We were a few minutes late for the event so when we walked in she was already reading, and the chapter was a gruesome one from early in the book. I had started the book that morning but only got to around 20% on my Kindle before we had to leave. There is a chapter early on wherein Susan is giving her boyfriend a hand job in a public place. It is weird to know your mother is reading about hand jobs. (I can't even begin to think what people think about their mothers and even grandmothers are thinking about whilst reading Fifty Shades of Grey) So it was with great relief that I sat down and listened to Cain read about a hanged body, stripped flesh, rotten smells, and general grossness. She is an engaging speaker and my mom and I had joked on the way there about what kind of person writes these gory crime thrillers. I don't know if you could ever look at a lineup of writers and guess what genre they write (this could be a really fun blog post), but I don't think I would pick a blonde woman in a Hufflepuff quidditch captain t-shirt as my go-to for crime thriller, would you?
Jake Kelly only drank fair trade coffee. It guaranteed a living wage for coffee farmers, who otherwise might be slaving away for a price less than the cost of production, forcing them into a cycle of debt and poverty. Jake needed a cup. He needed the caffeine. But the center only had Yuban. He could smell the nutty aroma of French roast wafting from the brewing air pot. Was he tempted? Yes. But then he thought of the indigenous people of Guatemala, working for pennies in the coffee fields. Every choice a person made, what to buy or not to buy, what to eat and drink, had the power to change lives. You were either part of the solution or part of the problem. (Locations 131-136).
I asked her what she likes to read for pleasure and Cain said she was currently reading The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and that she loves the Sherlock stories because the solutions to the crimes are always so ludicrous but that we, as readers, just totally believe them. (True. Also, she's a fan of BBC's Sherlock. (Who isn't?!) She also likes to read nonfiction like the work of Bill Bryson and often mines books for factoids that she can use for Susan's character in the series. In terms of her television tastes, she likes Game of Thrones, True Blood, Mad Men, and Law & Order, which she thinks she's now seen every episode of. She joked that she knew she'd made it when she saw a character on True Blood reading her book.
The next question was which book in the series is Cain's favorite. She said that next one (which is already finished!) is her favorite. It is Halloween-themed and will contain a big reveal. When restricted to those books already published in the series, she wasn't sure if she had a favorite but that Evil at Heart was her least favorite. My least favorite was The Night Season because it was less gruesome and Gretchen was largely absent from it. Cain spoke a little bit about that particular book and said that her publisher asked her to write an installment that was more accessible those unfamiliar to the series and its gore and that might serve as an later entry point. This kind of validated my feelings about the book so I'm glad it was addressed. She said that she really missed Gretchen while writing and that it would definitely be a long time until she writes another book without her. (Thanks!) In terms of her characters, Cain answered an audience question about whether they were based on real people with the statement that she was never able to actually finish a book until she stopped basing characters on real-life people. Nowadays, she often uses people's real names for the victims and just kills them, which some people appreciate and others find less amusing than she thought they would. She said her beta readers thought Susan's character was a huge asshole, which entertained Cain because she used Susan's character as the vehicle to say all the things Cain herself would say in the situation but would never actually say.
After the event, I bought the newest book, which you saw signed above, and a copy of the first book in the series to give away. Are you still reading? Have I piqued your interest? Enter to win a signed copy of Heartsick! Open internationally until 8/24, midnight PST. Please see our giveaway rules if you have any questions or contact us with questions.