When seventeen-year-old Katherine McCall awakened one morning to find her beloved sister, Sara, brutally murdered, her whole life changed in the blink of an eye. Kat was named the prime suspect and, on a string of circumstantial evidence, charged and tried. While the jury found her innocent, not everyone else agreed, and her only choice was to go into hiding. But she carried a dark secret with her, one that made her worry she might actually have had something to do with Sara’s death . . .
Now, years later, Kat is still haunted by her sister’s unsolved murder and continues to receive chilling anonymous letters, but she has tried to move on with her life. Until, on the tenth anniversary of Sara’s death, she receives a letter that makes the past impossible to ignore: “What about justice for Sara?” What about justice for Sara? And for herself? Kat realizes that going back to Liberty, Louisiana, might be the only way to move forward and find some peace. And there’s a killer out there who was never caught.
But the town she’s come back to is hardly different from the one she left. The secrets and suspicions still run deep. Kat has an ally in Detective Luke Tanner, son of the former Liberty police chief, but he may be her only one. With plenty of enemies, no one to trust and a killer determined to keep a dark secret buried, Kat must decide if justice is worth fighting—and dying—for.
Erica loves meeting and interacting with her fans, both in person and online. She has a wicked sense of humor, an optimistic spirit and loves coffee, chocolate and red wine, not necessarily in that order.
In 2002 her novel Bone Cold won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence. A Romance Writers of America Honor Roll member, she received a Kiss of Death Award for her novels Forbidden Fruit and Dead Run and was a four-time RITA® Award finalist. In 1999 Publishers Weekly awarded the audio version of her novel Shocking Pink a Listen Up Award, naming it one of the best audio mystery books of 1998.
Erica lives just outside New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband and two sons.
I’ve always been fascinated by crime and punishment, guilt and innocence. Two recent murder trials–the Casey Anthony trial in Florida and Amanda Knox in Italy–caught my attention. In both, the women were charged on circumstantial evidence. Their behavior made them look guilty. Amanda Knox sat on her boyfriend’s lap and giggled while waiting to be questioned by police about the murder of her roommate, and Casey Anthony was out partying while her precious daughter was missing. We, the public, were certain they were guilty. And when they were acquitted, we were outraged. In JUSTICE FOR SARA, I wanted to crawl inside the head of the accused. What if everything pointed to your guilt? What if you were innocent and no one believed you? What if, because of your actions and the public’s presumption of guilt, your sister’s killer went free? From those questions, JUSTICE FOR SARA was born.
Describe your typical writing day.
Up at 5:45, at the coffeehouse by 6:00. (I look a fright!) I work a couple hours–no email or internet–then head home to exercise and get ready for the day. At that point I check email, handle any office details and post on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. Then it’s back to my book in progress, sometimes at home and sometimes back at my Starbucks. I always break for lunch, do the social media and email rounds again, then get in a couple more hours of writing. By 5:00 I’m pretty much brain dead–and ready for a glass of wine!
Were there any parts of the story that were particularly hard to write?
I’m so glad you asked this question. The alternating storylines and time periods in JUSTICE FOR SARA presented the biggest writing challenge, but is also what I loved most about writing the book. That aspect developed organically, which was exciting, but also presented one of the challenges. I’d never organized a story that way and doubted myself. I worried about the novel’s pace, and about how it compared to the storytelling style my readers were accustomed to. But I pressed forward because it felt right. The other big challenge for me was juggling the timelines and information revealed along the way. That was huge! I had to create a detailed timeline that included dates, times, memory details, and characters. One detail misplaced could totally have totally blown the suspense!
Do you have a favourite quote(s) from the book that you would like to share with us?
‘Kat had promised herself she would never return to Liberty. Yet here she was. The scene of the crime. The place her life had come to a bloody, screeching halt.’
I love this quote because it sums up the story and the Kat’s motivation so beautifully.
Out of all your books, which has been your favourite to write? Why?
I don’t know if I have one favorite, but four come to mind: BONE COLD, SEE JANE DIE, BLOOD VINES and DON’T LOOK BACK. In all four, the pieces of the novel immediately clicked right into place–from the story’s inspiration, to the characters and plot, the setting, theme and final twist. They almost wrote themselves–and what author wouldn’t love that?
What would you like to write about next? Can you share anything with us?
My next is tentatively titled FINDING TRUE and was also inspired by crime in the news, this time the cases of wife killers Scott Peterson and Drew Peterson. FINDING TRUE is another story of a woman’s search for the truth, in this case the truth about her new husband’s shadowy past and what really happened to his first wife, True.
Which books would you most like to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
The Bible. It’s got it all: the epic struggle of good over evil, love, hate, murder, betrayal and justice done. (And little reassurance about salvation would sure be welcome at that point!) In addition, I’d hope to have an official “Desert Island Survival Guide” and blank journals for writing.