A: Echo is a spiky, wrathful story, no doubt about it. It is a novel born in anger. Right from the opening paragraph, you’d better watch your back.
A: At the time I was writing it, the newspapers were full of idiot legislators sharing their warped views of women and sexuality. Remember the fool who said it was impossible for a woman to get pregnant through rape? Where I lived at the time, a local business man had just pleaded guilty to criminal sexual contact with two young girls, and I was shocked to hear people using the teenaged Jezebel defense on his behalf. One of the things I wanted to do in Echo was show predatory male entitlement as experienced from a woman’s point of view.
Q: Anything else going on there?
A: I also wanted to take the conventions of revenge stories and turn them inside-out. You watch a movie like Death Wish — the movie, not the novel — and you see a kind of two-step where the audience is titillated by the crime and then absolved of its titillation by watching the criminal get killed in the goriest way possible. I wanted to turn that setup on its ear.
Q: Was the novel hard to write?
A: No, it was a very quick, intense job — almost akin to demonic possession. The emotional highs and lows were breathtaking. Theresa’s voice and presence were clear and distinct right from the beginning. The ending was the only truly hard part.
A: When my agent read Echo in manuscript, the first two things she said were “This is great,” and “Where did this come from?” Some people have praised it to the skies. A writer friend called it “amazing,” but he goes in for rough stuff in his own books. One woman, a very good writer herself, read it but refuses to talk about it. So the reactions have been extreme — more so than for anything else I’ve written to date. Any author wants to see how people will respond to a book, but in this case I’m very, very curious.