Today we welcome debut author J.R. Wolfe, whose supsense thriller novel, Deliberate Harm, we were excited to publish last month. When we ran a book giveaway earlier this month of our July releases, Deliberate Harm was one of our giveaway participants’ most-requested titles.
We recently asked J.R. to sit down with us for an interview, in which she talked about where she gets her inspiration, the genius of Agatha Christie, and more.
Congratulations on publishing your debut novel. How would you describe Deliberate Harm? What genre does it fit into?
Deliberate Harm is a suspense novel that involves an Iraq war veteran’s search for her missing fiancée. The story is really about the choices we make in life and the consequences of those choices. Sometimes we make decisions for the right reasons, but the results are bad, and sometimes we have only bad and worse choices to make. Portia Marks, the main character in Deliberate Harm, made a difficult decision during the war that haunts her. And after the war, when she and her fiancée, Imma, are on a humanitarian mission in Zimbabwe, she makes another decision, albeit for good reasons, that results in Imma’s imprisonment and apparent murder. The question for Portia is whether she’ll wilt in her guilt or find the courage to face the past, so she can bloom in the future.
What inspired you to write this novel?
When I’m thinking about creating a story, there’s usually not a single source of inspiration. Sometimes ideas come to me from reading or watching the news, my own experiences, a friend’s experiences, or a combination of all those. In this instance, I was going through a difficult time with my father’s illness and reflecting on our relationship and choices I’d made. I had also read about a humanitarian worker who’d been arrested on false charges in a country in Africa, and her family was trying to get her released. There was also news about terrorist organizations, dirty bombs, and illegal arms trafficking. So I somehow put all that together, shook it up, and Deliberate Harm was the result.
How did you come up with the title for the book?
The characters in the book live in a dangerous world where violence isn’t about uncontrolled anger, but it’s a tool carefully and strategically used against enemies and perceived enemies. The harm that is caused is intentional and deliberate. So, calling the story Deliberate Harm seemed apt.
Who’s your favorite character in Deliberate Harm, and what do you like about her?
I like all the characters in the book and for different reasons, but if I have to pick a favorite, it would be Portia Marks. The story begins in a dark place for her, emotionally and physically, but she has an internal strength that pushes her forward and steels her for battle with the bad guys.
Your novel takes place in many different locations all over the world, including Chicago, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and London. Have you traveled to any of these places?
I’ve been to Chicago, but not to the other places.
What was your favorite part about writing Deliberate Harm?
I don’t think I could pinpoint one favorite part. I actually enjoy all aspects of writing fiction, from the creation of the story to plotting and characterization, research, writing, and even editing.
What was it like to have your first book published?
I’m so thankful to Ylva for giving me this opportunity. It feels like I’ve mountain-biked all the trails at Moab each day for over a month, and now I’m celebrating by drinking a beer with friends.
What did you learn from writing this book?
I learned that as far as I’ve come as a fiction writer, I’ll always be working to improve my craft. I also learned to admire even more the genius of storytellers like Alfred Hitchcock, Agatha Christie, Ken Follet, and Sarah Waters.
Are you working on a new novel? What can your readers expect next from you?
I am working on a new novel that is a suspense story. Readers can expect a thrill ride involving danger and love that will take them to different countries.
How can your readers stay in touch with you?
Feel free to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org any time!
Thanks for talking with us, J.R.
Buy Deliberate Harm now
Find out more about J.R. Wolfe