is a big one. Our past and the mistakes we make form our present and future. My main character has to live with the consequences of her actions and make reparations going forward. Some of the questions that arise are: Are we destined to follow a certain course in our lives? Does everyone deserve forgiveness? Will our past mistakes dictate our future?
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
I have another series coming out in the fall. I’m currently working on the third book in that series. It is domestic suspense, about a flawed couple whose marital issues lead them down a dangerous path. Also, I have written a book which I hope will be the start of a third series for me.
Ivanka Fear is Canadian writer, born in Slovenia. She earned her B.A. and B.Ed. in English and French at Western University. Prior to pursuing writing full time, she enjoyed a long career in education. Her debut novel, The Dead Lie, is the first in her Blue Water Mysteries series. Ivanka is a member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. She resides in Ontario, Canada, with her family and the stray cats that wandered in. When not reading and writing, Ivanka enjoys watching mystery series and romance movies, gardening, going for walks, and watching the waves roll in at the lake.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.