We’re thrilled to welcome back Kimberly Belle into the Debutante Ball guest chair this week! Belle’s latest novel, The Marriage Lie, hit shelves just last week, and is already earning rave reviews!
Iris and Will’s marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane.
Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, pulling back layer after layer of deception to discover her marriage was far from solid.
I love this phenomenal review from Boolkist: “Belle harnesses her heroine’s grief, disbelief, anger, and love to fuel this domestic thriller, splicing in modern technology for a ripped-from-the-headlines feel. Belle’s taut pacing drives the story forward, and the relatability of the Griffiths will hit readers close to home. With plot twists around every corner, Belle isn’t afraid to keep her readers guessing until the very last page of this heart-pounding story of one woman’s desperate search for answers.” Wow!
Want to win a free copy? enter to win a signed hardcover by retweeting on twitter:
— The Debutante Ball (@DebutanteBall) January 7, 2017
Or, you can also enter by sharing the post on Facebook. We will select and contact the very lucky winner on Friday, January 13th at noon (US Only).
Now, onto the interview!
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
My daughter is currently in the midst of applying to colleges, and to the kinds of programs that require headshots and auditions. This process is, to put it mildly, stressful for everyone involved, and it doesn’t come cheap. Hotels, airline tickets, the works. But what’s making me happy is watching her come in to her own during this process and develop the self-confidence to walk into any room, pluck any microphone from the stand, and belt out a song in spectacular, pitch-perfect tune. My husband and I always joked that our son was the practice child, the laid-back kid who prepared us for his younger sister, the drama queen. But now I see her stubbornness came with a purpose, for this path she’s chosen for herself. As sad as I’ll be to see her go off to college, I know she’ll be fabulous wherever she lands.
Where do you love to be?
Anyone who follows me on social media knows I’m more than a little obsessed with all things Dutch. Not just because my husband was born in Holland and half my family lives there. Not just because strolling Amsterdam’s streets and canals feels like walking through a postcard. Not just because of the food and the shopping and the flowers and the museums, all of which are world class. Because of all those things and more.
I moved to Amsterdam a zillion years ago, when I was young and in love and life was an adventure, before there were babies and mortgages and sixty-hour workweeks. Maybe it’s nostalgia for that easier time, but that sense of freedom is what sticks with me the most when I think of that place, the feeling that everything and anything is possible there. You want to play your flute and pass out tulips on the street corner? Cool. Eat salted licorice and French fries with mayonnaise? Yum. Ride your bike naked through the rain? Um, you might be a little cold, but go for it. The Dutch are a little weird, a lot crazy, and always authentic, and even though we haven’t lived there for fourteen years, Amsterdam will always feel like home.
The road to publication is twisty at best–tell us about some of your twists.
I made my first attempt at writing a book eight years ago, and like most first novels, it wasn’t pretty. The characters were clichéd, the conflict was flat, the dialogue was stilted. If there was a story there, it was buried under all the wrong words—words even a newbie like me could tell were complete crap. When I was done, I closed the file, shoved it in a box under my bed, and chalked the effort up as a learning experience. Every writer has a practice book, right?
I took everything I’d learned and wrote another novel, The Last Breath. I knew by chapter three that this was the book that would land me an agent, but I also hated the odds of the slush pile. I supplemented my query efforts with in-person pitch sessions at conferences, which are exactly as terrifying as they seem. But I stuttered my way through them, and the very first agent I pitched was the one I eventually signed with, so I must have done something right. She sold The Last Breath in a two-book deal one year later, and that second book? I pulled that practice novel out from under my bed, rewrote it, and published it as The Ones We Trust.
What is the best perk of your job?
I adore working from home, and how it means I get to sit around in my yoga pants all day. I’m constantly standing on my head or folding myself into a pretzel in order to think through a scene. For me it’s more than getting up and out of my chair; it’s about getting grounded, about letting the story go long enough to let my subconscious take over. Especially when I’m stuck, I’ve found that as soon as I let go of the story and do something physical, my plot knots unwind and I figure out how to move forward. The world looks very different upside down, and so does my story.
What’s your next big thing? (new book, new project, etc.)
My next story is called MISTAKEN, and it’s about the disappearance of eight-year old Ethan, who vanishes from a cabin in the North Georgia mountains while on an overnight trip with his second-grade class. At first, police assume his disappearance is an abduction, until another mother receives a mysterious call demanding ransom for her son, a little boy who’s safe and accounted for. Both mothers are thrust in a race to save Ethan, where the greatest dangers turn out to be not in the threats of an anonymous stranger, but the everyday smiles of people closer to home.
Thank you, Kimberly, for joining us today! It’s an honor to have you.
Kimberly Belle is the author of three novels: The Last Breath, The Ones We Trust, and The Marriage Lie (coming January 2017). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Agnes Scott College and has worked in marketing and fundraising for various nonprofits, both at home and abroad. She divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.
You can follow Belle on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or find her on her website: