Monday, November 26, 2012

Interview with novelist Gledé Browne Kabongo

Today's guest is Gledé Browne Kabongo who has written a psychological thriller called, Conspiracy of Silence.

She's currently visiting different blogs each Monday for 16 weeks. Gledé will be awarding an Italian leather journal to a randomly drawn commenter (US/Canada Only) during the tour. For a chance to win, leave an email address with a comment below, and if you'd like more chances to win, visit other tour stops and leave a comment there. The more times you comment, the better your chances of winning.

Gledé Browne Kabongo began writing at the age of fourteen when she covered soccer matches for her hometown newspaper. She has also written for the Patriot Ledger and Metrowest Daily News, two Massachusetts based metropolitan newspapers. She earned a master’s degree in communications from Clark University, and once had dreams of winning a Pulitzer Prize for journalism. These days her dreams have shifted to winning the Pulitzer for fiction, and a Best Screenplay Academy Award. For the past decade, Gledé has worked in senior marketing roles for organizations in the Information Technology, publishing and non-profit sectors. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.

Welcome, Gledé. Please tell us about your current release.
Conspiracy of Silence is a psychological thriller set in Boston. The protagonist Nina Kasai has it all: stunning looks, Ivy League pedigree, a successful career, and an adoring husband. She’s the kind of woman who outwardly makes other women envious. But she’s been telling lies and keeping secrets about her past. When she lands the cover a prestigious business magazine however, she can no longer hide from the powerful enemy she escaped. Wealthy philanthropist Phillip Copeland wants to be the next Governor of Massachusetts and warns Nina to remain silent about the secret they share or else. She’s a woman on the edge because she’s kept her past hidden for her own reasons and to expose Phillip Copeland would cost her everything, including her husband. How does she become unstuck? Her one shot at reclaiming her life hinges on a dramatic courtroom battle where nothing is as it seems. Can Nina survive the final verdict?

What inspired you to write this book?
Everyone has secrets and sometimes, tough decisions have to be made about whether or not to reveal those secrets. I had a conversation years ago with someone close to me and I was shocked by what she told me. That sowed the seeds for Conspiracy of Silence. I decided to focus the story on a beautiful, Ivy League educated executive who is forced to confront a secret she buried many years ago, and the consequences that follow. The book ends with a dramatic courtroom showdown, which ironically, sets her free psychologically.

Marc paced back and forth on the living room floor, his face laced with anger. It didn’t take long for Nina to discover the source of his wrath. He held up a photograph of Nina and Sonny Alvarez.

“Are you having an affair?” he asked, his jaw twitching.

Nina took two steps backwards, as if the damning photograph would cause her physical harm if she got close. She knew who had sent it and she berated herself for underestimating how low he could sink. By her way of thinking, Phillip figured if her marriage fell apart, she would come running to him and he could get her to do whatever he wanted. It’s the way he manipulated people: get them in a vulnerable state and then swoop in for the kill or make some grand sweeping gesture that would get you all happy, and before you realized what was happening, it was too late.

“That’s a strange question, Marc. When have I ever given you reason to think I was being unfaithful?”

“Never. Until now.”

“Babe, you’re getting worked up over nothing,” Nina said calmly. “Sonny and I are old friends from Stanford. I met him for lunch to discuss business.”

“On a Saturday? You said you were spending the weekend with Charlene. Look at the date on the bottom.” He shoved the photo into her hands.

“It was a quick, unplanned trip. Sonny works for a research company and Jack came to me with the idea of hiring his firm. I told Jack I would take care of it because of my connection to Sonny. I wanted to get it out of the way—one less thing on my plate during the work week.”

“Why haven’t I heard about this Sonny until now? And if there’s nothing going on, why lie to me about going to Charlene’s?”

“I already explained that, Marc. I told Jack I would take care of it because I knew Sonny personally.”

“So your boss called you on a Saturday, mentioned this research firm and you just decided to hop on a plane to Baltimore, just like that?”

Nina wiped her sweaty palms on her skirt and took deep calming breaths.

“Marc, I swear I’m not having an affair with Sonny or anyone else.”

“Then can you please explain this? It came with the photographs.” He pulled out a white sheet of paper from his back pocket and handed it to her.

Your wife is a liar. You deserve the truth.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am very excited about my next book tentatively titled Swan. It’s the story of research scientist Dr. Shelby Cooper who receives a mysterious phone call with a shocking ultimatum: leave her family forever or take the rap for a murder she didn’t commit.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Although my first article was published when I was fourteen, I never really considered myself a writer. I wrote for my college newspaper and had newspaper and TV news internships. After college, I freelanced for a few months. But even when I was writing Conspiracy of Silence, I never really considered myself a writer. Now that it’s published and I have my next three books in the pipeline, I now legitimately feel that I’m a writer.

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 wish I could write full-time. That is my ultimate goal but I have a day job as a marketing director for a non-profit and a family. I typically write on the weekend or stay up late during the week if I’m really in the writing zone.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Most writing advice says you should write every single day and though I’m struggling to gain that discipline, I don’t operate that way. I can go weeks without writing and then once I get going, it’s hard to stop. I go through a few rounds of sporadic writing and at a certain point in the manuscript, I become obsessed where it consumes me day and night. Not good for my family but that’s how I get it done.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a banker and my second choice was to be a doctor. I hate math so the banker thing wouldn’t have worked out and the doctor choice was only fleeting. By the time I was eleven years old, I got bitten by the journalism bug and I’ve been writing on and off ever since but my biggest dream has always been to write novels that people can’t put down.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I have some fun facts up on my author website but I would say the weirdest one might be that I’m still annoyed that Matt Damon wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for the Talented Mr. Ripley and I don’t understand why Jude Law was. I know. Totally random.

Buy links

Thanks, Gledé.
Readers, just a reminder that Gledé will be awarding an Italian leather journal to a randomly drawn commenter (US/Canada Only) during the tour. For a chance to win, leave an email address with a comment below, and if you'd like more chances to win, visit other tour stops and leave a comment there.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

MomJane said...

This really sounds like a thriller for which there is no solution. Awesome.

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a great story. It can't be easy writing on the weekends and at night.


bn100 said...

I enjoyed the interview and excerpt.


Gledé Browne Kabongo said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. Lisa, thanks for hosting.

Gledé Browne Kabong

Emily said...

Thanks for the interview, sounds like an intriguing book.


Andra Lyn said...

Thanks for the chance to win!

andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

I love thrillers!

hense1kk At cmich DOT edu