Lately I keep getting surprised by the covers. I mean, this one was a big, big, “Oh, ok. Wow.” And I talked to Kathleen, and LOVED her.
The story is The Invisible Heiress by Kathleen O’Donnell, a Psychological Thriller.
A psychiatric patient with a dark secret
Preston Blair, a blogger with a dark sense of humor, is committed to a private psychiatric hospital, accused of a shocking crime. Her father Todd’s influence as a D.A. has kept her from prison, but her sanity remains on a knife-edge.
A therapist with an agenda
Preston’s therapist, Isabel, is too preoccupied working her latest con on a rich, married, sadomasochistic secret lover, to care about Preston’s problems, even when Preston tells her that her socialite mother, Harrison Blair, had committed an unthinkable crime herself years before—one that might help explain Preston’s own misdeeds.
A shocking secret that begs to be told
When Preston’s absent husband, Brendan, suddenly turns up and tries to prove her innocence, tragedy strikes. Preston’s convinced her parents were involved, but it turns out to be much more complicated. As Preston delves deeper into the mystery, her head clears and a devastating event that she had long erased from her muddled mind comes rushing back.
A killer that cannot be stopped
Stumbling onto video evidence, which exposes a killer’s greed and lust for power, Preston finds her own life is in danger from a surprising and once trusted source. She discovers that the truth hurts. It just might be the death of her.
“Dark, disturbing, deliciously inappropriate.” – Leslie Wolfe, best-selling author of The Watson Girl. From two-time Book of the Year finalist Kathleen O’Donnell comes a gripping psychological thriller filled with unexpected twists.Fans of Gillian Flynn and Jessica Knoll will love Kathleen O’Donnell.
I don’t know which scene satisfied me most—my posh parents waiting in the concrete-walled visitors’ room or me deposited in front of them by a uniformed guard.
They sat across from me at the Formica-topped table. My father’s face was tight, eyes damp. Seeing him distressed kicked a dent in my smug demeanor, so I stopped looking at him, my eyes ping ponged toward my mother. Despite the sordid circumstances, she shone, her beauty ferocious, perhaps highlighted even more by the dour surroundings. Thick hair still a perfect shade of bombshell blonde, skin pale but flawless despite time’s march, the blue of her eyes a perpetual shock.
So entranced I forgot to insult her.
“My incarceration poses a real problem for you. Doesn’t it, Mother? Harrison Blair doesn’t sully herself with the downtrodden.”
She shifted backward then forward quick.
“You’re the problem, Preston. Downtrodden? That’s how you think of yourself? You—”
“Harrison, Preston,” Dad said. “Please. Let’s start right. Preston, your mother and I haven’t seen you in so long. Though God knows I’ve tried. Let’s all make a real effort.”
He paused, probably to steel himself for objections in stereo. None came.
Dad continued. “You’re not incarcerated. You’re hospitalized. Your new therapist what’s her name.” He squeezed his eyes shut like her name had been tattooed inside his lids. “Um, she, Isabel, says you’ve made some headway, participating in therapy now.”
“Might as well,” I said.
“That’s the spirit. Won’t be long until you’re back home. You’re doing so well considering how difficult, well you’re done with that part of the, uh, the rehabilitation.”
“You mean the sweating, shaking, puking, padded room part?” I said.
“You’re sober. That’s all I meant.”
My mother’s eyes popped like a kidnapper just yanked the hood off her head.
“Sober?” she said. “Doesn’t that term apply to alcoholics? Surely they have another term for homicidal, drunken pill add—”
“She’s clean, Harrison. That’s all that matters.”
Dad kept yanking on his tie. I thought he might hang himself with it right before our eyes.
“All that matters? Is that your idea of a joke, Todd?”
“Nice dye job, Dad. Only you’d believe those stupid commercials. So natural no one will—”
“Darling, stop,” he said to Mother. “Of course sobriety’s not all but it’s a start. I think, we think enough time has passed. We should jumpstart our family therapy.”
