I keep meshing my genres a bit. I think true thriller fans will be disappointed with the level of characterization, backstory, and relationship details. I think women’s fiction fans might be turned off by how flawed the characters are.
Kate Moretti – 29 May 2014
The Back Flap
A new book from New York Times Bestselling Author Kate Moretti
Love ties. Murder binds.
Maggie never felt as though she belonged until Chris Stevens showed her what true happiness meant. Ten years into their marriage, miscarriages and infidelities have scarred them both. Despite their perfect-couple image, Maggie can’t look at Chris with anything but resentment. When a charismatic stranger offers the opportunity for a little harmless flirtation, she jumps into the game.
But charm soon turns to malice, and a deadly split-second decision forces Maggie and Chris onto a dangerous path fraught with secrets, lies, and guilt. With no one else to turn to—no one she dares trust—Maggie will ultimately learn just how binding marital ties can be.
About the Book
What is the book about?
Binds That Tie is about a couple, Maggie and Chris, whose marriage is on the rocks. When they accidentally kill a man, they have to work together to avoid prosecution for murder. Binds That Tie explores what this crime does to their marriage, their relationship and each other. To me, it’s about how far you can push someone until they break and how normal, everyday people have the capacity to be truly self-serving, almost to the point of evil. I loved the idea of putting my characters in the position to choose between their spouse and themselves. How would they fare?
When did you start writing the book?
I started Binds That Tie right before my content edit on Thought I Knew You, so March 2012.
How long did it take you to write it?
The rough draft took about nine months to complete because I tend to write very slowly. I have a day job and two kids and I fit writing in while I can. I took many breaks writing this book, I wasn’t pushing myself or in a hurry. I took vacations and I took a very long break when Thought I Knew You was released in September 2012. I finished editing it by the end of January 2013, submitted it to Red Adept Publishing in February or 2013.
Where did you get the idea from?
I read a book a long time ago (that also became a movie) called A Simple Plan, by Scott Smith. Three guys find a crashed plane and a duffel bag full of millions of dollars in the woods while hunting and decide that if no one comes looking for it, they’ll keep it. What starts out as a casual we’ll do it if we can attitude turns into this desperate need to keep the money at all costs. I love this book, I love the devolution into madness. I love the fact that two very meek, horrifically average people could commit such violence in the name of self-preservation. I love how Smith exposes what powerful motivators can do to good people; how it can turn even church-going accountants evil. And I thought the end was just brilliant (Spoiler alert!): The fact that it was all for nothing. I wanted to take a lot of these themes and write about a marriage. An average, albeit unhappy marriage, but in the way many marriages are unhappy, only sometimes. Throw them into a horrific situation, a murder, and see what they do to stay afloat.
Was there any part of the book that you struggled?
With the end. For a long time I had a placeholder in my outline that said INSERT SOMETHING BRILLIANT HERE. I wanted a truly gasp worthy ending. I sent it to my editor with a very weak, half-finished ending and asked for brainstorming help. I was almost done with my content edit before the idea came to me, during my commute. I don’t know if it’s brilliant or not, but I’m very happy with it.
What came easily?
The characterization. I feel like I had Maggie and Chris in my blood. I love writing about human nature, all those messy, dark, deeply buried desires that people tend to gloss over and pretend they’re not there. How good people are selfish. How honest people lie. How, if pushed, a pediatric nurse can become a murder just like that.
Are your characters fictitious or have you borrowed from the real world people you know?
I think to some extent you’ll always borrow from the real world. You only know the people you know. Alternatively, you can borrow from movies or television or other novels. For Binds, I really wanted to delve into characterization and honestly, I tried to invent Maggie and Chris from scratch. I started with stereotypes (cold wife, construction worker husband) and tried to tweak them enough or give them enough conflicting traits to make them human. To me, they felt very real. I still think about them. I’ve always had a soft spot for Maggie, who seemed to be a perpetual victim.
Do you have a target reader for this book?
I keep meshing my genres a bit. I think true thriller fans will be disappointed with the level of characterization, backstory, and relationship details. I think women’s fiction fans might be turned off by how flawed the characters are. While I still consider this to be a book club book, there’s plenty to discuss, it’s not going to be a “beautiful story” that moves anyone. My hope is that I keep you up all night because you just have to know. While Binds That Tie was in editing at Red Adept, I read The Silent Wife. I was a bit shocked by the similarities. Both stories are dual point of view, with unsympathetic characters. I think if you liked The Silent Wife, you’d like Binds That Tie.
How was writing this book different from what you’d experienced writing previous books?
My debut novel, Thought I Knew You, was easier to write. The characters were loosely based on the people in my life. That’s a one-time use trick though. With Binds That Tie, I had to learn how to believably “make a person”. I like complicated characters, those that maybe act one way in one situation but unexpectedly in another. I like conflicting characters. I loved experimenting with them, giving them a soft side, and then making them hard or cold. I think this is how people are. Maggie says throughout the story that she loves Chris more when he’s not around. She forgets about the things that irritate her. When she’s alone, she thinks almost lovingly of her husband but when they’re together, she’s caustic and biting, driven by resentment that bubbles up in his presence. I loved the dichotomy of this.
What new things did you learn about writing, publishing, and/or yourself while writing and preparing this book for publication?
I learned that I’m a darker person than I thought. Thought I Knew You wasn’t a dark book. It wasn’t a walk in the park, but I frequently hear that it’s realistic. Binds That Tie was much more fun for me to write because of the psychological exploration of the characters. Both Chris and Maggie have memories from childhood, interwoven into the narrative, that tap into deep wells of loneliness and isolation. This was fun for me! I seem to learn more about writing with every book I write, and I love that. My editors are simply amazing and every time I go through the process, something clicks. I would write “She looked sympathetic” and Michelle would comment: How does this look on her? Through her I learned to dig deeper and expose emotion through action, not narrative. In other words, show, don’t tell.
End of Interview:
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