Girl Gone Home Twisted Crime Book 3 by Kathleen O' Donnell
Genre: Psychological Thriller
The Best Book I've Read This Year! I just finished it and I loved it! It has more twists and turns than a roller coaster. This book would make an amazing movie, but the book will always be better. I can't wait to see what she writes next! – Rena, five-star review on Amazon.
From two-time Book of the Year finalist and Thriller of the Year Award winner Kathleen O’Donnell comes a gripping psychological thriller filled with quirky, unexpected twists.
A girl in serious trouble
Delilah Diamond had it all, the popular cooking show, a dream house, and a great romance with her producer, until the producer’s wife gets wind of it all. Delilah loses her show, her job, and her house. She’s forced to go back to her hometown where everyone has skeletons in their closet—or worse.
A home not like any other
She arrives just in time for the unfortunate death of her high school crush, but senses something's wrong with the story of his demise. Before she realizes it, she's knee-deep in a past that almost crushed her years before, and could very well crush her now, for good.
A mother who keeps sordid secrets
Local law enforcement is a homegrown drunk, and useless, so someone higher up the food chain sends a big city detective who starts sniffing around her classmate's suspicious death and her mother’s past. Delilah’s protective hackles are raised. She knows her mother has shameful secrets, but the more she learns, the more she realizes she doesn’t know the whole story.
A hometown that comes together, even in crime
In small towns, you protect your family and your neighbors come what may, but will Delilah be able to protect her mother without exposing her own sins? The ones she worked so hard to cover up? Will she be able to deter the detective away from the truth?
You can't go home again. Or can you? Should you? How safe is home when you know where the bodies are buried?
Girl Gone Home is ultimately a story about love, family, loyalty and circling the wagons no matter what terrible crime's been committed. It’s quirky, heartfelt, and reminiscent of Dolores Claiborne and the works of Kate Atkinson, Jane Hamilton, and Janet Evanovich.
Kathleen O’Donnell is a wife, mom, grandmother and a recovering blogger. She currently lives in Nevada with her husband. She is a two time Book of the Year finalist for her debut novel The Last Day for Rob Rhino. You can find short stories and blog posts on her website.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
Normal people scare me. I love the weirdos, the outcasts, the people on the fringe. The ones who’ve been broken but you can still see their cracks. The weirder the person the better I like them -- for some reason they like to tell me everything. Unbidden. They start talking and don’t stop. I should’ve been a cop. I definitely would’ve been the closer. I also have an irrational fear of being buried alive, sandwiches made in grocery stores and eggs cooked by someone other than me. I don’t like the word “of” or “that” and commas get on my nerves. Don’t start me on exclamation points.
Where were you born/grow up?
I was born in Tainan, Taiwan and adopted by American parents when I was born. My adopted father was in the Navy and they were stationed there and couldn’t have children. I grew up all over the world, but my most formative years were spent on a highway town in the middle of nowhere. That’s where I learned to love the eccentrics. I consider that place the village that raised me. I couldn’t wait to leave but I love going back. It always feels like home and I’m always welcome there.
Who is your hero?
My eleven year-old granddaughter, Adelia -- she’s been disabled and declining since she was two -- with no known diagnoses despite years of tests. Last year they discovered her brain stem was atrophying, for still no known reason but they do know it’s terminal. She has been in hospice care for the last year. She never complains, never feels sorry for herself. She tries harder and is tougher than any adult I’ve ever known. She lifts, and breaks, my heart all at the same time. Her body fails yet her spirit thrives. Her life and her illness have made me realize how important leaving a legacy in the written word is. I write about her literally and will write about her figuratively. I don’t want her bravery and exceptional life to be forgotten.
When did you consider yourself a writer?
Not until I got published. Before then I’m not sure what I thought I was other than someone who spent a lot of time in my pajamas behind a laptop.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
I could name way more than ten, but here’s a good start.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Beloved by Toni Morrison
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I usually start with one or two characters. Then add as I go. But usually I delete characters as opposed to add before all is said and done. I’ve never once had a story all worked out in my mind before I start. I just write. Whatever story I start with is rarely what I end up with.
Advice you would give new authors.
Don’t listen to anyone who loves you. They are not your truth telling critics and they won’t help you write a decent book. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard say, “everyone (friends, family) tells me I should write a memoir because my life is so interesting.” It’s probably not. That might seem like tough advice but it’s true. Or, “everyone (friends, family) tells me I’m so funny I should write a book.” You might be funny as hell but making that into a story that sells is a whole other thing. An interesting life and/or a great sense of humor does not a novel make.
Learn your craft. Take classes. Read. Develop a very thick skin. Write. A lot. Get comfortable with the Delete key -- it’s your best friend. No one is born a great writer. You can make a decent writer into a really good writer but great writers are rare indeed. And rarely does a bad writer become a good one. It’s like most other things. You’ve got a bent for it or you don’t.
Writing a novel is hard, hard work - a slog a lot of the time. It can take years to get it right. Especially if you want to get it right. Yes, you need an editor - a story editor - a good one. Preferably one who’s had experience at a large publishing house. They’re expensive. They will hurt your feelings. They might tell you to get rid of one of your favorite characters (kill your darlings). They will delete that sentence it took you five days to write. They’ll cut entire chapters. You will probably cry. They might even tell you writing isn’t your strong suit.
Learn to listen to those who know better than you. And when you first start that’s just about everyone who has written anything at all.
Describe your writing style.
It’s direct, to the point, as spare as possible. I say what I mean without preamble. I don’t use ten words when four will do. No matter the subject matter there’s always humor. I write like I live. There aren’t many situations in life that you can’t find humor in. Even tragedy. In fact, sometimes all you can do is laugh. There will be plenty of time to cry.
Do you try to be more original or to deliver to readers what they want?
What readers want evolves, like anything else, what’s popular in fiction changes. Faulkner wouldn’t get out of a decent writer’s group alive. His style is old fashioned now. Charles Dickens puts me to sleep.
My pet peeve is trying to write what’s popular. When The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo came out the word “Girl” appeared in every title of countless novels. It worked though. I get asked all the time if I’m going to write a series. From a publisher’s point of view, a series, if it’s a good one, will sell. Even mediocre ones sell. But I don’t say to myself, “I’ve got to think of a series so it’ll sell.” I write the story I’ve got. So far, none are series material.
Following the crowd has never been my style. I think being an only child cemented that trait. I didn’t really have a crowd to follow. I don’t try to write one particular way or the other. I don’t try to write characters a certain way. They are who they are, as am I. I will warn you though that “different” is often a tough sell to an agent or publisher. The idea is to make money. Marching to the beat of your own drummer writing wise is risky. Finding a publisher willing to take the risk is tough going. Italics Publishing is brave to take on my quirky, different novels.
But they’re all I’ve got.
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