Cara Reinard is an author in woman's fiction and domestic suspense from Pittsburgh who has received outstanding accolades for her writing. Kirkus Reviews called her novel INTO THE SOUND, "one wild ride." Her novel, SWEET WATER has been called a "nail-biting psychological thriller" by Publisher's Weekly. Her next novel, THE DEN, comes out in December of this year.
MB: I'd like to start by addressing a rumor that I've heard about you. I've heard that, when you need a little peace and quiet, you hide away from your family in your favorite writing spot: the bedroom closet. Is this true? Tell us about your closet.
CR: Yes, it’s true! It started as a prolonged trip upstairs to put away the laundry before I discovered I could slip away and write unnoticed for a couple of hours. Being a working mom makes it hard to find time to write. I’ve talked to my other writer friends who are moms and they all have their spots—kids’ sports practices, the “supermarket”, the driveway. Around
quarantine we transformed my wire-rack, carpeted walk-in closet into a shared space that includes an office. It even has its own coffee station now. The “closet” has come a long way. Check it out.
MB: You've got two spectacular novels out, and a third one on the way. Out of your three novels, do you have a favorite character? Give us an introduction to him/her.
CR: I just returned from Seattle where I visited the museum that houses all of the original grunge memorabilia (Pearl Jam, Nirvana, etc.). It reminded me of my inspiration for my main character’s ex-boyfriend in SWEET WATER, Joshua Louden. He was an unlikely hero in the end, and he left a lot of my readers swooning. He was nothing but trouble, but he was everything I loved about the 90s and so fun to write!
MB: Your new novel, THE DEN is coming in December. Without any spoilers tell us something about your book that we won't find in the jacket copy or PR material.
CR: The best way I can describe THE DEN is that it’s SUCCESSION meets KNIVES OUT.
If you watched either of those shows and have enjoyed them, you will love THE DEN. It has a colorful cast of four siblings who all have different motivations for upending each other to claim the family fortune from their rich, greedy father—even if it involves murder.
MB: Let's talk about your writing style for a moment. Every writer has specific nuisances when it comes to writing. Some outline, some don't. Some have a special place where they write. Tell us a bit about your writing process.
CR: I’m happiest as a panster—writing by the seat of my pants—although I’ve found I complete projects faster and more efficiently when I have an outline. For THE DEN, my agent sold the book off a five-paragraph proposal, and that was my best writing experience yet. I had a brief synopsis which gave me some direction, but enough creative freedom to do what I wanted with it.
MB: Do you typically set your books in real locations or do you make them up?
CR: My books are usually set in real locations. SWEET WATER is the Native American translation for sweet water. Both the town and the house were characters in the book. My newest novel, THE DEN, is set in Fox Chapel, an affluent area in Pittsburgh. THE DEN also has strong ties to the setting.
MB: What were some of the biggest challenges (research, literary, psychological, logistical, etc.) you face when bringing your books to life?
CR: Two of my novels, SWEET WATER and INTO THE SOUND, had alternating timelines that relied heavily on flashbacks, and it was difficult keeping my timeline straight. The copyeditors helped tremendously with that, but I think I may have given them a headache in the process!
MB: Some people believe we can tell a lot about a person by the books on their shelves. Share three titles from your bookshelf and tell us what you think they say about you.
CR: Well…my favorite authors are Stephen King, Gillian Flynn and Carolyn Kepnes so it’s DARK on my bookshelf. But, I also read women’s fiction with a dark edge and a mystery, a la Liane Moriarty.
YOU by Caroline Kepnes – Told from the perspective of a serial killer, I was beyond intrigued by this point of view. And even more so amazed by how the author made me empathize with the deeply disturbed main character.
GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn – Some people say that Gillian Flynn created the genre “domestic suspense” and I would agree. I was so inspired by this book, I sat down and wrote my very first novel, PRETTY DOLLS AND HAND GRENADES.
REAL EASY by Marie Rutowski – Oh gosh, a novel set partially in a strip club in the 90s where one of the girls goes missing—I’m in. It was the rich writing, though, not the seedy backdrop that blew me away in this one. If you haven’t read this book, you should, it’s a great study on character-driven thrillers.
MB: Finally, let's end with something a bit unusual. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
CR: I recently saw the new Harry Potter musical on Broadway where I was reintroduced to the cloak of invisibility. I’d love to be an invisible fly on the wall in publishing meetings where the acquisitions team decide on what projects to acquire. Also, think of all the time I could’ve gone unnoticed in my closet in those early days if I had a magic cloak. I could have twice as many books out by now!
Thank you for taking time to talk with me. Good luck with THE DEN.
To purchase any of Cara Reinard's books, click on the retailer links below.