Today we interview my friend Sarah Cain, author of the new thriller The 8th Circle. I had the privilege of reading and commenting on an early version of this book. Sarah, congratulations on your hardcover thriller from Crooked Lane Books! I’m sure there are a lot of writers out there who would like to know how you got an agent. How did that come about?
Getting an agent was a process. After sending out loads of query letters that didn't generate much interest, I decided to try my luck at Thrillerfest, the big thriller writers conference in New York. By this time I had a polished manuscript that had been critiqued by my special critique group--including you, thank you very much--and felt pretty confident. I went to the conference pitched and got lucky. Six agents wanted full manuscripts and two wanted fifty pages. I sent them off, and within a month I had offers from four. I went with my agent Renee Fountain because she really seemed to have the best feel for the book, and she was really enthusiastic about it.
Your main character is a Philadelphia newspaper columnist named Danny Ryan. His brother and late father were policemen. Why pick a newspaperman for the protagonist in a murder mystery, instead of a cop?
I picked a newspaperman for my protagonist because I worked in PR in my former life and had a lot of interactions with the press. I also wrote op-eds and ghost wrote articles for the some of the Philly business papers. Plus John Baer of the Philadelphia Daily News is a friend, and he was kind enough to read my manuscript and offer advice. Really, I just felt more comfortable going at it from a reporter's point of view because I've always been a writer.
You chose a 3rd person point of view for your novel, and switched the p.o.v. between several characters. How did you decide on that?
For me, third person is the easiest way to write. There also some very distinct subplots in the novel, and the only way to manage them was to go with multiple view points.
Let’s finish up with a process question: how to you write? Do you do it in the same time and place every day?
I always write from midnight to 2:30 am, which is a holdover from having small children. I also write from about 3 to 6 pm. I'm really not a morning person, though if I don't have anything scheduled I'll get up and write. I do 2,000 words a day always at my desk, which is kind of a cupboard filled with notes and photos and other debris.
One more question: I know you are contracted for a second book. Does that one also feature Danny Ryan?
I'm finishing up my second book now. It is a sequel to the first and features Danny Ryan. The working title is Blood Angel. As of right now, it's a bit lighter than the first.
We’ll look forward to it. Again, Sarah Cain’s first thriller was just published by Crooked Lane Books. The book release party will be at the Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, on Saturday, 16 January 2016, from 1 to 3 pm.