Lisa Jackson

Lisa Jackson

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
July 20, 2006

Q.    How did you come about the idea to write SHIVER?

A.    SHIVER came to me while I was thinking about reintroducing the character of Detective Reuben Diego Montoya of the fictitious New Orleans Department. He’s been an extremely popular character. I wanted to return to New Orleans and I came up with the idea of an abandoned mental hospital where atrocities had been committed. Then I read something about the Seven Deadly Sins and the Opposing Virtues and the plot began to form. I bounced the idea off my editor and we worked on the story line.

Q.    How did you come about the title?

A.    Oh, SHIVER was my editor, John Scognamiglio’s brain child. He’s a master at titles and has also come up with the title for the sequel to SHIVER which is ABSOLUTE FEAR.

Q.   What was Courtney LaBelle’s connection with Our Lady’s of Virtues Mental Hospital?

A.    I believe Courtney was connected because both her parents worked at the hospital when it was operational, at the same time that the heroine, Abby Chastain’s mother, Faith, was a patient.

Q.    How did you come about Montoya’s character?

A.    Montoya was developed a while back. He first appeared as a junior detective to Rick Bentz in HOT BLOODED. He showed up again in COLD BLOODED and then in THE NIGHT BEFORE. During the course of the three books he grew up a bit, gathered some wisdom and some personal trauma. I thought the plot line of SHIVER and the character of Abby Chastain, as the heroine, were perfect for him.

Q.    How did you come about Abby’s character?

A.    Abby was fun to write. She came to me over time, a woman struggling through a very public and painful divorce, a person who hadn’t come to terms with her mother’s mysterious death, and an individual who faced the fact that she might have inherited her mother’s mental disease. Abby’s a strong, vibrant woman who has to battle a lot of personal problems and she’s trying to do it alone. The last thing she wants is a man in her life. Until she meets Montoya.

Q.    Of all the books you have written, which is your favorite?

A.    Oh, SHIVER, hands down. This book has it all—it’s creepy, filled with suspense, and peppered with a ton of interesting characters. I enjoyed writing about the hero, heroine, ex-husband, victims and even the real estate agent. Of course, I love writing about New Orleans. Both SHIVER and ABSOLUTE FEAR are set in pre-Katrina New Orleans. After ABSOLUTE FEAR, I’ll return to that wonderful city and deal with the horror of the storm and its devastating aftermath.

Q.    Are you currently working on another novel?

A.    Yes, the sequel to SHIVER which, as I’ve said, is titled ABSOLUTE FEAR. Though Montoya is not the hero, he’s in the cast of characters and important to the plot. Also, the readers will get to revisit Our Lady Of Virtues Mental Hospital.

Q.    Would you give the readers a brief synopsis of your next book?

A.    In ABSOLUTE FEAR heroine, Eve Renner, has witnessed a horrible murder. In her mind’s eye, she saw the hero, Cole Dennis, at the crime scene. The police have used her to try and convict Cole of the offense. He’s on the run, trying to save his life and name, while the real killer, once again connected to Our Lady Of Virtues, is starting another diabolical killing spree.

Q.    How did you come up with the idea for the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Opposing Virtues?

A.   I was just researching the sins one day on the Internet and found out about the virtues. I kept researching as the idea for SHIVER began to form in my head. I thought it was a fun, interesting twist.

Q.    What message would you like readers to receive from reading SHIVER?

A.    Well, I’m not certain I write to give my readers a message. I write for entertainment purposes. However, I do believe in strong women and men and I think the fact that Abby wouldn’t let go, wouldn’t believe the lies about her mother, had to know the truth is important. We all need to live our lives facing the truth no matter how painful it might be.