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FIVE QUESTIONS . . . Kate Michaelson

Welcome to FIVE QUESTIONS. In this feature on my blog, you'll learn about new and exciting books from the author's themselves. You'll hear about the book, their characters, the inspiration behind the book, and other insider details. All through five simple questions.

Today, we are hearing from Kate Michaelson about her new novel HIDDEN ROOMS, which is available now.

What is your new book about?

For months, distance-runner Riley Svenson has been fighting an array of bewildering symptoms, from vertigo to fainting spells. What’s worse, her doctors can’t tell her what’s wrong, leaving her to wonder if it’s stress or something more sinister? But when her brother’s fianceé is killed—and he becomes the prime suspect—Riley feels compelled to prove his innocence, despite the toll on her health.

As she reacquaints herself with the historic houses and wild woods of her childhood, the secrets she uncovers lead her to fear that the trail to the real killer may lead her right back to the very people she knows and loves the most.

What was the inspiration behind the book?

I’ve always loved reading and watching mysteries, so when I decided to write a novel, it made sense to write in a genre I knew. The idea for having a protagonist with an undiagnosed chronic condition came from my own experience of having health issues and going through a very long diagnostic process. A lot of people go through similar experiences with the healthcare system, and I remember feeling almost like I was trying to solve a mystery as I went through test after test. At one point, I thought it would be refreshing to see a novel where someone is trying to solve their own medical mystery while also trying to solve a crime.

What do you hope the reader takes away from your book?

In the book, Riley and her brother, Ethan, were incredibly close as children but have grown apart in adulthood as one went off to college and the other stayed home. Whether it’s a sibling or an old friend, I think we all have people in our lives who were central to our development but whose paths through adulthood differ so much from ours that we grow apart. I wanted to portray the challenge of acknowledging this distance and what it means to work through it when a relationship means enough to us.

What was the hardest scene to write?

The first one—no contest! I can’t count how many times I rewrote the opening to the book. At one point I tacked on a prologue and then took it off. Writing a novel was an enormous learning process for me, so it wasn’t until I reached the end of the book that I had a better sense of how it needed to begin.

Which is your favorite minor character and why?

Frankie is Riley’s three-year-old nephew, and I had a lot of fun throwing him in the mix. Kids that age are naturally creative and entertaining, so it was fun putting some of that silliness on the page for a bit of comic relief.

HIDDEN ROOMS is available now, and can be purchased at the following retailers. - Supporting Local Bookstores


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