When a best-selling author like L.J. Sellers comes out with a new book with established series characters, readers know to expect a good time. But as her her 15th Jackson & Dallas thriller – The Black Pill – is about to be released, they should also know that she’s going to surprise them! And so, on the eve of her new book, I’m thrilled to have her here, talking about the new book, her process, and her other projects.
How does a book start for you?
The first seeds of a story are planted when I see a news story about a crime that intrigues me. Especially if it’s unusual or seems unsolvable. Concurrently, I almost always have a social issue, or fear, that I’m feeling passionate about. So I start bouncing those two ideas off of each other a plot begins to gel.
Who in your latest book has surprised you most – and why?
The Black Pill, which releases tomorrow, features two of my series characters: Detective Jackson and Agent Dallas. They both surprised me with how they felt about their current love interests and ended up doing the opposite of what readers might expect. For a moment, that made me look deeply at my own relationship to see if I had undercurrents that I wasn’t acknowledging. But no, it was just the right timing for my fictional characters.
When and/or where is your latest book set and is there a story behind that setting?
The Black Pill has two settings, one in Eugene, OR, where all Jackson’s stories are based, and the second in Vancouver, WA, where Agent Dallas is assigned to travel for an undercover investigation. I often visit Vancouver because my grandchildren live there. And yes, there’s a story behind those grandkids and how they came to live there. Here’s the short version:
My husband and I traveled to Costa Rica to rescue them from a dangerous cult—and mentally ill mother—and ended up running and hiding in the jungle from men with guns. But we prevailed and managed to get the kids home to the states and to their extended biological family, most of whom live in Vancouver.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing the true, detailed story of that adventure. I’ve already crafted a movie script about it, and it’s currently being considered by several production companies.
Which question didn’t I ask you that I should have?
You might have asked: What’s the connection between all these elements?In my new release, The Black Pill, the character backgrounds are based on the horrific conditions those kids were living in. The other theme of the story is the online world of incels (involuntary celibates) and their hatred of, and violence toward, women. As I mentioned earlier, that’s how stories start for me. Two intense crimes/issues that I can’t stop thinking about will suddenly come together. In this case, the characters are who I feared my grandsons would become if we had not intervened and they had grown up uneducated and uncared for.
L.J. Sellers writes the bestselling Detective Jackson mystery/thriller series—a four-time winner of the Readers Favorite Awards. She also pens the high-octane Agent Dallas series, The Extractor books, and provocative standalone thrillers. Her 23 novels have been highly praised by reviewers, and she’s one of the highest-rated crime fiction authors on Amazon.
L.J. resides in Eugene, Oregon where many of her novels are set, and she’s an award-winning journalist who earned the Grand Neal. When not plotting murders, she enjoys standup comedy, cycling, and zip-lining. She’s also been known to jump out of airplanes.