Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of four novels: The Last Breath, The Ones We Trust, The Marriage Lie, and the forthcoming Three Days Missing (6.26.18). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Agnes Scott College and has worked in marketing and fundraising for various nonprofits, both at home and abroad. She divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.
Keep up with Kimberly on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KimberlyBelleBooks), Twitter (@KimberlySBelle), Instagram (@KimberlySBelle) and Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/KimberlyBelle). For more about Kimberly and her books, please visit her website, www.kimberlybellebooks.
Kimberly, can you share with us why you write domestic suspense?
My first two novels straddled the line between women’s fiction and suspense, with a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure. They’re the kinds of stories I love to read, but cross-genre books can be confusing for both the readers and the booksellers. How do readers find me? Which shelf am I placed on? The books did okay, but not as well as we would have liked, so when it came time for me to write my third book, my editor asked me for a story that would fall more solidly in one genre. Suspense was selling really well, and they thought my voice would be a good fit. Turns out they were right. Now that I’m here, I can’t imagine writing anything else.
As for the “domestic” part of my suspense, that comes, I think, from my background in women’s fiction. I love writing about relationships—parent-child, husband-wife, siblings. I love exploring the emotions that come along with these kinds of bonds, mostly because they’re so universally recognizable. Toss in the suspense angle—a lying spouse, a child gone missing—and it’s a what-if scenario everyone can imagine themselves in. That’s the appeal of the genre, actually, that people will read it and think, that could have been me.
What is the most challenging aspect of your writing life?
Writing a book is a six-to-eight-month slog, and there’s always that feeling, when I shut down my writing software at the end of the day, that I should eke out a few more words. Especially when the words are flowing, it’s so hard to step away from the computer, even though the house needs cleaning and the dogs need walking and the kids are screaming for dinner. Balancing work with being present for the people who need me (including myself!) is a constant struggle.
What piece of writing advice has had the most influence on you?
The best advice I ever received was to sit my butt in a chair every day and treat this gig like the job it is. Working from home can be distracting if you let it, so I guard my working hours like a pitbull. I set my alarm and get behind my computer by eight. I turn off my phone and shut down my email and internet to write. I am “at work” eight hours a day, five days a week, even if the words don’t come. Actually, especially then. If I waited for inspiration to strike, it would take me years to write a book.
Just for Fun:
Name a favorite food you use to reward yourself.
Wine. I know, it’s not technically a food, but it’s definitely my reward at the end of the work day. I love to sip a glass while I cook and watch the news
If you could be any fictional character, who would you be? Why?
This is such a hard question! Characters don’t have it easy, and I’m not sure I’d want to trade places with any of my favorites. I much prefer reading about their struggles then experiencing them firsthand. But if I had to choose, I’d go with Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. She’s so smart and funny and forward thinking! I’d miss hot showers and two-day shopping, but Mr. Darcy would more than make up for it.
Belle’s new book – Three Days Missing (coming 6.26.18) – is another thriller guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: the call that comes in the middle of the night. When Kat Jenkins awakens to the police on her doorstep, her greatest fear is realized. Her nine-year-old son, Ethan, is missing—vanished from the cabin where he’d been on an overnight field trip with his class. Shocked and distraught, Kat rushes to the campground where he was last seen. But she’s too late; the authorities have returned from their search empty-handed after losing Ethan’s trail in the mountain forest.
Another mother from the school, Stef Huntington, seems like she has it all: money, prominence in the community, a popular son and a loving husband. She hardly knows Kat, except for the vicious gossip that swirls around Kat’s traumatic past. But as the police investigation unfolds, Ethan’s disappearance will have earth-shattering consequences in Stef’s own life—and the paths of these two mothers are about to cross in ways no one could have anticipated.