This week, I'm giving away two copies of Kate White's brand new novel of suspense, Eyes On You. After
two years, Robin Trainer has finally regained her career in TV. She's now the popular co-host of a nightly entertainment show, and the author of a hot new bestseller. But, someone wants to shake her up. Small, but nasty incidents are happening. Someone is watching, an adversary with a dark agenda who wants to hurt her and see her fall, and the clues point to someone she works with every day. Set in the cutthroat world of entertainment TV, White ratchets up the suspense with one twist after another.
Kate White discussed Eyes on You on an appearance on The Today Show the other day: http://www.today.com/
Would you like to know more? Here's a Q&A with Kate White.
What is you new stand alone novel, EYES ON YOU, about?
A: It’s a psychological suspense about a successful TV host, Robin Trainer, who suddenly realizes that someone close to her is trying to sabotage her career--and possibly harm her physically--but she has no clue who it is.
At the beginning, Robin keeps the threats she is receiving secret from all but a few confidantes. Why is she afraid to go public?
A: Robin’s boss has mistakenly assumed she’s been stepping on the toes of another TV anchor at the network and has told her to keep her ambition in check for the moment and just focus on the job. Ouch. She’s afraid that if she brings the problem to light, she’ll look like she’s making things all about her, just what she’s but warned not to do. Bosses sometimes put us in that kind of double bind: They want us to be aggressive when it comes to business, but they don’t want to deal with any drama.
Is any part of Robin Trainer’s life drawn from you own career experiences?
A: Yes, I definitely borrowed certain aspects—like the pressure and stress work can often generate, as well as some of the ugly office politics. I relished so many aspects of running a magazine but there were times when I definitely felt under the gun. As far as I know, however, a co-worker never plotted to murder me--though they may have briefly entertained the fantasy.
There is an undercurrent of friction between women in power rippling beneath the surface of this novel—do you think this unhealthy competition still exists? Have things changed since you’ve worked in the media?
A: There will always be women who have it out for other women at work. But in my experience, there were just as many guys who I needed to watch out for. Sometimes co-workers do bad things simply out of desperation—they need an idea and since they don’t have one, they steal yours. But once in a while you come across a true nut case, someone sociopathic. Your best bet with that type is to have as little contact as possible and talk mostly by email so you have a paper trail. On the flip side of all of this: 98 percent of my friends are people I used to work with. My career spawned many wonderful friendships.
The media world has changed since you started in the business, with the explosion of the Internet, social media, etc. Has this made the job of journalists and writers easier or harder?
A: Both. It’s so much easier to stay abreast of what’s going on in the world thanks to the Internet (and as an author I love the ability to check out a fact easily as I’m writing). But tough as it is for me to admit, I think the future for many magazines is dim. Newsstand sales are plummeting month by month. Gen Y and Gen Z get their info elsewhere. That’s a big part of why I wanted to leave that business. I no longer felt like I was at the center of what was happening.
Robin Trainer is a print journalist who has turned to television and found it more validating. You’ve worked largely in print, as editor in chief at Cosmopolitan and other major magazines, but also have a TV presence. Do you share Robin’s feelings?
A: From the time I was little and put out The Orville Street News, I’ve just always loved being a content provider with words. But at the same time, I understand how seductive TV is. When I was running different magazines and would go back to my hometown, the comment I heard most often was, “Hey, I saw you on the Today Show.” That kind of thing dazzled people. Though in the Cosmo years people did like to comment on the coverlines, too. I line like “Your Va-jay-jay: Fascinating New Facts about Your Lovely Lady Parts” seemed to grab their attention as much as the fact that I’d been on the tube.
You write both the Bailey Weggins mystery series and stand alone novels of suspense. Do you prefer working on one to the other? Do you approach them differently?
A: I love doing both. Bailey is very irreverent, more so than my other characters, so I really have to switch gears with her. As in any field, it’s nice to find ways to mix it up.
Many thrillers and suspense novels are written in the third person, but you chose to give EYES ON YOU a first person narration. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this choice?
A: My first two stand-alones were third person but I was anxious to do one in first person, which I do with the Bailey Weggins books. Both styles present challenges but I think I prefer first person. It takes me weeks and weeks to get the voice down but once I do, it makes it easier to inhabit the character.
Is writing fiction different from writing nonfiction for a woman’s magazine? Did you acquire any skills as a journalist that you apply to your fiction?
A: The two types of writing are so different. Just as you’ve heard people say, journalism is about telling and fiction writing is—ideally, at least--about showing. Years ago I read a novel by a popular columnist and as I struggled to get through the pages, I realized that there was just way too much telling I realized at that moment that if I ever tried to become a novelist, I’d have to really be careful of this. That said, I learned some great skills in my magazine career. The best was how to avoid writer’s block. When you are writing and editing for a weekly or monthly deadline, there’s no tolerance for being blocked. So you just push through and tell yourself that even if it’s not great, you go can back and polish it later.
You seem to have had it all—a great career in magazines, bestselling books, marriage, children. Is there anything you still hope to achieve?
A: That’s so nice of you to say, but any life is filled with sad things and turmoil at times. One of the lessons I’ve learned from my yoga teacher of many years is how important it is to try to stay in the present and not ruminate too much. That’s probably one of the biggest things I’d like to work on for the future. And to write a play one day!
What one thing might your readers be surprised to learn about you?
A: I watch scary movies with a sweater over my head and just peer at the screen through the weave. Pathetic for someone who writes crime novels!
What’s your next project?
A: I’m just finishing another stand-alone suspense novel, which will come out in 2015.
White, the former editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, is the New York Times bestselling author of the stand-alone novels Hush and The Sixes and the Bailey Weggins mystery series. White is also the author of popular career books for women including I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve. Her website is www.katewhite.com.
If you would like to win a copy of Eyes on You, email me at Lesa.Holstine@gmail.com. Your subject heading should read, "Win Eyes on You." Please include your name and mailing address. Entries from the U.S. and Canada only, please. The contest will end Thursday, July 3 at 6 PM CT.