After reveling in her nail-biting story, I had the opportunity to discuss BINDING CIRCUMSTANCE with Author Kelley Griffin. Read on for more insight into her fun and twisty read.
Kelley, I love the combination of romance and thriller. Have you always been drawn to that combination in a story? Essentially, what drew you to that combination?
Yes! I love a story that keeps me on the edge of my seat and gives me all the feels of a romance. Stories that take me to new places and remind me of home are also my favorite!
The peek behind the scenes at a movie being made is fascinating. It felt very real. Where did you gain your inside knowledge?
Honestly, I did a little research on what it would take to become a costume designer. What tools did she need and what kind of education were the primary targets. One of the cut scenes had her making the blue silk dress she wore on the TN. Riverboat cruise. I could envision her making her own clothes from a very early age.
Throughout the book, I kept picturing Charlie as a Chris Hemsworth with a southern accent rather than an Aussie one. What is it about southern boys that tugs at our hearts? And is there a personal preference for you?
Hold on…fanning myself for a second.
Aren’t we all…
YES! He’s perfect as Charlie. Being married to a southern gentleman, and raising our five sons in the south, I have to say that most southern boys are taught manners and have a respect for women that I find attractive. I love Charlie’s struggle between fitting in around the Hollywood scene and working on his parent’s farm at home.
Is there someone special who inspired Charlie or did he just come to life as you thought about this story?
Charlie began as a character in another book! When that minor character was booted, I kept dreaming of him. He deserved his own story. I see a cross between a Hemsworth and Chris Pine. Mischievous and about to get into some trouble like Chris Pine, but thoughtful and sexy like Hemsworth.
Oh, I love Chris Pine too!
Okay, the character of Jason in your story is both terrifying and believable. Did you have to dig deep to write those scenes?
Not really. Does that make me crazy? I hope not!! I believe that every bad guy should not only be able to justify his actions but should believe that what he’s doing is for the greater good. He should believe he’s the hero! In Jason’s defense, something clicked inside him when his mama chose drugs and bad stuff over her little boy. He wanted to punish her but couldn’t. So he sought out girls who favored her to punish. And when he sees Charlie with the one girl who’d stopped long enough to have a conversation with him, he snapped.
Let’s talk now about the craft of creating a novel. When it comes to writing, are you a plotter or a pantser? And, do you have a writing process?
Pantster to the rapture!! Although I must admit that writing a series has been a bit tougher, so I have some bullet points as to where the series is going. NO OUTLINES though!! My writing process is to get up at 4:45, write from 5-6 then get ready, get kids up and head off to work and school. Saturday mornings I get a few hours in and when I’m on a deadline, I’ll sequester myself away and write like mad! Mornings are my time, though.
How long did it take you to finish writing Binding Circumstances?
Lord. Felt like forever! 😊 I began writing Binding during Nanowrimo in 2016. Finished about ¾ of it, then left it hanging for a while. Several months later I finished it, then shelved it while finishing another one. When I finished it, I knew it needed editing, but I also knew it was a powerful story.
How much research goes into your writing?
I research locations for sure so they’re authentic. Most of my novels, so far, have either been grounded in California and East Tennessee or they’ve come back to one or both of these areas. I was born in Pomona and currently reside in Knoxville. So Tennesseans especially will always find landmarks they know.
I love Tennessee too – it’s gorgeous. My sweetie has family there.
Next question, and we’re all dying to hear the answer to this one. What’s next on your writing list? Can you give us a teaser for your next book?
Oh yes!! Entangling, Book One of the Kirin Lane Series is coming up soon! We hope to release it in November of 2019. You’ll love Kirin. She’s a spectacular heroin. It’s another nail biter of a romantic suspense, but filled with funny spots and heart tugs. Here’s the back cover copy:
Can she find her mother’s killer? Or will he find her first?
When Kirin Lane’s father dies, it means nothing to her. Why should it? It’s been thirty years since he abandoned her after her mother’s death. But when her house is ransacked and sinister men pursue her, Kirin is forced to look to the only thing he left her for answers—a tattered Marine Corps field manual.
Inside, she discovers clues that could unlock the mystery surrounding her mother’s murder, if only she can follow the cryptic information. She finds an ally in the charming and mysterious Sam Neal, who both infuriates and awakens feelings she can’t resist. But can she trust him?
Sam Neal is determined not to fall for Kirin. He can’t. It’s a clause in his contract, and he never breaks a promise. But, he knows too much about her. Her strength and sexy pigheadedness drive him crazy in the best of ways. Suddenly, Sam’s thinking less about obligations and more about allowing a certain woman inside his world.
But with nothing as it appears and her life on the line, can Kirin untangle what really happened to her mother thirty years ago?
Or will the killer’s next victim be her?
OMG, that sounds amazing!!! Is it November yet?
Back to the craft. Have you attended any writing residencies and, if so, which is your favorite OR which is on your must-do list?
I have yet to attend any writing residencies, but I’ve been to several conferences and am a member of the East Tennessee Creative Writing Association. I’m currently mentoring a Sci-Fi writer from my hometown. I love answering questions and my new favorite thing (since this book launched) is going to Book Club events and talking about the book. It’s SO much fun!!
Okay, personal questions time. What books are on your bedside table?
TOO MANY!!:) I have about five Nora Roberts books to read, plus about 90% of the “In Death” series to finish, Where the Crawdad Sings is staring at me, and a few non-fiction books my mama has given me 😊
That wasn’t really a fair question, was it. As writers, we have to vault over the piles to even get to the bedside table, don’t we? *fist bump*. Okay, next question – what’s your favorite vacation destination?
Camping! Anywhere there is a chair to sit and read, a warm fire and no laundry to do! Camping is my jam. The kids ride bikes, swim and explore. I take long walks with the hubby and get up early to write and watch the sunrise. I’d like to explore further from home like the Grand Canyon or the Redwood Forest in CA.
I’m a camper too! Every year I still spend a week camping in a state park with about 80 of my closest family and friends. We kind of take over the park. In a non-threatening away, of course.
Last question. It’s a Saturday. You’ve just polished off your latest manuscript. Your mother is monopolizing your children. The husband is on a business trip. It’s raining. What do you do?
LORD… sleep. Then, I’d probably finish one of the many home improvement projects I’ve started. Oh and I’d READ. Yep. I’d read. Forget the rest. 😊
Thank you so much for reading and for your support!!
You’re welcome – I’m happy to share! BINDING CIRCUMSTANCE is a great, thrilling read. And thank you, Kelley, for sharing your creativity and stories, and for this interview. I can’t wait to dive into Entangling! Until then, keep writing and reading.