Suspense author Terry Goodkind joins me today to talk about his latest thriller novel, Nest.
Welcome, Terry. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, where I went to commercial art school. Besides a career in wildlife art, I’ve been a cabinet maker, violin maker, and I’ve done restorations of rare artifacts from around the world. I’ve always been interested in a variety of things revolving around art and creativity.
Please tell us about your current release.
Nest is the story of Kate Bishop, who very mistakenly thinks of herself as an ordinary woman until the day she arrives back in Chicago from a business trip and suddenly finds herself in urgent need of answers to a lot of very out of the ordinary questions, such as why her brother had a man chained in his basement and why the police think she would know. Why are people she knows being murdered? Could she be the target of some of the most dangerous killers ever born? Who is the mysterious Jack Raines, and is he trying to find her to help her stay alive, or to slaughter her?
Our world, a place where murder and violence come closer to home every day and terrorists now stalk all of us, is the backdrop for Nest. All of these seemingly unrelated events are linked to the answers Kate must find if she is to stay alive. Her search for those connections takes her down into the hidden world of the darknet and into the basement kill rooms of predators. Nest is a thriller unlike anything you’ve ever read. You will hope that it's just fiction, but much of it is all too real.
I’m eager for you to have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. I think that you will find it not only exciting and terrifying, but touching and very human in unexpected ways.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always loved novels in the suspense and thriller realm, but I wanted to write something that was different, a thriller with my own slant. I wanted the book to have a broader sense of evil and to tell that story through the eyes of one woman who comes to discover that she can see evil, and that evil is looking back at her. I love writing the kind of stories that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
Excerpt from Nest:
“For the past three weeks, John Allen Bishop had been keeping the devil chained in the basement. What, exactly, the devil had been doing in Chicago John didn’t know and the devil wasn’t saying. What John did know was that over the past several days the situation had been getting increasingly worrisome.”
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m writing the next book in the series that begins with Nest. It’s even darker and grittier. I’m having lots of fun writing it.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was born an author. I was an author before I even knew what an author was. My earliest memories are of making up stories in my mind as I went to sleep, imagining characters in danger and trying to figure out how they might be able to survive. Writing them down wasn’t important to me. They were very personal and I carried them around in my head, sometimes for months, as I built them ever bigger and more complex. I daydreamed all the time, worrying about my characters and the danger they were in. They existed in my head, so writing them down was irrelevant to me. I’ve always felt a profound sense of connection to my characters. From the beginning, I’ve been entirely self-motivated, self-inspired, without any exterior inspiration or influence. To this day I rarely read books because I don’t have time and I don’t want anyone else’s work to influence mine. Stories are sacred to me. I love making characters live and breathe.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I basically spend seven days a week, including most holidays, writing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean sitting at a keyboard. Writing is mostly a mental process and requires a lot of thinking and planning. I do that all the time I’m awake. Dialog and different scenes are almost always running through my mind. It’s something I’ve been doing my whole life. The only time I’m not writing is when I’m racing cars. That’s my fun. It gives my brain a break and I come back refreshed and ready to write.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Writing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I believe that we get the greatest reward by challenging ourselves. When you accomplish something that is tremendously difficult it gives you a sense of personal satisfaction. The part I love about writing is the writing is creating characters and putting them in impossible situations. I sometimes can’t help smiling to myself, thinking “Wait until people read this. It’s really going to blow their minds.” As far as quirks, no quirks, really, just a lot of long hours and hard work. Although I do have a black cat and I’ve had to learn to write with her curled up sleeping on my lap. She lays her head over my wrist and is perfectly content going to sleep as I type away with her head bobbing up and down. I guess that’s kind of quirky!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was always interested art and creating things. I loved painting a wide variety of subjects. The world seemed to hold an endless variety of things that interested me. It was a bit of a default desire to be an artist when I grew up because I was good at it and it seemed like the natural thing I would do. But it wasn’t my bliss. My secret dream was to write novels, to tell the stories I lived with all the time. Because I have dyslexia, I feared I wouldn’t be good enough at all the technical aspects of writing, so I didn’t test that secret dream until I was 45. I still remember writing that first sentence of my first novel. I was a moving experience. In that instant, I knew what I was born to do. Bringing characters to life was magical. This was what I was meant to do. At that moment, my dream became reality and I’ve been writing ever since. Writing is my bliss.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’ve been keeping the story of Kate Bishop in my head for years until I finally had the time to write it. It was an exciting, scary, emotional book to write. My sincere hope is that readers will have a great time reading Nest. That really gives me a great thrill.
Thanks for joining me today, Terry!