Wednesday, October 29, 2014

YA Horror/Thriller Spooktacular Day 21 - Ruthless + Giveaway

For today's interview I have another debut author for you, this one was actually born on Halloween though, so it's pretty fitting that she ended up writing YA horror!  I'm excited to present to you Carolyn Lee Adams

Peace, Love, Teen Fiction:  Easy question first, Ruthless in up to 10 words. 

Carolyn Lee Adams: One Tough Girl vs Serial Killer/Unforgiving Wilderness.

     PLTF:  Your book has a serial killer in it (which I love).  Was he inspired by any real-life ones? 

     CLA:  Growing up south of Seattle, I was deeply impacted by Gary Ridgway, aka, The Green River Killer. He dumped bodies less than a mile from my house. Years later, skeletal remains were found in the ditch alongside my horse’s pasture. Despite his ominous presence, I was still allowed to play in a vast tract of wilderness behind our house. I guess my mom was like, “Oh, the Green River Killer? He abducts prostitutes from the airport. My daughter will be fine. He doesn’t go for third graders.” I kid because I love. I’m very glad I got to run free as a child. And, you know, I didn’t wind up dead, so all’s well that ends well. In any case, Gary definitely warped my brain, as he did all the kids I went to school with. If you want to read more about Gary and me, including the possibly psychic dream I had about him, check out this blog post called, “A Story About a Nightmare.”

PLTF:  The setting for a novel like this is just as important as the characters, how did you pick where your killer would take Ruth? 
     CLA:  I spent four years working as a trailblazer and guide in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Some days I simply wandered around, often by myself, searching out potential new trails. Other days I’d cut or maintain trails. But most of my time was spent on horseback, leading riders through the wilderness. The Blue Ridge Mountains cover a lot of ground, from Georgia to Pennsylvania. I only explored a little corner of it, but I knew that area like the back of my hand. 

PLTF:  What does ruthless mean to you? (The book or the word itself. Or both.) 

     CLA:  The book works as a metaphor for me on a couple of levels. Firstly, I wrote it as I was going through a difficult time in my life. I’d been working on another project, The Book of Ezra, when Ruthless came along. I actually dreamt the first three chapters. Upon waking, I knew I had to write this story, even though it seemed like a very bad idea to abandon my WIP. Moreover, I didn’t think anything would come of Ruthless. I wrote it because I had to write it. I was almost to the end of the book when I realized, “Wait a minute, much like my protagonist, I too am struggling to overcome some very trying circumstances. It’s almost as if these two things could be related.” (I’m super quick on the uptake.) Looking at it from a wider angle, Ruthless also represents my “never give up” mentality. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life working for very little money either with horses or as a manual laborer or in other random jobs. It took a very long time, fourteen years, but I eventually made good on my dream to become a writer.   

PLTF:  What’s next? 

     CLA:  I still dream of finding a publisher for The Book of Ezra. It is a horror set in an 1890’s Upstate New York asylum and poorhouse. Very Edgar Allan Poe. It is big and ambitious and still needs revision, but it’s my favorite thing I’ve ever written. I also have a contemporary thriller more along the lines of Ruthless I’m working on, as well as rom-com that currently exists as a screenplay. (I spend my days writing novels and my nights working as a stand-up comedian, so writing comedy comes naturally to me.) