By Liz, very excited to welcome our “other genre” guest Terri Parlato to the blog today! Terri writes psychological/domestic thrillers. She was born and raised in upstate New York. She currently lives in a small town in north Georgia with her husband and their dog, Lucy. ALL THE DARK PLACES is her debut novel.
What drew you to the genre you write?
I’ve been writing stories pretty much my whole life. And I’ve written stories in many genres: historical fiction, sci-fi, adventure and, of course, mystery. So how did I end up becoming a published author of a domestic thriller?
Like most writers, I am a voracious reader and I read across many genres, but a few years ago I got hooked on psychological thrillers. There are so many amazing ones out there. And I thought, hmm, maybe I’d give that a try. What appealed to me most was the mystery, solving the puzzle, and of course the twists and turns that are so important in this genre. But it’s tough. You want your reader to be intrigued, turning pages well into the night, trying to decipher the clues you’ve carefully laid for them. You can’t give the game away too early, and you can’t give them an ending where they want to throw the book at the wall because they were cheated out of clues either, so it’s a challenge.
What sets your book apart from what is out there?
I think what is different about ALL THE DARK PLACES from most thrillers is my detective. I’ve enjoyed the plethora of fictional detectives I’ve read about, each with his or her own distinct looks and characteristics. But I wanted something different, and I think found that in Detective Rita Myers. She’s a middle-aged woman, not unheard of among detectives, but not common either. And I wanted her to be strong, vital, fit and attractive at sixty years old. I am a baby boomer. Many of my friends are baby boomers, and we’re not ready to retire and sit on the sidelines and bake cookies. (Although there’s nothing wrong with that!)
What’s it about?
Molly Bradley is a woman who was the victim of a horrific crime when she was a child. She’s dealt with her past by hiding it from everyone except her psychologist husband, Jay. She thinks she’s got her life on a good even course until the morning after Jay’s fortieth birthday party. Molly finds him brutally murdered on the floor of his home office. Her world, of course, begins to unravel and her past rears its ugly head placing her in danger once more.
What sparked the idea?
A few years ago, I was watching the news and they were reporting on a woman who had been the victim of a horrific crime as a child. She was in the news because she was releasing her second nonfiction book, a book to help survivors. And I was so inspired by her story, yet I wondered what if I created a character who struggled to put such an event behind her, but it came back to haunt her once more.
What are you currently writing?
I’m working on my next Detective Rita Myers story. People really seemed to like her, and I’ve grown fond of her as well.
Do you write a series or standalones? Why?
ALL THE DARK PLACES is the beginning of a series, I hope. I’m not ready to let go of these characters and their little fictional town. They have more to offer, I think.
What are you reading right now?
Speaking of detective series, I’m in the middle of Tessa Wegert’s THE KIND TO KILL. It is the fourth book in the series, and I’ve really enjoyed every one. And she sets her stories primarily in upstate New York, which is where I’m from. So, that’s great too.
What is your favorite deadline snack?
I’m a chocoholic. Not very creative, but there it is. I love chocolate in all its various forms. A particular favorite is sponge candy, which you can’t find in the south because it is too warm and humid to make here, so I have to order it from chocolate stores back home.
Do you have a favorite quote or life motto?
“Make magic while you can.” I have that hanging in my office. I don’t know who said it, maybe me. And it is a little creepy, but my point is, life is short and there’s no time to waste.
Favorite writing space?
My home office with the door closed.
What do you see when you look up from writing?
A painting of a butterfly perched on the rim of a mug given to me by my cousin, who is a professional artist. On the mug it says, “Choose Joy.” Writing psychological thrillers can be a dark and creepy occupation, so the painting is a good reminder.