Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Q&A with Kara Thomas




Kara Thomas is the author of the new novel Lost to Dune Road. Her other books include the novel Out of the Ashes. She lives on Long Island.


Q: You’ve said you were inspired to write Lost to Dune Road by the Gilgo Beach murders on Long Island. Can you say more about that, and about how you created your character Lee Ellerin?


A: Anyone who is familiar with the Gilgo case might recall the horrifying phone call one of the victims' sister got from the killer. That detail always stuck with me about the unsolved murders, and how that call must have traumatized and shaped the next several years for the woman's sister.


Lee, an investigative journalist, also receives a call from a missing woman's cell phone, and is taunted by the presumed killer.


There are other parallels with the Gilgo story, including the Long Island setting, but I knew I didn't want to pull too heavily from an active, ongoing case. I was as shocked as anyone when police announced they had finally arrested a suspect in the murders this summer. 


Q: How was the novel’s title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: We knew we wanted to incorporate Dune Road into the title, since it's a famous landmark and such a huge part of the book-- the victim in Lee's case went missing on Dune Road, in the wealthy enclave of East Hampton.


Making sure Dune Road was in the title gave us a lot of options for the cover to evoke a very specific tone and sense of place.


Q: Why did you decide to focus on the Hamptons in this novel?


A: I knew that I wanted to explore the darker side of the Hamptons-- it's a playground for the rich and famous, and no one really knows what goes on in the multi-million dollar estates owned by the wealthiest people in the country.


I'm also fairly familiar with the Hamptons, as a Long Islander. I spent a bit of time there growing up, and have visited many of the locations mentioned in the book. 


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: Above anything I always just want to entertain and surprise my readers, but I do hope they walk away from the book wanting to discuss the ending, and the choices the characters made, with someone who has also read the book.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am finishing up revisions on my next novel for young adults, also a mystery. It is due out in late 2024.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I can write you a book, but I can also recommend you one--I work part-time as a librarian!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Kara Thomas.

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