Ridley Pearson answers a few questions about his writing and his current novel, Killer Summer. Pearson is author of three thrillers featuring Sun Valley, Idaho sheriff Walt Fleming: Killer Weekend, Killer View, and Killer Summer.
Q: How did you come up with the plot for Killer Summer?
Ridley: I shop at WalMart. Actually... the second half of Killer Summer has been in my head and my files for over five years. The idea of writing a "heist novel" appealed to me. It was real challenge to write because the idea in a heist novel is that the sand is constantly shifting beneath your feet.
Q: Can you tell us how you came to be a thriller writer?
Ridley: No useful skills.
Q: I understand you are now in Shanghai, China. Is this trip related to a future novel?
Ridley: I'm just back, but my family lived in Shanghai for the past year. I taught creative writing at the university level there, and I came away with some amazing experiences and contacts; I hope very much they find their way into novel form.
Q: Do you do a lot of reading? If so, what kind of books do you prefer?
Ridley: I read quite a bit. I'm a slow, "gourmet" reader. I read non-fiction (Bill Bryson, currently), women's lit, other thriller/mystery writers (many, many for possible endorsement), and the backs of shampoo bottles.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Killer Summer or your other books?Ridley: Writing a novel is like taking an adventure. I outline my books, so I (basically) know where I'm going. But it's like any trip. Just because you know where the car, ship or plane is destined doesn't mean you know what the voyage will be like. Each day I encounter setbacks, excitement, romance, challenges. I have the greatest job in the world--in part because I create the world. I have my readers to thank for that, and I try to work hard to keep those readers engaged and get them telling others about the books.
Thanks for your input on writing the thrillers, Ridley!
Review of Killer Summer (reposted):
Some books are memorable for the characters and the setting, just as much as the plot. In Killer Summer, the memorable character is Walt Fleming, a county sheriff in Sun Valley, Idaho, that playground of the wealthy and ordinary tourists alike. Walt appears in a series of thrillers by Ridley Pearson, and this his latest, Killer Summer, is out this summer!
The book begins with Walt on a fishing trip with his nephew, Kevin, an 18-year-old who is set to give him no end of trouble. They are fishing in the Big Wood River when Walt spots a tow truck rattling across a nearby bridge, pulling a Taurus with what could be a man slumped behind the wheel. Walt is still on duty and decides to follow the truck and investigate. This leads to a series of events that will involve Kevin, a plot to steal a case of rare and costly wine set to be auctioned at Sun Valley, and a harrowing trip through rugged mountain terrain to a plane crash site and an isolated mountain cabin.
Walt is a sympathetic character, estranged from his father, working side by side with a deputy who is also the lover of Walt's ex-wife. He also takes it on himself to keep an eye on his nephew Kevin who has only a mother to rely on. The scenic descriptions of Sun Valley, its resorts, and the mountain terrain around are worthwhile in themselves, but also essential to the plot and the fast action sequences.
I enjoyed reading the book for many reasons - character, plot, and setting. An excellent thriller. It's a cliche to say "I couldn't put it down," but I only put the book down when I absolutely had to!
Advance readers copy provided by the publisher for my objective review.