Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Q&A with best-selling author Riley Sager

Posted by: Angela Campbell
I love reading different genres, but I have to admit, thrillers are amongst my favorite. Last year, everyone was buzzing about the book "Final Girls" by Riley Sager, so I finally read it and LOVED it. I recently finished Mr. Sager's second book, "The Last Time I Lied," and I think I have a new favorite author. I fangirled and reached out to Riley and asked if he'd participate in a Q&A here at Here Be Magic, and he graciously agreed. If you haven't read either "Final Girls" or "The Last Time I Lied," do yourself a favor and go buy them now, especially if you love psychological thrillers. — Angela

Synopsis for "The Last Time I Lied":
In the latest thriller from the bestselling author of Final Girls, a young woman returns to her childhood summer camp to uncover the truth about a tragedy that happened there fifteen years ago. 
Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. But the games ended the night Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin into the darkness. The last she—or anyone—saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.
Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings—massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. When the paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale, she implores Emma to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor. Seeing an opportunity to find out what really happened to her friends all those years ago, Emma agrees. 
Familiar faces, unchanged cabins, and the same dark lake haunt Nightingale, even though the camp is opening its doors for the first time since the disappearances. Emma is even assigned to the same cabin she slept in as a teenager, but soon discovers a security camera—the only one on the property--pointed directly at its door. Then cryptic clues that Vivian left behind about the camp's twisted origins begin surfacing. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing mysterious threats in the present. And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale and what really happened to those girls, the more she realizes that closure could come at a deadly price.

Q&A with Riley Sager

Q: Thank you so much for agreeing to be our guest today. I read your book “Final Girls” last year and loved it, but I was blown away by “The Last Time I Lied.” Those twists! Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

Because I'm a huge movie lover, I get a lot if inspiration from classic films. The idea for FINAL GIRLS, for example, came to me while watching "Halloween." And THE LAST TIME I LIED was my updated take on "Picnic at Hanging Rock." I like taking something that might be familiar to readers and then putting my own spin on it.

Q: As a writer, are you a plotter or a pantser?

I'm both, which isn't as strange as it sounds. I spend a lot of time thinking, plotting and outlining, just to get a grasp on the book before I start the actual writing process. What invariably happens, though, is that I get to the halfway point of the book and realize the outline isn't working the way I envisioned it. That's when writing by the seat of my pants takes over. Not the best way to write, I admit, but so far it works for me.

Q: You received a great endorsement from Stephen King for “Final Girls.” As a fan, how did that make you feel? What’s your favorite Stephen King story?

I'm not ashamed to say that when I first saw what he wrote about FINAL GIRLS, I had to go off and be alone for a few minutes to have a good cry. It was so overwhelming to have his stamp of approval. He's just the most talented, generous, diabolically imaginative writer working today. As for picking a favorite, I might have to go with MISERY or THE GREEN MILE.

Q: You mentioned on Goodreads that “Final Girls” has been optioned by Universal to become a movie, and “The Last Time I Lied” has been optioned to become a limited TV series by Amazon Studios. It takes a lot for a book to actually make it from book to screen. As a novelist, do you have any worries about what Hollywood might do to your original ideas? Any updates on either project?

I actually don't have any worries, because I understand that a book and a movie are two very different beasts. If changes have to be made in order to make a good film or TV series, then so be it. Other than being a fan, I have limited knowledge about what it takes to adapt something for the screen, so I'll gladly leave it to the experts. The only update I can give is that both are still in the development phase. Translation: It could be a while until they see the light of day.

Q: Any advice for aspiring writers?

There's so much advice out there now — some of it valuable, some of it nonsense — that I'm reluctant to add to it. However, I will say that aspiring authors should write a lot, read a lot, have a thick skin, be nice to everyone and never trash another author in public. Some of us have very good memories!

Q: Fun question time: Do you believe in ghosts?

Not really. Yet the idea of something being haunted terrifies me. So maybe I do? Let's go with this answer: I'll believe in ghosts if I see one, but I never, ever want to see one.

Q: If you could time travel, where would you go?

So many places, as long as I could safely return to present day. I'd love to see Hollywood in the fifties, Manhattan in the forties and Paris in the twenties.

Q: Finally and most important, when can readers expect your next book?

My next book, LOCK EVERY DOOR, is tentatively scheduled for July 2019. It's about a woman hired as an apartment sitter in a fancy Manhattan building that has more than a few skeletons in its closets, figuratively and possibly literally.

You can learn more about Riley Sager and his books at

Angela Campbell is the author of the psychic detectives series from Harper Impulse. Learn more about her and her books at

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