A double life with a single purpose: revenge.
Our summer of thrillers continues with Victoria Helen Stone, JANE DOE (LakeUnionPublishing).
Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.
But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.
Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.
Just as he did to her.
(Thank you Lake Union Publishing for summary)
Victoria Helen Stone was gracious enough to answer some of my questions about her writing.
1. I loved EVELYN, AFTER. Thrillers are all the rage right now. What do you enjoy about writing the genre?
I love that I can sit down with a good thriller and work through anxiety and fear and know there will be a good resolution, and it brings me joy to write a story like that for others. In real life, I can’t control the bad things happening around me, but when I’m writing, I hold all the strings.
These days it feels like we’re all operating at a low level (or high level) of anxiety every waking moment. A good thriller amps that up to a speeding heart and clenched teeth, and then it all gets fixed and you feel such relief!
2. I love the line promoting HALF PAST. “It’s the truth.” What is the truth? What’s it like as an author to manipulate the truth?
For me, a person’s experience is not always the same as the truth, and I think that’s what leads to so much complication in life and most of the deliciousness of emotional suspense. If, for example, a woman loves her husband and doesn’t know he’s having an affair and embezzling from his company, her truth is that she has a happy marriage. That’s what she knows and feels. Her truth isn’t affected by HIS truth that he’s lying and cheating and living a secret life. Her experience isn’t true at all, but it’s still real. Most of my stories are about characters confronting the horror of having to shed their blinders and see a much harsher reality.
As an author, I’m most fascinated by the idea that people can live with those secrets, with whole other truths that no one else knows about, and still function and thrive. How does someone build a happy, stable life when they know that decades before, they snapped and killed another person? That truth could rear up from its hiding place at any moment. Or in JANE DOE, her truth is that she’s a sociopath, though no one else in the world knows it. Jane crafts acceptable truths about herself and presents them to other people. What must it be like to live that way?
3. What about REVENGE makes it such a compelling subject?
I think the perfect revenge is a delicious fantasy for all of us. We dream of getting revenge on the bad guy in our life. Most of us are held back by morals or fear of consequences. We understand that two wrongs don’t make a right. We understand it, but we still think about how absolutely wonderful it would feel to get justice.
A good revenge story lets us work through anger and hurt and cheer on the protagonist who’s taking a path we wouldn’t take. In real life, we rarely see the jerk get taken down in the way he deserves, but in a book, we can get all the revenge we dream of, and no one actually gets hurt. It’s cathartic!
Victoria Helen Stone is the nom de plume for USA Today bestselling author Victoria Dahl. After publishing more than twenty-five novels, she is now taking a turn toward the darker side of genre fiction. Born and educated in the Midwest, she finished her first manuscript just after college. In 2016, the American Library Association awarded her the prestigious Reading List Award for outstanding genre fiction. Having escaped the plains of her youth, she now resides with her family in a small town high in the Rocky Mountains, where she enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, and not skiing (too dangerous).
Connect with Victoria
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Lake Union Publishing, we have a copy to giveaway. Just tell us what book you’re looking forward to reading this fall. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.
GIVEAWAY: USA only please.