“We who?” I said.
The guard took a step forward, disapproving of my elevated tone. My father waved him back.
“Not Mother, I’m sure.”
“Well, Isabel thought—”
“Just because I’m in the cuckoo’s nest doesn’t mean I don’t have rights,” I said. “Isabel shouldn’t talk to you at all about me. I’m an adult. She’s my shrink. Confidentiality too big a word?”
“Shrinks. Therapy,” Mother said. “In my day you poured yourself a scotch and got on with it.”
“You don’t pour yourself anything. You hire that out,” I said.
“Family therapy’s part of the deal,” Dad said. “The judge insisted—”
“You own the judge. We don’t have to do anything. Remind him, Mother.”
“You should kiss Judge Seward’s robed ass,” she said, hissing like a stabbed tire. “You’d be someone’s bitch if not for his mercy.”
“You mean, if not for your money. Don’t pretend you did shit for me. You did everything for yourself, Mother, to stop the gossip. That’s what you do.”
With both fists, Dad twisted the tie he’d finally managed to take off.
“Preston, we hoped something good could come out of—”
“Todd, the only good that could possibly come out of this mess is if Preston stays hospitalized for the rest of her natural life.”
“Harrison, please. We agreed—”
“You agreed. With no one but yourself.”
“Hate to break up the party but I’m ready to go back to my room,” I said more to the guard than my parents.
“Wait, Preston,” Dad said, peering around the room, looking for his spine. “It doesn’t feel like it now, but here’s a chance for you and Mom to, I don’t know what, start again, improve your relationship, even a little. That’s what we all want, isn’t it?”
“Steady on, Dad. The devil comes dressed as everything you want.”
I let the guard take my arm, turned in time to see Mom lean her head back enough to dab at the scar under the collar of her ivory silk blouse, a scarlet line cut across her throat, not quite ear to ear, a vicious permanent necklace.
Chatting with the Author
Kathleen O’Donnell is a wife, mom, grandmother and a recovering blogger. She currently lives in Nevada with her husband. She is a two time Book of the Year finalist for her debut novel The Last Day for Rob Rhino. You can find short stories and blog posts on her website.
I asked Kathleen, what advice she would give new authors?
Don’t listen to anyone who loves you. They are not your truth telling critics and they won’t help you write a decent book. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard say, “everyone (friends, family) tells me I should write a memoir because my life is so interesting.” It’s probably not. That might seem like tough advice but it’s true. Or, “everyone (friends, family) tells me I’m so funny I should write a book.” You might be funny as hell but making that into a story that sells is a whole other thing. An interesting life and/or a great sense of humor does not a novel make.
Learn your craft. Take classes. Read. Develop a very thick skin. Write. A lot. Get comfortable with the Delete key — it’s your best friend. No one is born a great writer. You can make a decent writer into a really good writer but great writers are rare indeed. And rarely does a bad writer become a good one. It’s like most other things. You’ve got a bent for it or you don’t.
Writing a novel is hard, hard work – a slog a lot of the time. It can take years to get it right. Especially if you want to get it right. Yes, you need an editor – a story editor – a good one. Preferably one who’s had experience at a large publishing house. They’re expensive. They will hurt your feelings. They might tell you to get rid of one of your favorite characters (kill your darlings). They will delete that sentence it took you five days to write. They’ll cut entire chapters. You will probably cry. They might even tell you writing isn’t your strong suit.
Learn to listen to those who know better than you. And when you first start that’s just about everyone who has written anything at all.
Can you describe your writing style?
It’s direct, to the point, as spare as possible. I say what I mean without preamble. I don’t use ten words when four will do. No matter the subject matter there’s always humor. I write like I live. There aren’t many situations in life that you can’t find humor in. Even tragedy. In fact, sometimes all you can do is laugh. There will be plenty of time to cry.
Find Kathleen here:
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