Q&A With Darby Kane
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Q&A With Darby Kane
Today I have the honor of doing a Q&A with author and former trial attorney, HelenKay Dimon who also writes under the pseudonym of Darby Kane. Under the Darby Kane name she writes domestic suspense thrillers and under HelenKay, she writes romance. Under her Darby name her novels are The Last Invitation, Pretty Little Wife, The Replacement Wife, & coming out on December 5th is The Engagement Party. Under her HelenKay Dimon name her novel Moorewood Family Rules is out now.
Q: So Darby, would it be fair to say that your time as a trial attorney gave you some or a lot of inspiration for your domestic suspense thriller books?
A: Yes. I mostly handled contested divorce cases, specifically, contested custody cases. As you might guess, people are not at their best during divorce litigation. You see how they handle stress and the things they say and do to each other. All of that helps me now when I’m thinking about who my characters are and how they might react in a dangerous situation. But I promise my books are fiction!
Q: Was your transition from a trial attorney to an author easy or hard? When did you realize that being an author was your calling?
A: The transition was…bumpy. There’s more job security and better pay being an attorney, but there’s also a lot of stress. Author stress is different. Definitely present, but it’s not the same type of pressure as worrying you will mess up a case and a parent might lose custody of their kids. I had to work on time management when I became a full-time writer. Having limited time to write while I was still an attorney meant I couldn’t waste time. Boy, did I waste time when I started writing. I think I finally wrestled that under control, but some days I wish someone would come to the house and write the book for me. That sounds great. I do think writing is my calling. I think I realized that after I wrote my first book, though I admit some days I wonder if I’d be happier working in retail. I have good days and bad days. At some point during every book I think, “how did I ever write one of these before” and “this book really stinks” so it’s a constant battle against self-defeating white noise, but I love it and can’t imagine doing anything else.
Q: Pretty Little Wife is being developed into a television series by Amazon studios & Gabrielle Union is set to star as well as being an executive producer. Are you also an executive producer and writer on the series? I think it’s important and smart that now authors have more say on what Hollywood can and cannot do with their work.
A: I just love seeing that in writing. I am a producer and consultant on the television series. The production team originally asked if I wanted to write the screenplay, and I said no. There are screenwriting experts out there, and the producers found them. I do think the series will look different from the book. Television is a different medium and eight episodes give the writers a lot of breathing room to tackle new ideas and expand on some issues from the book. But, at heart, the book and the television series share the same DNA, and I’m excited to see it.
Q: Is Amazon doing any more adaptations of your work, or are other streaming networks doing series and
movies based on your work?
A: I can’t say much yet, but The Replacement Wife (written as Darby Kane) and Moorewood Family Rules (written as HelenKay Dimon) also have been
optioned for television. I’ll spill more details as soon as I can.
Q: Can you tell the readers of the blog and I, a little bit about your latest releases Moorewood Family Rules, & The Engagement Party which is coming
out on December 5th?
A: The books are two sides of my writing personality. Moorewood Family Rules is about a family of con artists who won’t stop scamming people. The money handler of the family, Jillian, went to prison with the understanding that she would take the fall and they would all go legitimate. They didn’t and now she’s out and…OH! It’s fun and lighter in tone with a lot of family hijinks and a bit of mystery and a bit of romance with a very stubborn (but adorable) bodyguard.
The Engagement Party is my next thriller. A group of former college friends get together on a secluded island off the coast of Maine to celebrate an upcoming wedding. They’re immediately faced with a dead body and are forced to confront the secrets and lies about one of their own who didn’t survive graduation weekend twelve years earlier. If you like moody revenge thrillers this is for you.
Q: What is your advice to new and aspiring authors on writing great domestic suspense like you do?
A: Thank you so much. That is lovely to hear. I think there are a few things that help me. First, I write every book as if it will be the only one I’m “allowed” to write. That forces me to take risks and not “save” anything for later books.
Second, before I start writing a book I come up with a pitch statement and make sure it includes something about the book that makes it special. For example, for Pretty Little Wife I started out thinking about a book where a husband is murdered, and the wife is accused. That didn’t sound very exciting to me, and so many authors had done it before and done it well, so it wasn’t special in any way. I re-thought the book and changed it to a whydunit (instead of a whodunit) and the pitch I wrote changed to: a woman kills her husband and plants his body right there to be discovered…then it disappears. The second version sounded much more exciting to me.
Third, to get a sense of pacing, watch a bunch of mystery series on television. If possible, find a bunch of British crime series and watch those. The beats, the hooks, the misdirects – all those things you want in a thriller and are easier to pick up on and analyze in television.
Finally, understand that the career never really gets easier, writing books actually gets harder (yeah, I know that one stings), and keep plowing forward. Perseverance and a willingness to pivot will get you far.
Q: If you deal with writer’s block, how do you best deal with it?
A: I end every day by writing out the dialogue – nothing else – for the next scene. That way when I sit down I never sit down to an empty page. At least I know where I thought the story should go the day before and then I edit from there. The other thing that works for me is to revise everything I’ve written so far in the book. That puts it all in my head and lets me write forward.
Q: If you’re writing a new novel now, can you reveal any details?
A: Yes! I’m writing a thriller that will come out in December 2024. I write one thriller a year, and this is the next one. It’s totally unhinged. I think of it this way: She stalked him. She married him. Now she’s going to destroy him.
If you thought Lila in Pretty Little Wife was messy – just wait until you meet Addison Dougherty.