Leah Konen on her latest release, The Perfect Escape.
Author Interview + Author & Book Info + Author Pet Corner
The Perfect Escape by Leah Konen
The perfect girls’ weekend turns deadly in this twisty unforgettable thriller that is perfect for fans of Shari Lapena and Riley Sager.
A girls’ weekend to die for.
New friends Sam, Margaret and Diana are thrilled to be getting out of the city for a girls’ weekend–they’ve bonded over their messy divorces, and every mile on the odometer feels like another step towards putting their exes in the past. But when car trouble halfway into their trip strands them in the most unlikely of mountain towns, they come face-to-face with the hurts and betrayals they were so desperate to leave behind.
When Diana doesn’t return home after a night out, Sam and Margaret’s search for her reveals just how little they know about their friend. As eerie coincidences and secrets begin to pile up, and an ex-boyfriend arrives in the tiny town, the women realize that their detour may not have been a mistake…and that someone wants to guarantee that they never make it out.
To purchase The Perfect Escape, click on any of the following links: Bookshop.org, Amazon, Barnes & Noble & IndieBound
“The Perfect Escape is the type of captivating, masterfully-constructed thriller you’ll consume in a breathless rush—and then flip right back to the beginning to figure out how the author pulled it all off. Konen keeps the shocking twists coming while wringing nail-biting tension out of even the smallest moments. I couldn’t put it down!”
— Layne Fargo, author of They Never Learn
Read my review of The Perfect Escape by clicking the link here
The Interview with Leah Konen
What drew you to writing about female friendships for The Perfect Escape?
I’ve always been fascinated by female friendships, and I am so glad that more and more thrillers are exploring them, instead of primarily focusing on marital relationships. I think friendships among women can be particularly intimate and incredible—but also fraught. I think the other side of bonding with someone so deeply is that that person can also hurt you as well.
While the friendships in The Perfect Escape are very different from my own friendships with other women, I was definitely inspired by the ins and outs of some of my closest relationships.
Sam, Margaret, and Diana are distinct characters. Are any of them closer in personality to you? Or have certain aspects of you? Or do they spring solely from your imagination and/or people you know?
I generally try to keep my characters as separate from me as possible, but there was a notable exception during this book.
Shortly after I started writing, I became pregnant and dealt with a very difficult experience learning that my child may have a rare and dangerous chromosomal condition from noninvasive prenatal testing, which has been recently explored in the New York Times (click the link here to read with a NYTimes account). While I eventually learned that the test was wrong, the trauma of receiving some very scary results about my baby’s future really inspired me to channel that anxiety and fear into my writing, and it was the basis for Margaret’s backstory, although her experience diverged from mine as I wrote. I’m really hoping that her backstory can shed some light on pregnancy trauma and destigmatize some of these experiences.
The Perfect Escape is filled with twists and turns, are you an outliner? Or do you like to write your first draft without a detailed plan and see where it takes you? Or maybe somewhere in between?
Definitely an outliner! I love the Save the Cat method, and I am actually doing a series on my TikTok about each beat of this classic screenwriting outline because I think it is that helpful for writers. I’m also a big fan of the book Anatomy of Story for helping figure out pacing, motivation and plot. All that said, the biggest twists and turns of my thrillers usually find a way to evade the outline process. I know mostly where I’m going but a lot of the biggest reveals come to me as I write or even in the rewriting and revising process.
Tell us about Catskill, New York:
Catskill is a lovely small town about twenty minutes north of where I live part-time in Saugerties, NY. My husband and I happened upon it one day when looking for a new local brewery. We happened to show up the very day the brewery was having a grand opening and ribbon cutting with the whole town council involved! (Click here to view the video on Instagram)
That’s exactly the sort of magical town that Catskill is, and I highly recommend visiting the wonderful Catskill region in the Hudson Valley if you ever get a chance.
In addition to adult suspense, you also write Young Adult, including rom-coms. How do you go back and forth between the two age groups and different genres?
So I actually don’t go back and forth anymore. Now I’m fully focused on my thrillers. However, I adored my years writing YA, and I still love interacting with the many readers all over the world that continue to read my books. I actually don’t think there is a huge difference between writing for teens and adults, at least as far as the process goes, but I did have to make some major adjustments the first time I wrote a thriller. It definitely required a lot more revising and restructuring than my YA books did!
What are you working on now?
I am so thrilled to be finishing up edits on a thriller set during a mother’s first months post-partum.
Though the title isn’t set yet, my third thriller follows new-mother Janie, who tries to put the pieces of her life back together when her partner disappears mysteriously in the middle of the night, leaving her alone to care for her seven-week-old daughter.
Final words of wisdom for aspiring writers:
Write, write, write!
There is nothing more beneficial to your work than doing those two things. And if a project isn’t working, it’s okay to move on to another. My first YA book was never published, and I had five YA books under my belt before I put out my first thriller and sold my first book at auction, inked my first film rights. There are always more places to go within your own imagination and life experience. Just keep going!
Author Pet Corner!
Farley is a dapper scruffy gentleman who is ten or eleven years old (he was a rescue so we don’t know for sure).
He is my most reliable coworker and listens patiently to every one of my plot questions.
Here he is enjoying some hygge vibes by the fire and curled up in my toddler’s chair.
Author Leah Konen
Leah Konen is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and English literature. She is the author of the forthcoming thriller, The Perfect Escape.
Her debut thriller, All the Broken People was a Rolling Stone, Marie Claire, She Reads and Charlotte Observer best summer book pick.
She’s also the author of several young adult novels, including “Love and Other Train Wrecks” and “The Romantics.”
She lives in Brooklyn and Saugerties, NY, with her husband, their daughter, Eleanor, and their dog, Farley.
To learn more about Leah, click on her name, photo, or any of the following links: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & Goodreads
Elena Taylor is the author of All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio book format at all your favorite bookstores and on-line retailers.
For more information on All We Buried, click on the link here to visit the home page.
Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator 2020
Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery 2020