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Short Fiction Writer Turned Author

From Short Fiction to First Novel

I’m thrilled to introduce you all to short fiction writer and debut author Tara Laskowski!

(Love those short story writers? Don’t miss my interview with debut author & short story writer Eric J. Guignard. To read the post, click the link here.)

The Author

Short Fiction Writer
Tara Laskowski

TARA LASKOWSKI is the award-winning author of two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, which was named a Best Book of 2017 by The Guardian.

Her debut novel One Night Gone will be published in October 2019 by Graydon House Books.

She is the editor of the online flash fiction journal SmokeLong Quarterly, an Agatha Award winner, and a member of Sisters in Crime. A graduate of Susquehanna University and George Mason University, Tara grew up in Pennsylvania and lives in Virginia.

To learn more about Tara, click her photo, name, or any of the following links: Facebook, Twitter,


The Book

Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach, a wealthy beach town, during the off-season, which seems like the perfect chance to regroup and start fresh after a messy divorce.

But when she becomes drawn into the story of a teenage girl who disappeared from town thirty years before, she begins to realize that Opal Beach isn’t as idyllic as it seems.

To Buy the Book, click on the link here for multiple locations/formats.

“I’ve always been more of a short fiction writer.”

The Interview

Describe your publishing journey:

I’ve always been more of a short fiction writer. I am the editor of the flash fiction journal SmokeLong Quarterly, and I have published two collections of short stories. I never actually thought I’d be able to write a novel that anyone would want to read, to be honest! But I also like a challenge (it’s the competitive Scorpio inside of me).

It took me six years to write my first novel, which, after shopping around to agents, I realized that there were several problems I wasn’t sure how to fix. It was too big of a book for me to tackle at that point in my career. I shelved it and wrote another novel that also never got any traction.

Then my ‘aha’ moment really came when an agent friend asked me what I like to read (you can read more about that career-changing moment by clicking the link here), and I realized that what I should be writing is domestic suspense, since that’s what I LOVE.

After that, things went pretty quickly. I wrote the draft in a little over a year, found my wonderful agent Michelle Richter a few months after that, and she was able to find me the perfect editor and publisher for this book. I feel grateful every day!

“I realized that what I should be writing is domestic suspense …”

What inspired you to write this novel?

I was born on Halloween, and creepy is my thing. So I knew I wanted to write something that would spook people, but not in the traditional run-down haunted house in the middle of the woods kind of way.

My husband’s parents have a beach house in North Carolina, and we all went there for Thanksgiving one year. It was so lovely and also a bit eerie to be in a beach town during the off season, and that’s really what sparked the idea for this book.

“… creepy is my thing.”

I also really like houses, and the energy of houses, and I wanted to have a spooky house that doesn’t really appear, from the outside, to be spooky at all.

A lavish beach house felt like the right match there–a lavish beach house in the off season of a tourist town. Nothing spookier than the sound of wintery ocean wind beating against the windows in a deserted town, right?

Storm on a deserted beach . . .

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on a proposal for a second book, another standalone suspense novel. I’m superstitious about saying too much about it right now, but it’s looking like I’ll be exploring the creepy side of suburbia this time–moms and their competitive natures. Please keep all your fingers and toes crossed that all goes well!

Fingers and toes crossed! So excited for you on this new writing journey – from short fiction to novels is a big leap! I’m looking forward to finding out how it all goes!

Header Photo by ArtTower on Pixabay. Click the link here for more information.

Deserted beach photo by ARTsbyXD on Pixabay. Click the link here for more information.

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

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