Tuesday, September 7, 2021

S.F. Kosa Interview - The Night We Burned

Photo Content from Sarah Fine/SF Kosa

Sarah Fine/SF Kosa is the author of twenty-three trade-published novels, including twelve YA novels, three adult urban fantasy trilogies, and most recently, two adult psychological suspense novels: The Quiet Girl (which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly) and the upcoming The Night We Burned (Sourcebooks, August 10, 2021). With a PhD in clinical psychology, Sarah has a penchant for exploring the darker side of human nature and experience in her books, which range from fantastical to poignantly realistic. When she’s not writing or psychologizing, she enjoys hiking, cooking, and playing countless rounds of One Night Werewolf with her husband and five rapidly growing children (okay, they’re actually teenagers and young adults now).


Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
It’s how we understand larger truths and inhabit other worlds and selves. Stories are the flesh and muscle over the bones of more abstract concepts that are harder for us to understand without seeing them move and breathe and walk around on their own.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
The most rewarding experiences I have had since being published have been when I get emails from new readers who have felt that my stories articulated and honored aspects of their own lived experiences. I often write about painful subject matter—trauma including sexual abuse, serious mental illness, etc. I try to do so thoughtfully, with depth and accuracy based on my training and professional experience. I do my best to avoid trivializing or romanticizing, and I put a lot of thought into how someone with similar experience would perceive that part of the story. So when I get messages that I’ve captured something real, and even notes thanking me for writing what I did? To me, that’s priceless.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m currently writing a novel about con artists and art dealers on Martha’s Vineyard, and I also recently cowrote a mystery with my husband that features a detective who is literally one of a kind (but that’s all I can say about it!)

Can you tell us when you started THE NIGHT WE BURNED, how that came about?
The idea for The Night We Burned came to me in 2019 with a vague but compelling idea that felt very timely: what if a fact checker, someone whose primary responsibility is to truth and accuracy, decided to alter the facts of a news story to keep some piece of her deeply buried past concealed? After that, it was just a question of what that past was, and why she’d be so desperate to hide it. That’s how the Oracles of Innocence cult was born.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
Well, I hope they’ll get lost in the story and also trying to put themselves in Dora’s shoes. I think it’s hard for people on the outside to understand why seemingly normal human beings join—and struggle to leave—cults. It’s easy to assume cult members are just gullible and weak, and to believe that it would be a simple decision to leave when things get really strange or abusive. None of that is true, and I hope readers come away with a greater sense of empathy for those who get sucked in—and greater admiration for those who survive and work toward recovery afterward.

What part of Dora did you enjoy writing the most?
Her decision to move from hiding and sheltering herself from accountability to accepting that she’ll never be able to move forward without facing—and letting others face—the truth of her past and the consequences that might come from that.

Name one thing you miss about being a kid.
The sense of wonder that comes naturally before your world expands enough to include logical explanations for what used to seem like magic.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Try and fail to get something or achieve something you think is important (and then, hopefully, try and succeed with new knowledge, perspective, and empathy).

What was the first job you had?
“Hello, and thank you for calling Pizza Hut—will this be for takeout or delivery?”

First Heartbreak?
My dog, Bombadil, ran away when I was six. He jumped over the fence in the backyard (Irish Setters are great jumpers), and I never saw him again.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
You can probably guess, based on my earlier answer about experiences I think one should have.

A new psychological thriller from suspense powerhouse S.F. Kosa featuring a decades-old secret, a mysterious cult fire, and a woman looking to outrun the ashes of her past...until they come roaring back once more.

Dora is always aware of the line between fact and fiction. As a fact checker at an online magazine, her job depends on it. And as a woman outrunning her secrets, so does her life. But when a murder crops up in her old town, one linked to a deadly fire at a cult compound twenty years prior, suddenly all of Dora's carefully spun deceptions are at risk.

Because she's seen a murder like this before. She knows what the police missed.
And if she doesn't stop the story, she may be next.

As Dora follows the journalist, altering facts to hide her identity along the way, she's thrown back into a world she tried desperately to leave behind. One of ritual and belonging, of danger and darkness. A world where two girls promised to help each other through...until it all went up in flames.

And Dora knows, she won't be lucky enough to escape twice.

You can purchase The Night We Burned at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you S.F. KOSA for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Night We Burned by S.F. Kosa.