A spy with a criminal past. A dark family secret. Freedom at the cost of betrayal.
To escape her mobster family, Toni fakes her own death, but before she can start anew in Mexico City, she’s pulled into a world of spies and deadly secrets. Her new life crumbles when she discovers her boss is keeping secrets of his own.
When word gets around that Toni’s brother is on his way to Mexico, she fears the worst – he wants to hunt her down. Cornered and with nowhere to turn, Toni must decide: will she run once more, or will she risk her life for a chance of freedom?
Did or do you like to read comic books/grapic novels? Which ones?
I’ve always enjoyed reading comics and I was a big fan of Mickey Mouse comics when I was little. In Slovenia, all the kids of my generation read the Miki Muster comics, which featured a trio of a fox, a turtle and a wolf solving mysteries. As far as graphic novels go, I haven’t read that many, but I really loved ‘Persepolis’ by Marjane Satrapi and Joe Sacco’s graphic novels about different conflict areas. When I was struggling with my PhD, I found great comfort in PHD comics, but I don’t read so many these days.
Whom did you inherit your love for books/reading from?
Definitely my mum. She’s the main reader in our family, who still reads a lot and widely. She read to me when I was little and introduced me to our family collection of classics. We’d often talk about books we’ve read and loved, and this hasn’t changed.
When you need a murder victim or someone you can diagnose with a serious disease or someone who is involved in a fatal accident do you sometimes picture someone nasty you have met in real life and think ‘got you’ LOL?
This question made me smile. It would be quite a convenient venting mechanism, wouldn’t it, hehehe? I prefer to make things up and let the characters reveal themselves on the page as I throw them into different situations. This keeps things interesting for me as a writer. Though I’ve certainly borrowed a trait, an event or certain behaviour from people and situations I’ve observed in everyday life, I avoid using real people as a basis for my characters. That is not to say that I’m not often tempted to do that 🙂
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
Character names have always been my weak spot, so I often borrow names from friends and random tombstones. Every so often, I get lucky and a character arrives already with a name that fits them completely. Most of the times, though, I pick them at random and change them later, because there can be only so many Mandys, Marys and Minas before things start to get confusing.
Do you write other things beside books (and shoppinglists 😉 )?
I write diaries, blog posts, occasional website and campaign texts, and sometimes also postcards and bad poetry.
If a movie or series would be made from your books, would you be happy with the ‘based on’ version or would you rather like they showed it exactly the way you created it?
If anyone ever wanted to make a movie or a series based on my books, I’d gladly license them the rights and step away from the whole thing. I’ve written enough screenplays to know it’s a completely different medium and timeframe, so even a great story still needs to be adapted. As long as the screen adaptations of the story stay true to the characters, I’m happy, though I might watch it with one eye closed.
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
That’s a great question! A whole bunch of people probably, from my favourite writers, like Stephen King, Miha Mazzini and Silvia Moreno-Garcia to excellent comedians like Trevor Noah and John Oliver. I’d throw in a couple of my favourite bands like Depeche Mode and The National and round it up with excellent cookbook authors like Meera Sodha and Yotam Ottolenghi.
Do you have certain people you contact while doing research to pick their brains? What are they specialized in?
The main person I turn to is my husband, who’s not only unbelievably intelligent, but also incredibly patient. Well, he has to be, since he married a writer. If there’s a specific topic I need to look deeper into, I usually start with googling and continue by interviewing experts if necessary. The upside of this is that I learn a lot of basic stuff about many things, the downside is that my browsing history is rather worrying and littered with weird stuff.
Is there someone you sometimes discuss a dilemma with?
Usually my husband, unless it’s something very writerly, in which case I turn to my writing groups – I’m a member of several and find their support and knowledge crucial in my journey and development as a writer.
What is more important to you : a rating in stars with no comments or a reviewer who explains what the comments they give are based on (without spoilers of course)
I think both are equally important, it’s just that some readers prefer not to say more, or maybe don’t know how to word their review, while others are more comfortable sharing details and expressing their opinions. I of course learn more from those who write a review and share what they liked (or not), but I value both. It means someone not only took the time to read my book, but also made the extra effort of reviewing it.
About the author
Karmen Špiljak is a Slovenian-Belgian writer of suspense, horror and speculative fiction.
Her short fiction has been awarded and anthologised. Her thriller, ‘No Such Thing as Goodbye’, was shortlisted and received an honourable mention at ‘The Black Spring Crime Fiction Prize 2020’.
She lives in Sao Paulo with her husband, two mischievous cats and an undefined number of literary characters.