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The Big Thrill Sits Down to Discuss THE HINT OF LIGHT with Kristin Kisska

In the wake of her son’s sudden death, Margaret Dobrescu struggles to keep it together in the face of her grief…and her guilt. She can’t help but blame herself for Kyle’s own lifelong struggles—namely, the alcoholism that plagued him.

But within mere days of his funeral, secrets and suspicions begin to surface, and Margaret’s husband admits that Kyle once confessed to having a daughter. Clinging to the hope that some part of her son is still out there, Margaret embarks on a search to find her rumored granddaughter.

What Margaret hasn’t prepared for, however, is the deluge of secrets that keep coming. And as she digs deeper and deeper into her son’s life to find the truth, what she finds instead is that her own secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Kristin Kisska recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, THE HINT OF LIGHT.

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
Several years ago, in the wake of my brother’s untimely death, I was obsessed with so many “What if…” questions. One of them, in particular, sparked an improbable hope in the darkness of grief. What if he left behind a child we didn’t know about? While that dream never manifested in real life, it did result in my crafting this novel, which is a story of a fictional family’s redemption, rebirth, and of course, domestic suspense.

Kristin Kisska

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?
I’m a big believer that an author doesn’t choose a story, but the story chooses him/her. Once the seed of an idea takes root, it’s there to stay and will eventually blossom onto the page. I’m lucky because in my case, each of my novel concepts germinated before I finished the one I was drafting. In this case, my debut, THE HINT OF LIGHT, was the third novel I’ve written.

On a side note, when I started penning my first novel–an homage to my alma mater–my husband assumed (hoped?) that my writing would be a phase. Fifteen years, four novels, and a dozen short stories later, I’m still loving the creative journey.

Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
The novel I always use as my personal due north for domestic suspense is Mary Kubica’s THE GOOD GIRL. She nailed the final twist, and I aspire to deliver the same reaction from readers. The greatest compliment a reader could ever give me is that they were so surprised after finishing my novel, they felt compelled to reread and find the clues I’d planted. Fingers crossed.

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?
My novel has three central POV characters, but one of them–Kyle– was my unlikely hero. He’s a recovering alcoholic who readers meet at the low-point in his fictional life. But little-by-little, as readers get to know the real, endearing, self-deprecating guy , they will be charmed by his empathy and strength of character. Kyle was loosely inspired by my brother.

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
In business school, we learned about a concept called Game Theory. In broad strokes, it means that in a conflict, everyone acts in their own best interests. If someone is behaving counter to your expectations, then something you aren’t aware of must be influencing them.

In The Hint of Light, we find that unconditional love, under pressure, can compell characters to make drastic and even irrational decisions.

What can you share about what you’re working on next?
I’m working on another character-driven domestic suspense, this time about sisters, separated as little girls, who reunite as adults under the most unlikely of circumstances.


Kristin Kisska is a native of Virginia, where she currently resides with her family and their moody tabby, Boom. She holds a BS in commerce from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Northwestern University. She is the author of a dozen short stories published in anthologies. The Hint of Light is her debut novel.

Kristin loves hearing from friends and readers at

THE HINT OF LIGHT with Kristin Kisska