Q: How did you come up with the idea for In the Deep, and for your characters Ellie and Lozza?
A: Thank you for hosting me, Deborah. In The Deep was an idea that started germinating while visiting my brother and his wife who live in a small coastal town in New South Wales, Australia. My brother is a big wave surfer, a hydrofoil addict, and a man of the sea in every way, so of course we went out deep sea fishing in his tiny boat.
When we were about 10 miles offshore, being tossed about on the white-ribbed swells of the deep blue waters of the Tasman Sea where the pelagic fish hunt, and with the Australian coastline just a distant purple haze along the horizon, I got to thinking: Wow, anything could happen out here (and it does), and there is no one to witness a thing, no cellular contact, nothing, and what if someone did go overboard, and maybe not by mistake.
Later, while eating the fish we’d caught under a vermillion
sky, and listening to the flying foxes squabble overhead, and the lorikeets and
“cockies” fighting in the gum trees, my brother regaled us with tales of some of his adventures, like the time he got a treble hook stuck in his neck.
And he told us how the flying foxes—giant bats—can swarm in groups along the highway as they migrate, and more . . . and the idea for In The Deep started to take vivid shape as I wondered … what if someone did go out fishing, and never returned to shore …. and what if it wasn’t an accident?
Q: Did you write the novel in the order in which it appears, or did you focus more on one character before turning to another?
A: I did essentially write the novel in the order it appears. Doing it this way helped me build the characters and set up some of the twists, which I hope manage to surprise. I find Scrivener a huge help with this sort if structure, though, because I can drag the chapters around and change the order if I feel it might help shift the pacing, or build suspense etc.
Q: Do you usually know how your novels will end before you start writing them, or do you make many changes along the way?
A: Going into a story, I like to have an idea of who the focal characters are, what their main conflicts will be, what the key turning points likely will be, and generally, how the story will end. But, along the way, all of that can change as new plot threads present themselves, or other ideas grow organically from the characters as they develop.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from the book?
A: I hope readers are entertained. I hope this story offers a small escape, especially during these times. I hope it offers an engaging puzzle/mystery, and some characters who are worth following. And perhaps some thoughts about grief, and loss, and guilt, and what those emotions can do to the mind and soul.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: At the moment I am working on another two domestic/psychological suspense works, and on the side, I am researching and crafting a “women’s fiction” story with a dual timeline narrative, inspired in part by my own family history.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I do have another psychological suspense/crime drama releasing after In The Deep, titled Beneath Devil’s Bridge. This one, which launches in May 2021, is inspired by a horrendous true crime that occurred in my part of the world 24 years ago.
And I love feedback from readers—I am readily accessible via my Facebook author page and profile to answer any questions, and I’m also on Twitter and Instagram. I hope you enjoy In The Deep!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb