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Overstaying Your Welcome Could be Deadly

The Big Thrill Interviews Bestselling Author B.A. Paris

By K.L. Romo

Book Cover Image: THE GUESTSeven people, four best friends. At least one of them is a murderer.

New York Times bestselling author B.A. Paris once again pushes comfort-zone boundaries in her newest sinister thriller, THE GUEST.

Iris and Gabriel have enjoyed over 20 years of marriage and were blessed with a daughter, now grown. After finding a local teenager who fell into a nearby quarry, Gabriel’s long-fought depression returns when the teen dies as Gabriel tries to comfort him. Iris and Gabriel go away on holiday to combat his depression and job burnout, but when they return, they find their longtime friend, Laure, making herself at home in their house, even wearing Iris’s pajamas.

Laure confides to them that her husband, Pierre—Gabriel’s oldest friend—recently had a baby with another woman, so she left him. But why won’t Pierre answer Gabriel’s phone calls?

As Laure makes herself a more permanent resident at Iris and Gabriel’s house, the three befriend Hugh and Esme, a new couple now living down the street. They seem nice enough, but Joseph—their live-in gardener with a sketchy background—appears enamored with all three women. As their lives collide, it becomes clear their connections are more entwined—and complicated—than any of them could guess. And the truth of what’s happened between the seven players will shock you.

Author Photo: B.A. Paris

B.A. Paris
© Philippe Matsas

Paris sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss secrets, lies, and starting a writing career later in life.

What was the impetus for the story?

There’s an old quarry in our village, close to where we live, and I’ve always thought it would be a perfect setting for something untoward to happen. At the beginning of THE GUEST, Gabriel, out for a morning run, finds 18-year-old Charlie fatally injured at the bottom of a quarry, and this marks the beginning of a sinister chain of events.

What messages would you like readers to take away from the book?

That secrets always come out in the end, and also, perhaps, that anyone is capable of murder?

You didn’t start writing until you turned 50. What made you want to write a novel?

My daughter. I told her I wanted to write stories for children, and she persuaded me to write a novel. When I told her I didn’t have it in me to write 90,000 words, her absolute conviction that I could made me want to try.

Do you have any advice for authors starting later in life (and those who might think it’s too late)?

Author B.A. Paris Cooking

B.A. Paris Cooking

Never give up and hang on to that gut feeling that you’re going to make it one day because if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will. And never feel that it’s too late to write. I was at a book fair in the UK last summer, and agents were telling the audience they represent authors in their 70s and 80s being published for the first time.

You experienced many rejections before you found an agent. Can you give us insight into how to handle rejection and keep on writing?

I received around 20 rejections for books I wrote before my breakout novel, Behind Closed Doors. I would allow myself to be disappointed for about five minutes, then resolve to write a better book. When that one was rejected, I’d write another book. I tried to get at least five books published before I struck lucky with Behind Closed Doors. So, my advice would be: before sending out to agents, study the market to see where the genre you are writing fits in, take any rejections on the chin, and try, try again.

How important is belonging to a writing community?

When I was first published, I didn’t know any other authors and was hardly present on social media. But then authors began reaching out to me, and that sense of belonging to a community that knew the ropes and had already gone through what I was going through became hugely important. I’ve found that most writers are very supportive and generous with advice.

Can you share a teaser about your next novel?

My main character, Nell, thinks she has a stalker. For the previous 14 years, she’s been harbouring a secret, and she believes someone from her past has caught up with her. But she has recently made new friends, and as the weeks go by, she wonders if the person following her is closer to home than she thought.

Author B.A. Paris's Pet Turtle Henry


Tell us more about your 80-year-old tortoise, Henry.

When we moved into our house in France 25 years ago, we found a tortoise roaming the garden and phoned the previous owner to tell him he had left his tortoise behind. He explained that the tortoise came with the house. For many years before he bought it, the house had belonged to an elderly lady who currently lived farther down the road. We went to see her, and she explained that as a young woman in the 1940s, she’d been walking over the Pont Neuf in Paris and had seen a tortoise ambling along the pavement. She picked him up, popped him into her handbag, and took him home. That would now have been around 80 years ago, so we know Henry is well into his 80s.

When we moved from France to the UK five years ago, we felt we should leave Henry in the garden he’d known for most of his life. It was February, so he was in hibernation anyway and wouldn’t normally reappear until the spring. But on the day we moved, out he popped, as if to say, ‘Don’t even think about leaving me behind!’ So, we took him with us, and I’m happy to report that he has adapted very well to life in the UK.

Tell us something about yourself your fans might not already know.

I have a dream of travelling around Europe in a motorhome, writing away while my husband drives!


The Big Thrill Interviews Bestselling Author B.A. Paris

K. L. Romo
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