When a Stranger Comes...
by Karen S. Bell
Genre: Psychological Thriller
2018 Readers' Favorite Bronze Medal Winner!
A GRIPPING PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER FOR FANS OF KING AND KOONTZ!
What price would you pay for success?
A lightning bolt out-of the blue, on an otherwise sunny afternoon, transports author Alexa Wainwright to an alternate universe where the characters from her novels are given the breadth of life. Having just made a vow that she would do whatever it took to once again achieve the international acclaim of her debut novel, Alexa doesn't realize how ominously that vow would be tested. In this altered reality, she's introduced to media mogul King Blakemore who offers her an extremely lucrative book contract with guarantees that her work will become a best-selling blockbuster. Given his appearance, odd mannerisms, and aura of evil Alexa wonders if King Blakemore might be the Devil himself.
At first, she shrugs off her doubts about this peculiar publisher and very lucrative book deal offer because the temptation of riches and refound fame is too strong. Suddenly, the contract's been signed. Now what can she do? Alexa realizes she's trapped in an underworld of evil from which she desperately wants to escape. Her iron-clad book contract changes its wording whenever she thinks of a loophole and King always seems one step ahead of her. Desperate to get her life back, she devises schemes to untether herself from this hellish existence to no avail. She laments the old adage, Be careful what you wish for.
Buy this book if you're a reader who loves a page-turning, heart-stopping, psychological thriller with some magical realism thrown in.
I get so much satisfaction in the writing process. I take care to choose just the right word, to make sure each sentence has the right cadence. I appreciate other writers who respect the craft in this way, and I hope my readers do so with me. Writing is a need, a desire for expression, and springs from well within my subconscious mind. Thoughts rise up, scenes rise up and blend in with the over-arching story. These thoughts emerge whenever they want to and wherever I am and probably not when I am at the computer. The computer is for the craft, the technique. The thoughts come during walks, or while driving the car, or at the grocery store. I am the willing recipient of these thoughts and so they seek me out. It's a mystery this business and art of writing and it keeps me enthralled.
Every writer goes through the what’s next? agitation after a book is finished. So, I too, struggled with this question. I had started a novel and had put it aside to finish at a later date, but I just wasn’t ready to tackle it after I finished my latest book. I believe I will finish it someday, but after my second novel, Sunspots, I was ready to write something a little lighter. Here’s the thing. I have delusions of grandeur as every author does that slogs away as an unknown, but I know I’m a good writer and get really good reviews. As much as I try, I just can’t get traditionally published by New York publishing houses. Can’t command a large number of sales as an indie. It’s a push and a struggle to get my book in front of readers.
So I played with this thought of creating an MC who was a successful author. What would it feel like to earn large sums of money elevating what I do into a career instead of a hobby as it is now for me. I have written my last two books in the first person, so it was easy and fun to take on this persona. And so I created this character of a successful author whose debut novel hits number one on all the charts in the states and abroad. It was fun to enter that mindset, that reality.
However, something else immediately took over. The fear of losing that heady place in the publishing world. Future work not measuring up. Once that thought took hold, my imagination ran rampant and I envisioned the worst case scenario, selling one’s soul to the devil to satisfy one’s greediness for continued success and riches.
So then the book took on an underlying message. Alexa’s, (the MC) pact with the Devil became an allegory for the evil lurking in our midst. The social decay of modern society with its excessive greed, the ignorance of our political leaders, and our indifference toward the survival of all species from the effects of climate change, among other environmental pressures, are perhaps brought forth by the darkest forces of human nature.
I believe the book can be enjoyed on many levels, as a romp into a psychological thriller with magical realism or a wake-up call on how our society is headed in the wrong direction and necessary change is needed.