Publication Date: February 23rd 2016
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Would you risk your life to save your best friend?
Julia knows she beat the odds. She escaped the kidnapper who hunted her in the woods for two terrifying nights that she can’t seem to fully remember. Now it’s one year later, and as Julia settles into her junior year, a dead girl turns up in those same woods. The terrible memories resurface, leaving the whip-smart Julia in a stupor at awkward moments—in front of gorgeous Kellan MacDougall, for example. Julia copes by recording facts: collecting statistics about abductions, drawing diagrams of the players, and making lists.
Her best friend, Liv, was also abducted by the same man, but she managed to escape while Julia was left behind. Is Liv’s guilt over leaving Julia in the woods the reason she’s starving herself? Is hooking up with Shane Cuthbert, an addict with a volatile temper, Liv’s way of punishing herself for not having Julia’s back? As Julia struggles to make sense of her friend’s self-destructive behavior, she realizes the one person she thinks she knows best—Liv—is the person she knows least of all.
What was the craziest thing that you had to research while writing?
I needed to get the scene where Julia tumbles down a hill in a sleeping bag right. So, yeah. I didn’t roll all the way down the hill, but far enough to get sticks caught in my hair. Call it method writing.
What is one part of the publishing process that surprised you?
How much of a partnership the business end is, and how satisfying that has been, since the act of writing is so lonely. I feel like I’m a full partner with my editor, my publicist, and my digital marketing person. It’s awesome.
What’s your favorite food? (Curious minds want to know 😉 )
Anything unbearably hot. Wasabi peas. Jalapeños. If it makes my nose run, I’m in.
What was your first thought when you saw the cover?
I drew a breath, devastated (in the best way). The tone was the right mix of sensual and creepy, which is how the story feels to me. Also, for me, the girl is Julia, in a sort of chrysalis, withdrawn inside herself, waiting to emerge a new person. Of course that’s not what it will be for everyone.
Pick a character- any character from ATW. What is their motto?
That’s an easy one. Alice actually has a motto: What Would Jesus Do? She writes it on her arm with a Sharpie, to remember. Later, a Sharpie is used…differently.
Can you tell us anything about your current WIP?
I wish I could. Book three is under wraps. I can tell you it’s told in the first person, and the voice is incredibly vibrant, so alive and searing that I have to “come down” for a while after writing in it. Jennifer Egan once said when you’re fully immersed in your writing, stopping feels like coming up from scuba diving and getting the bends. That’s how it feels when I stop writing book three for the day.
When you originally started writing ATW, what did you think it would turn out to be? While you were writing, did anything surprise you?
After the Woods was originally told in both Julia and Liv’s points of view. I made the decision to drop Liv’s voice, because it seemed like I should be able to write a coherent narrative without it. That maybe, Liv’s voice was a narrative crutch. So her point of view became backstory. I still can’t believe I did that, because it was such a HUGE change, and so far along in the editing timeline. My editor is a saint.
I do love Liv’s voice, and would love even more to publish those chapters someday. Would readers be interested in seeing that? If so, I’m game!
*~~About the Author~~*
Kim received her degree in English from Stonehill College, and a Master’s degree in Journalism with Honors from Northeastern University. She worked as a business journalist, pitching story ideas along the lines of “Stigmatized Properties: When Murder Kills Property Values.” She also worked as a development consultant for Boston University alongside faculty members in wildly diverse disciplines. Like George Plimpton in pumps, she got to be a temporary expert, bouncing from biomedical engineering to socioeconomics to religious pluralism in the same week. Today, Kim resides in a town west of Boston a lot like Shiverton, near the real Fells of After the Woods. Born directionally challenged, the fear of getting lost in those lovely woods lives close to her skin. She and her wickedly funny husband have three children who beg to appear in her books. They shouldn’t.