Monday, March 4, 2024

Q&A with Kit Frick


Photo by Carly Gaebe/Steadfast Studio



Kit Frick is the author of the new novel The Split. Her other books include the young adult novel The Reunion. She is from Pittsburgh.


Q: What inspired you to write The Split, and how did you create your characters Jane and Esme?


A: The Split was inspired by two things: my love of Sliding Doors, the 1998 Gwyneth Paltrow film wherein the main character’s life splits into two realities after she succeeds or fails to catch a subway train, and my recent move back into my childhood home to be close to aging family members.


It may seem like these two things have nothing in common, but that’s so often how book inspiration works. You re-watch a movie from your adolescence and you tear out the wall-to-wall carpeting in your living room and BAM: book idea!


Sisters Jane and Esme are such opposites, so a lot of their creation had to do with teasing out their differences. Jane is the practical, high-achieving big sister, responsible to a fault; Esme is mercurial and driven by passion. But both are keeping secrets from the other, and those secrets have shaped the people they’ve become.


Q: The writer Kathleen Barber said of the novel, “Utterly absorbing and compulsively readable, The Split is a clever Sliding Doors-style thriller that brilliantly examines how a single decision can derail an entire life.” What do you think of that description?


A: Spot-on (thank you, Kathleen)! As suggested by the quote, The Split takes place in two realities after the main character, Jane, makes a deceptively simple choice: jump to her flighty younger sister’s rescue when she calls asking for a ride on a dangerously stormy night, or put her foot down and let Esme take responsibility for herself.


Jane’s response splits her life into two realities: one in which Esme comes to live with Jane in their childhood home, forcing the sisters to reckon with the darkness in their past and the distance between them now, and the other in which Esme vanishes into the night, leaving Jane tortured by regret.


Our lives are filled with these so-called “sliding doors moments,” dictated by choice or happenstance. Catch the train or miss it; respond to a text or block that number; accept the job offer or turn it down.


The ability to explore both realities is a luxury afforded to us only through narrative storytelling, and The Split takes readers on quite a ride down Jane’s two paths.


Q: Did you write the novel in the order in which it appears, or did you focus on one strand of the plot before turning to the other?


A: Funny you should ask, because the former—writing one timeline before turning to the other—is a mistake I’ve made precisely once in my writing career (with my first novel for young adults) and will never make again!


While it’s certainly possible to write that way when planning to weave together two interlocking narratives, I do not recommend it. It’s a massive revision headache!


For The Split, I wrote the novel in the order in which the chapters appear, which involved a great deal of outlining. (It was also a lot of fun! I can’t imagine making all the little ties between the two realities that appear in the book if it had been written any other way.)


Q: This is your first suspense novel for adults--how does it compare to writing suspense for young adults?


A: The writing process is no different, which is to say each book presents its own unique challenges, but I wouldn’t say they break down by age category.


The one thing that has been very different in writing adult protagonists is the matter of character agency. In YA, you are forever contending with the world of grown-ups. Your main character is governed by adult rules and expectations—or finding ways to thwart them.


In an adult-market novel, there are no curfews or limits on screen time or laws about renting a car or going to bars (all things that can get in the way of a main character’s investigation or pursuit of safety or justice in a suspense novel!). Jane encounters plenty of obstacles, but the ability to cast aside the governance of grown-ups was a nice change of pace.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: My next novel is also a thriller for the adult market, a multi-POV narrative set in Italy, chock full of secrets and lies. It’ll be out in 2025 from Atria/Emily Bestler Books, so be on the lookout for more details soon!


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: If you’re looking for more books from me before the Italy thriller hits shelves next year, I have five young adult mystery/thriller novels already in print, and you can read all about them and find buy links on my website at


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Kit Frick.

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