Message From The Author
Tina Wainscott delves into suspense with UNFORGIVABLE
By Linda Lee Small
Fans of Tina Wainscott will devour UNFORGIVABLE! Its the story of Katie Malloy, starting with her childhood in the backwoods of Possum Holler, Georgia. The book begins with a shocking act of cruelty. Katie is on her way into town with a stray kitten, hoping to find someone to adopt Gus. Instead she encounters 14-year-old Gary, who throws the kitten against a plate glass window. We then meet up with Katie 18 years later. Shes now a grown woman married to Ben, the veterinarian who helped save Gus. Katie wrestles with growing uneasiness over the terrors of her pasther mother committed suicide in a particularly shocking manner.
The horror intensifies for the reader when were suddenly inside the head of a serial killer whos stalking young girls. Many threads of truth begin to unravel, and Wainscott eventually weaves them all together. The reader is riveted in the process: just who IS the serial killer? Wainscott peoples her book with a particularly rich cast of suspectseveryone from Gary, now grown up and a cop; to spooky Silas, a friend from the past who somehow seems able to get into the heads of serial killers; to Ben, the gentle vet who harbors a more controlling side. UNFORGIVABLE will keep the reader awake (possibly with a night-light on!) until the very last page.
ROMANTIC TIMES: UNFORGIVABLE is a strong suspense debut, and it represents a departure for you. Your previous books (eight for St. Martins Press and Duet books for Harlequin) were heavy on romance, suspense and had a touch of the paranormal.
TW: I would describe my earlier books as paranormal romantic suspense. Usually I have some sort of paranormal element there. I am a big fan of The X-files and Unsolved Mysteries. Ive always been interested in the mysteries of the universe. Actually my mom is a little psychic and Ive probably gotten some of that interest from her!
RT: The early feedback on UNFORGIVABLE is that although its suspense,
it wont disappoint the romance readerany comments on that?
TW: There was always some suspense or mystery in all my books. Readers could expect some life-threatening event. In my last book, Back in Babys Arms, it was a little boy that was lost. I was very careful with this book. I wanted to lean heavier toward suspense, but I also didnt want to disappoint my readers. In the past, I have been disappointed sometimes when writers transition. At conventions, I have heard readers and booksellers complain, This author that I love is now writing suspense and theres no romance, nothing romantic about the book. My goal in transitioning to suspense was to keep the romance strong. Thats very important to me. In this book I also kept some paranormal elements. In this case its a guy who is psychic. I enjoyed that part, because its usually the woman.
RT: The book begins with a chilling description of animal cruelty.
TW: It started from a real event that happened in Naples, FL where I live. I was watching the news one night and they showed a little girl who had a box of kittens in front of a grocery store. She was trying to find a home for them. This guy just picked one up and flung it against a glass window. They showed the kitten at the vethe was in a coma. I was truly outraged and sick to my stomach. I couldnt be there so I dealt with it by sitting down at my computer and writing the prologue to this book. Then the story just simmered for a while. Just a few months ago, I got to meet the cat that inspired Unforgivable. I was on the news talking about how the book came about, and a woman called who knew the person who took the cat. Later I read that the guy went before a judge and nothing happened to him.
RT: Except in your book! You have many strong characters in UNFORGIVABLE, which also involves a serial killer. Is there more violence in this book?
TW: I always said I would never write a serial killer book, because there are so many books about them out there, but this was just the way the story came to me. Violence is not the kind of thing you always find in a Wainscott book, but Unforgivable is not gory. It goes back to what people tell me they like about my books. Theyre not too graphically violent, or explicitly sexual, and my readers appreciate that. In suspense, its good to make your readers squirm a little, but you dont want to lose them. Im very conscious of that.
RT: There are lots of red herrings swimming around in the book, particularly about the killers identityI didnt know who it was until the last pages!
TW: Good, Im glad I got you! I didnt want to hit the reader over
the head with the red herrings. There are clues to the killers identity, but I wanted to make sure they were subtle. Actually, the villain changed a couple of times. I had a different villain planned, and then as I was typing my notes I said, Oh my God, its him! And then the story kept evolving from there.
RT: What can we expect in the future?
TW: The next one, which is due out in November 2002, has suspense, romance, and a little paranormal element of a psychic nature. (I used to do more weird or far-out paranormal stuff.) Its set in a fictional version of Sarasota, FL. Its about a little girl who is kidnapped and her only hope is a blind woman with a seeing-eye dog. Thats the heroine. The hero is a cop. I always said I didnt want a cop to be the hero in my books, but here it just felt right. The title is BLINDSIGHT, which is an actual phenomenon. That is, some blind people can sense that something is there, even if they cant see it.
Write to Tina at P.O. Box 10622, Naples, Florida 34101 (SASE appreciated!). Enter Tinas Best Spooky Line contest online at www.tinawainscott.com to win a guest spot in her next book or a critique of three chapters and a proposal.
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