Saturday, May 11, 2024

Q&A with Sarina Bowen


Photo by Kate Seymour



Sarina Bowen is the author of the new novel The Five Year Lie. Her many other novels include Bittersweet. She lives in New Hampshire.


Q: What inspired you to write The Five Year Lie, and how did you create your character Ariel?


A: My inspiration for this book was actually from a true story that an author friend of mine, Lauren Blakely, told me a few years ago. One day, Lauren received a text from a friend, and it didn't make any sense. At the same time, her friend received a text from her that didn't make any sense either.


Eventually they realized the texts had been delayed by several months. If you Google “texts delayed by several months,” you can even find a very brief news story about how this happened to thousands of mobile customers.


That story really stuck with me. And I wondered, what would happen if that confusing text you got was from a dead man? And I pretty much ran with it from there! 


Q: The writer A.R. Torre said of the book, “In a world where so many books feel so similar - this was a refreshingly unique read and an addictive blend of love and mystery that I couldn’t put down.” What do you think of that description, and what did you see as the right balance between love and mystery?


A: First of all, Alexandra Torre is a lovely human and I so appreciated her description of this book!


And if you think about it, a “blend” of mystery and romance is a tricky idea, because those genres make different promises. A true romance novel promises the reader a happy ending, and that’s not what I wanted to do in this case. A suspense novel, on the other hand, promises something different--that the reader will understand what happened by the end of the book.


This is a suspense novel because I wanted the freedom to let every single thing go wrong. It was really exciting to me to write a book like this, and I hope readers can tell when they read it.


Q: What was it like to write a suspense novel after writing many romance novels? Was your writing process similar?


A: The process for writing a suspense novel is different. It's less linear, and you have to match wits with the reader in a way that romance does not demand. So I found that challenging, but I really enjoyed the challenge.


Q: What do you think the novel says about technology?

A: Issues of tech in society are very interesting to me. I read Wired magazine cover to cover every month. I just love thinking about our messy technological lives. So I hope that the reader comes away with an appreciation for how complex the tech in our lives really is. And sometimes great tech has unintended consequences.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I just finished another thriller for HarperCollins. It's called Dying to Meet You. It also has a techy hook, this time involving a murder right at the beginning of the book. I’m so excited for this to come out in 2025!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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