The Next Witness by Kirstyn Petras released Tuesday in the Thriller genre.
Alexander Covington is hunting a traitor: Melody Karsh, a missing girl accused of treason, a Party member who has forsaken her country. But, letters are appearing in mailboxes, being slipped beneath doors, and in the pockets of passersby. “Free Melody” is being spray painted on walls. Her image – cold, shivering, pathetic – has captured the public’s attention and sympathy.
Melody has no idea that her name is being used to start a movement, not until the executions of those demanding her freedom start airing on television.
Derek Lin would feel sympathy, if he didn’t blame Melody for the deaths of those who have disappeared without a trace, caught up in the investigation to find her.
Melody must choose to join the fight or stand aside. Derek will become a leader or break under the pressure. Alexander will decide how many bodies must fall to save his own life.
“Why wouldn’t you be able to fight more?” Melody pressed him.
Logan shook his head; she could see it out of the corner of her eye.
“You may think Derek’s not afraid to die, but he is. I’ve known him for a long time. The guy’s scared. And you know what? I am too. You’re the one walking through this with nothing to lose anymore. The rest of us? We’re fucking terrified. I don’t want to die alone in a cramped little cell with the shit kicked out of me, so numb I can’t feel what finally kills me. I want to live, even if it means living with Covington screaming at me every day for the next 30 years. I don’t care. It’s better than the alternative.”
“So, this brings me back to my original point. Why did you leak it?”
“Why did you come back?” He challenged her. “What are you actually doing here? What are you gaining from helping in this?”
Melody looked out into the gray sky.
“Well, they feed me, don’t they?”
“If that’s all you care about, why do you even leave the house?”
“If you’re so terrified of dying, why do you?”
“For no other reason than sheer necessity.”
She had no response to this, and he stood up and left a few minutes later, leaving her alone in the freezing, sunlit afternoon.
Kirstyn Petras is a fiction writer and commodities reporter but primarily identifies as caffeine in a human suit held together by hair spray and sheer force of will. She currently resides in Texas, though claims home as a combination of New York and Edinburgh. When not writing, she trains contortion and aerial hoop. She has been published in Punk Noir, and is the co-host of Dark Waters, a literary podcast exploring all that is dark, ready, and wonderfully twisted.
What was the hardest part of writing this book? Why?
I had images in my head for the longest time. I knew what was going to happen to certain characters, I had very clear pictures of certain scenes, but no idea how the story would get from one place to the next. It took a while to coax out those ideas.
I think tied with that would be translating the world from my head into the story. There were things that were so clear to me, because I’d been living with that world for so long, that were not at all obvious to other readers of the story. Trying to build out the world without overwhelming readers with exposition was a tricky balance, and definitely took the most work out of any element of the story.
I wrote and rewrote the story over a really long period of time – I very much learned to write by scrapping and restarting this story, and working on other projects along the way. My voice evolved as I got older, as did my ability to tell the story I wanted to tell, but getting these characters that I came to know so intimately out of my head and onto the page was a process.
I can’t say I would have done it any differently. The story exists as it does for that reason. Everyone has their own process of how they write – being able to let words flow and putting every idea onto the page is a skill, and not one I possess. I self edit as I go and that slows the process down. My problem was always editing even before it go to the page, and trying to match up this image, this beautiful scene crafted in my head, with the ink coming out of the pen.
This post is part of a tour. The tour dates can be found here: https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2022/03/vbt-next-witness-by-kirstyn-petras.html
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