USA Today bestselling author, LS Hawker writes gritty, twisted thrillers you can’t put down. I know. I read THE DROWNING GAME. My clammy hands gripped the paperback as I flipped through pages until the surprise ending. I had to catch my breath. When I discovered THE THROWAWAYS would be published today (Yes, it’s a book birthday!) I thought it would be fun to interview Lisa and find out more about her new novel and writing process.
THE THROWAWAYS by LS Hawker
“Suspenseful and thrilling” –Clarion Reviews
“A twisty, emotionally rich drama” –Kirkus Reviews
“Engages from the riveting first chapter through the last page” –Publishers Weekly
Just because everyone thinks you’re nothing doesn’t mean you’ve got nothing to lose.
George Engle’s lived in the long shadow of his superstar twin brothers since they died in a freak accident when he was thirteen. Now, in the spring of 1986, George and his childhood friends are living lives they never wanted. It’s easy to sleepwalk through insignificance, until a second freak accident jolts them awake—only it’s no accident.
One night, George regains consciousness just in time to watch an unfamiliar house explode, and finds evidence of the crime he didn’t commit planted on his back seat. He narrowly eludes what may or may not be police and subsequently learns the explosion was a cover-up for three baffling execution-style murders. George was supposed to take the fall, and now the killers are hunting him.
George’s friends reunite to probe the mysterious deaths, a murderous drug cartel, and their own self-deception. But in the process, they’ll discover they can trust no one and nothing—not even their own memories.
Believe me. If you like thrillers, you’ll LOVE this one. Talk about Wild Rides!
And now for the interview with Lisa.
Where did you get the inspiration to write THE THROWAWAYS?
My stories pretty regularly begin with a “What if?” When we were freshmen in college at the University of Kansas, my friend John met a guy in the liquor store who claimed his car had broken down and he needed a ride to his girlfriend’s house. The true destination was not his girlfriend’s house, a very scary part of town where a very scary situation presented itself. John emerged unscathed, but I remember wondering how things would have turned out if the worst had happened. That’s where the story came from, and that’s why the book is dedicated to him.
What did you learn from writing THE THROWAWAYS?
SO MUCH. The original draft of this novel was written long before my three published novels (THE DROWNING GAME, BODY AND BONE, and END OF THE ROAD). It was my learning manuscript. I learned about story structure, character development, suspense, planting clues, etc. After my first three were published, I pulled out THE THROWAWAYS and ran it through Shawn Coyne’s THE STORY GRID. It was a revelation. The original draft was not a real story. It was a string of scenes in which very little happened. THE STORY GRID showed me where the problem areas were, and I ended up completely rewriting 80% of the manuscript. I’m thrilled with how it turned out!
Did you research anything unusual in order to write it?
Since the novel takes place in the ’80s, I had to research language and technology the most. Even though I lived through that era, I had to be reminded how we talked back then and what technology was like back in the day. I also did a ton of research on President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, or “Star Wars” program, even though that particular part of the story is relatively minor.
What’s your writing process? Do you have a routine?
I’m a binge writer. It took me until my third book to really come to terms with that. I so admire the folks who sit down and write at a specific time each day, but I need the pressure to really cook. When I’m in the zone, I’ll write for 16 hours at a stretch, and I love it.
I do have a writing ritual, however. The ceiling of my office is covered in Christmas lights, which I only light when I’m writing fiction. I have a large collection of scented candles, and I light one of those before I start–candles with names like “Grandpa’s Chair” and “Hemingway” and “Tobacco and Cedar.” I use two large computer monitors, and on one of them, I play a slide show of beautiful landscape photography, and I use sound generators like mynoise.net and asoftmurmur.com, or I listen to movie soundtrack music.
What’s your favorite piece of writing advice?
Don’t rely on your “talent.” You have to work to learn the craft of writing, not just assume because you can string a sentence together that you can write. It takes years of sweat and commitment to become proficient in the art and craft of writing. Also, don’t give up. Persevere. When you’re rejected, give yourself a day to grieve, then get back to work.
What books would we find on your nightstand?
The Book of M by Peng Shepherd, This Book Will Blow Your Mind edited by Frank Swain, and Runnin’ with the Devil: A Backstage Pass to the Wild Times, Loud Rock, and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Making of Van Halen, by Noel Monk and Joe Layden.
Do you have any upcoming appearances or book signings?
Yes! Our launch event is at the Aspen Grove Tattered Cover store on January 26 at 7 p.m. Anyone who buys a book at the event will receive a free ticket to the exclusive after-party immediately following.
What are you working on now?
A thriller called YONDER STANDS THE SINNER.
Where can readers find you on social media?
And check out her podcast on Youtube
Other books by LS Hawker. By the way, doesn’t she have the perfect name for a thriller writer?
Be sure to buy THE THROWAWAYS today.
Lisa would be happy to answer any questions, so be sure to leave a comment.