The Big Thrill Discusses FRAIDY HOLE with Staci Andrea
The mind is a curious thing. It allows us to reach back into our memory banks and retrieve emotions, thoughts, smells, and feelings that can act as filler for our sometimes empty lives, warming the spaces in our hearts that are sometimes left void and broken. It can also completely drop memories, forcing us to forget the painful chapters so that we are able to cut ties and move on.
What happens though, when the lines are blurred… when reality and the nightmares of your past collide? Can the mind make sense of it all? Can the brain and heart sort out the drama and the subtext? What happens to the soul when the mind cracks, even just a little?
Staci Andrea recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss her latest mystery, FRAIDY HOLE.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
My grandfather suffered from dementia and Alzheimer’s, and before he passed away, I would visit him and he would find the simplest joys in the most mundane things. Watching a brilliant mind slip away was haunting and in the midst of things he couldn’t remember, a brief memory would surface and he was able to tell a story like it was only yesterday. It was a beautiful, yet confusing time.
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?
So much of this book was formed from fractured pieces of my childhood. Once I got the story rolling, it became a treasure hunt of sorts, figuring out what I was able to include in order to make the reader feel like it was their own experience. I really fell in love with the characters, and created an entire world that they existed in, which felt so real that it was difficult to let them go and move on to writing the next stand alone thriller.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
Arlo Guthrie and Elvis played a big part of a soundtrack that was bumping around in my mind while crafting this story. There was also a bit of raw emotion that was unapologetic, like in Delia Owens’ “Where the Crawdads Sing” that hung around. My characters didn’t have much, but they battled to hang on to each other, and that haunts a reader long after the end is read.
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?
Sometimes mentally ill people tend to be pigeon holed as dangerous and defiant. I wanted to examine the other side of that coin, to uncover where the good stuff lies. There are people moving around within our own space, living seemingly normal day to day lives that struggle in silence, trying to make sense of the world around them.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
Simply put, that we all have problems and perfection is a fairy tale. My goal is, and will always be, to leave the reader satisfied and shaken, much like they just experienced a heart wrenching movie that they will think about for years.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
My current work in progress follows the life of an extraordinary boy who is plagued with a growth hormone deficiency and befriends a small crew of other questionable, yet self proclaimed misfits who grow up to run a business making children “disappear” in order to save them from questionable home lives. But when dirty money enters the picture, just how much are these friends willing to hide from each other and will money be the thing that divides them in the end?
Staci is a married mom of two adult daughters, a son-in-law, and a new grandson, living in a quiet little lakeside town in Iowa, where they move softly through each other’s lives and there is no shortage of stories to tell around the bonfire, leading to endless amounts of material to use as writing prompts. After years of working as a dental assistant, ordained pastor and public health worker, she decided to rekindle her passion in life and start living again, kicking off her second half as a suspense author, letting the writing save her from what had become a very dark place in life. Now, here she is at the exciting part of living again. It just took a pen and a notebook and 46 years to get there. Life is funny like that.
To learn more about the author, please visit her Author Page.
FRAIDY HOLE with STACI ANDREA