It’s December 19th and that means Bad Call is out now! I reviewed this wonderful book a few weeks ago after receiving a copy from NetGalley, and that review was one of my most viewed blog posts ever! (I’ll leave the link for the review down below if you’re interested in my thoughts!)
After publishing the review I actually received an email from the author, Stephen Wallenfels, thanking me for my review and suggesting an interview for a future post. I was surprised and honored that he took the time to reach out to me, and so I sent him a few questions! So here we are, my first ever author interview for Belle’s Book Blog!
It was supposed to be epic.
During a late-night poker game, tennis teammates Colin, Ceo, Grahame, and Rhody make a pact to go on a camping trip in Yosemite National Park. And poker vows can’t be broken.
So the first sign that they should ditch the plan is when Rhody backs out. The next is when Ceo replaces him with Ellie, a girl Grahame and Colin have never even heard of. And then there’s the forest fire at their intended campsite.
But instead of bailing, they decide to take the treacherous Snow Creek Falls Trail to the top of Yosemite Valley. From there, the bad decisions really pile up.
A freak storm is threatening snow, their Craigslist tent is a piece of junk, and Grahame is pretty sure there’s a bear on the prowl. On top of that, the guys have some serious baggage (and that’s not including the ridiculously heavy ax that Grahame insisted on packing) and Ellie can’t figure out what their deal is.
And then one of them doesn’t make it back to the tent.
Desperate to survive while piecing together what happened, the remaining hikers must decide who to trust in this riveting, witty, and truly unforgettable psychological thriller that reveals how one small mistake can have chilling consequences.
Tonkin About Books: Where did you come up with the idea for Bad Call?
Stephen Wallenfels: Without giving too much away for those that haven’t read the book, let’s just say that I had a similar experience in college. I was camping with three other friends and I had a close encounter [with] an ax. I always wondered what would have happened if I didn’t survive that encounter. How would my friends have reacted? Would friendships and trust begin to unravel under the stress? I explored that question and wrote a book.
TAB: In this book the characters all have such complex emotions and interactions. How did you get into the mindset of such intricate characters?
SW: Two key points here: 1) It starts with the foundational belief that characters are the engine that carries your book. You place them above plot, setting and action. When you make them the priority, they are more willing to reveal their deep dark secrets. Once that happens, then you can put them in all sorts of situations and readers can relate on an emotional level. I know that sounds a little bit crazy, but writers have to be a little bit crazy to do what we do. 2) I believe that characters are defined by the details they notice and how they react to those details. If two characters go for a walk in a city park, and one notices the flower beds while the other focuses on someone not cleaning up after their dog, those details reveal a lot about who they are without telling the reader.
TAB: Which of your characters do you feel you relate to the most and why?
SW: Hmmm…I relate to Colin the most because he plays tennis and loves Good Will Hunting (I’ve probably read that screenplay twenty times), and yes…I happen to like John Cusack. Gross Pointe Blank hits all my movie buttons. But I can relate to all my characters to some degree because as it is with all writers and the characters they create—if you check their characters’ DNA you will find little bits of the author in all of them.
TAB: I saw that you have a third novel coming out next year with Disney-Hyperion titled Tanum Creek Bridge. What information can you give me about this upcoming release? Will it be anything like Bad Call?
SW: There isn’t a whole lot I can give away other than the title has been changed to DEADFALL and the genre is YA survival thriller. It’s about twin brothers on the run that encounter a dead deer in the road and that changes everything. I’m hoping it will come out in 2018, but if not, then 2019 for sure.
TAB: What tips can you give to any hopeful writers out there who wish to publish their own book one day?
SW: To all those aspiring writers out there, here are my three big tips. 1) Read a lot, and read all kinds of genres – including screenplays. 2) Study the craft. Read books on writing (two of my favorites are On Writing by Stephen King, and Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing (one of my favorite authors!). 3) Write something every day and don’t let anyone tell you (including your shoulder angels) that you are wasting your time. Squeeze something out. Stories are told one word at a time.
Again, a huge thank you to Disney-Hyperion, NetGalley, and Stephen Wallenfels for the opportunity to read and review this book, as well as host my first author interview! Bad Call is out now, everywhere!
Read my review here!
Other Novels by Stephen Wallenfels