What if your favourite person in the world, wasn’t who they say they are? What if that person disappeared, turning your life upside down?
From New York Times Best Selling Author, JT Ellison, comes her newest novel, Lie to Me which was highly anticipated amongst crime/thriller readers. While staying true to the theme of domestic noir and a psychological thriller, Ellison’s Lie to Me explores the story of two troubled, complex personalities who are intertwined in a complicated relationship with each other. To add to the intensity of the story – an unnamed character narrates a few short chapters, describing their feelings of revenge, and violence leading to wonder who that narrator actually is.
Ethan and Sutton Montclair are a good looking, rich artistic couple that face an emotional roller coaster of events throughout their relationship… which led to Sutton Montclair disappearing overnight. Ethan is the centre of gossip from friends and family… is he one to blame? Or is he innocent?
To start things off simply, what is your favourite book?
I can’t pick just one. I love OUTLANDER, REBECCA, everything by J.K. Rowling, Hills Like White Elephants (I know that’s a story, but what can I say, it’s stunning!)
Hemingway, Gabaldon, Harkness, Maas, Silva….. again, too many to count.
You have written multiple novels now and are considered to be looped in the genre of domestic noir and psychological thrillers… where do you find the inspiration for these kinds of stories?
Everywhere. Inspiration is yours for the taking out in the world. Books, songs, people on the street, news events – anything and everything can trigger a story idea. I often can’t help myself, I’ll hear a snippet of conversation and boom – story.
Obviously your books are crime oriented – what type of research do you do before writing a new book?
You know, it depends. Some books need a great deal of research—interviews with the police, FBI, medical examiners, autopsies—and some are very informed by my own experiences, like LIE TO ME. I do like to travel to the places I feature in my books. I feel like setting is so vital to my process, so I like to experience it firsthand so I can lend as much verisimilitude to the story as possible.
After publishing your first book, how did your writing process change?
Well, when you’re writing on deadline you don’t have the leeway you do when you’re first creating your debut, that unique experience of writing in a vacuum. But the biggest change to my process over the years is outlining. I used to solely write by the seat of my pants, but now I do like to have a framework in place. It makes the work go quicker.
And after writing consecutive novels, do you try to be more original, or go after what readers want?
Always, always, always, go for original. If I’m passionate for a story, the readers will be too.
Your latest standalone novel, Lie to Me, features two very troubled characters who are immersed in what seems to be a toxic marriage. Ethan and Sutton both have their sides of their story as to how Sutton’s disappearance happened… but who did you feel the most sympathy for?
Oh, Sutton, hands down. I mean, I love Ethan for all his flaws and his very maleness, and his passion and love for the life he thinks he wants, but Sutton goes through some experiences I can identify with, and her sorrows… you have to have compassion for a woman like that.
Getting to truly know Ethan and Sutton was very easy thanks to your writing and description – what inspired these two crazy characters?
I wanted to write about a number of things here – but mostly, having writers who lead very different careers within the same house. It fascinates me, I love the dual-writer lifestyle. We live it in my house, too, but ours is much more functional and less competitive than theirs.
And I always use my novels to work through questions I have about life, and love, and cruelty between people. These are themes in all my stories. I’m fascinated by people’s callousness toward others.
Out of all the books you have written thus far, which one would you like to see adapted to the big screen?
I think this one works well on the big screen, and I think the Taylor Jackson and Samantha Owens novels would be great on television. Different stories for different formats!
Do you have any advice for any aspiring writers out there?
Read everything you can get your hands on, in and out of your genre, and write every day. The more you write, the more you read, the better your writing becomes. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, either. We all do!