by Anna Willett
Anna Willett will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please visit GoddessFish.com to follow the tour, remember the more you comment better your chances on winning.
For Milly Birdsworth and Her sister Judith, a two day trip in an isolated area of the National Park seems like an ideal way to mend their tattered relationship. With Milly’s best friend Harper along for moral support and experienced hiker Lucas as their guide, it seems nothing can go wrong.
But when everyone has something to hide, it’s difficult to know who to trust. What starts out as an adventure to bring two sisters together quickly becomes a terrifying ordeal where old wounds are exposed and a deadly tragedy is brought to light. One thing is clear, someone is seeking retribution and won’t stop until the guilty are punished.
“This is going to be a long two days.” Milly sighed and climbed out of the car.
“I’m Lucas. Lucas Werd. A friend of Judith’s. She’s asked me to lead the hike.”
“I’m Milly. I see you’ve met Harper.” Milly grasped the man’s hand, grateful that he’d stepped forward and bridged the uncomfortable silence between her and Judith.
“I was just telling Lucas that you and Judith haven’t really spoken in years, not since you were both teenagers. So,” Harper drew out the word. “This might be the most tortuous hiking group he’s ever led.”
Harper’s words hung in the air. Milly felt the knot in her stomach twist into full-blown anxiety. Why did I agree to this, she asked herself, and not for the first time. Guilt? Loneliness? She wanted to look at her sister and see how the moment was affecting her, but she couldn’t bear to meet Judith’s gaze. She found her eyes darting everywhere but at the one person she’d driven three hours to see.
“What’s all the rope for?” Her focus landed on the pile of equipment heaped on the bitumen near the rear of the car.
“We’re going to do a bit of abseiling.” It was the first time Judith had spoken since Milly and Harper arrived.
Q & A with Anna Willett
Q & A with Anna Willett
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Many writers hold that just showing up is the hardest part. In many ways that’s true, getting started is the hardest part. For some reason the first chapter is always the most agonizing and takes the longest to write. I always feel like I know the characters better by about chapter three or four and at that point writing becomes much easier. I’ve found the best way to take the pressure off is to just get the first chapter down and worry about making it perfect later. It’s better to let the story grow and if the first chapter doesn’t work, fix it when the book’s finished.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoy everything about writing, including the hard parts. Delving into the love/hate relationship that only siblings can share was great fun. Retribution Ridge called for a great deal of action; something I love to write so the story really flowed and when that happens, I think it shows in the work. I also enjoyed the time I spent hiking on the Cape to Cape Track as part of my research.
What inspires you?
I’m definitely inspired by places and photographs as much as I am by people and situations.
When writing my first novel, Backwoods Ripper, I came across an old black and white photograph of a hospital for wounded soldiers. The image really resonated with me and became the inspiration for a good deal of the story.
Something similar happened with Retribution Ridge only this time it was a website about the Cape to Cape Track, a 135 kilometer track that threads its way through some pretty isolated and rugged terrain in Australia’s South West. A few weeks after looking at the site, my husband and I drove to a place called Yallingup and walked part of the track. The photos and notes from that hike quickly turned into the backdrop for Retribution Ridge.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?
I’m a huge fan of Thomas Harris, his writing is perfection. I remember reading The Silence of the Lambs and being blown away. It’s a very powerful story that really raised the bar for writers. I also love John Steinbeck and Stephen King, both masters of their genres. I’ll read any genre as long as it’s well written so I’d have to say I’ve drawn influence from everyone from Enid Blyton to Michael Connelly.
What do your plans for future projects include?
I’m working on another thriller which I hope to complete within the next few months. It’s about a group of friends who have the opportunity to spend a weekend at an idyllic but isolated holiday house. Soon after they arrive, it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems.
After that, I’m tossing around the idea of writing horror. I haven’t made a definite decision yet about changing genres, but I’d like to give it a try at some point in the future.
Do you ever get writer’s Block? Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
I don’t really suffer from writer’s block as such. My mind’s always full of ideas for future novels. By the time I’m half way through a book, I’ve already come up with a solid idea for the next one. In that way, I’m fortunate. I don’t know how it works for other writers but I sometimes run into a block when trying to come up with a description or a simile. When that happens, I usually stop and take a thinking break where I make a cup of tea and stare into space for a while. If that doesn’t shake something lose, I highlight the section I’m stuck on and move on. Usually by the time I finish the book and start editing, something comes to me.
Have you ever had one character you wanted to go one way with but after the book was done the character was totally different?
Part of being a pantser is letting the characters guide the story. I often start off with a character’s personality and role fixed in my mind, but when I begin writing they head in a completely different direction. In Backwoods Ripper, I originally wanted one of the characters to be a silent menacing woman who acted as an accomplice to the protagonist. As soon as I began writing, she changed completely and in many ways became a victim of circumstance that needed rescuing. For me, part of letting the story unfold, is being willing to change direction.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Anna Willett is the author of Backwoods Ripper and Retribution Ridge. Raised in Western Australia Anna developed a love for fiction at an early age and began writing short stories in high school. Drawn to dark tales, Anna enjoys writing thrillers with strong female characters. When she’s not writing, Anna enjoys reading, travelling and spending time with her husband and two children.