My guest in the Spotlight today is Eva Lesko Natiello, the author of The Memory Box, which is currently being offered for free HERE on Amazon. I talked with Eva about how her novel came about:
1-I love how you define The Memory Box as a "marriage thriller"? Could you explain that term and talk a bit about how your book fits that particular sub-genre?
The marriage thriller is the newest sub-genre of thrillers, and mainly of the psychological thriller category. There has been a spurt of thrillers recently in this category, like Gone Girl, The Husband’s Secret, The Silent Wife, You Should Have Known, to name a few. One of the reasons I think this type of psychological thriller is so hot right now, is while a married couple’s relationship has always been a fascination to anyone outside the relationship (meaning, everyone!), it’s especially so these days because it seems that practically everything is knowable. Thanks to search engines, like Google, you have the ability to be privy to nearly everything. A marriage is truly the last bastion of privacy. What goes on in someone’s marriage? Only the couple knows. So when a marriage is atypical, or better yet--strangely perverse--and we as readers get to be voyeurs, what’s more thrilling than that?!
2-What was your inspiration for the novel? Was this a story that just wouldn't let you go?
The impetus for THE MEMORY BOX came from an article in The New York Times about people Googling themselves. This was about ten years ago when people were just catching on to the idea of how regular-everyday-non-celebrity-people could see their names and anecdotal information in a very public way at the touch of their fingertips. This was quite extraordinary at the time. Almost like mini "15 minutes of fame." Early on, it became a power game of sorts. People would count the number of times their name appeared and used this as a basis of comparison and competition. This article mentioned that a 17-year-old boy who was living in Los Angeles, Googled himself and discovered he was on a missing persons list in Canada. He had no idea until he Googled himself, that he was a victim of parental abduction. The fact that someone could find out something so personal about himself from a Google search was a fascinating concept to me.
3-Talk a little bit about your process as a writer: am or pm? Planner or pantser? Pen and ink or technology all the way?
When I first started writing The Memory Box my kids were young, and it was almost impossible to find time to write. So I got used to carrying a notebook around everywhere I went. You know, a lot can be done if you take advantage of little snippets of time. It adds up. It's a much better idea to wring out minutes from your day to do one or two sentences or paragraphs than to wait for a good time to write a book. DO NOT WAIT FOR A GOOD TIME TO WRITE A BOOK. (Was that too loud?) To answer your question, I write in the am and the pm, while driving (at red lights), at ballet rehearsals and basketball practices, while cooking, and of course while sleeping! That's when some of my best thoughts come, so the notebook is always on my nightstand.
4-Who are your own literary heroes?
At different times of my life, I've been inspired by wordsmiths from the music, film and literary universes: Wes Anderson, Edward Albee, Ethan and Joel Coen, Clarence Greenwood, James Taylor, Don Henley, J.K. Rowlings, Neil Gaiman, Rebecca Wells, Janet Fitch, Philip Galanes.
5-Are you willing to share what you're working on now? Is it a departure from The Memory Box?
I'm working on another psychological thriller, however it's not a marriage thriller. The main character is a host from a television home shopping channel who is stalked by a viewer -- but this ends up to be the least of her worries. The theme of control rears its ugly head again and the reader will be challenged to decide who is theprotagonist and who's the antagonist. I'm carrying around a new notebook these days, as it seems I have even less time to dedicate to writing now than I did when writing THE MEMORY BOX.
Eva Lesko Natiello is an award winning author and graduate of The State University of NY at Albany with a degree in psychology. She is a native of Yonkers, NY and currently lives in suburban New Jersey with her husband and two children. THE MEMORY BOX is Ms. Natiello's debut novel. It is a recipient of the Houston Writers Guild 2014 Manuscript award. Her short story, "The Wordsmith," was a finalist in The Writer Magazine 2012 Best Short Story. When Eva is not writing suspense novels, she enjoys writing humorous musings about life's ironies, which can be found on her blog. On a personal note, she loves the creative process: painting, gardening, singing or re-purposing (though many D.I.Y. projects have been fraught with disaster, it doesn't seem to stop her). She's incredibly grateful to her readers for their enthusiasm—when they take time to write reviews, get in touch or spread the word. Eva is currently at work on her next novel.