Q: Why did you decide to focus on online sexual harassment in your new novel?
A: I think the subject matter chose me. Online oversharing in the age of digital media has become rampant, the number of online "scandals" alarming. This phenomenon does not discriminate. It happens across the globe and no one is immune. Take that startling fact and couple it with valuable life lessons about compassion and kindness and the story took root.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your protagonist, Emma, and her family?
A: As the mother of twin sons, I've observed how in today's world parents and children judge harshly. My goal was to craft a story based on something that could happen to any of us, borne out of nothing more than ignorance, age, and misunderstanding, and turn it into something we can all learn from.
No matter the "mistake" we need to do a better job educating our kids on social media dangers, communicating in general, and accepting that none of us are perfect.
Q: The novel is set in a hotel in Miami. How important is setting to you in your writing?
A: For Somebody's Daughter, setting was very important to me. Miami is a character in the story. Her sex appeal, charm, and allure. The scandal set against this backdrop made for a heightened reaction and purposely opened up judgments that I hope readers realized and addressed.
The hotel is also a metaphor for the "body" and how it changes and grows. We must accept it with all its flaws.
Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?
A: Writers are always editing and polishing. I start with a very rough outline, but as my characters develop, sometimes they take me in a different direction and I let them.
In this story, I knew how it had to end in order to be impactful and not merely spectacle. I didn't need to exploit these victims. I needed to give them a voice.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: My fifth novel, This Is Not How It Ends, releases in 2019. It is the story of Ben, Philip, and Charley, and a deep friendship and love that ultimately leads to betrayal and sacrifice. It is set in the Florida Keys.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I love connecting with readers and writers. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. If you're a writer struggling with a story, don't give up! It just takes ONE. One book, one agent, one yes! Dust yourself off and get back up again. It can happen!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb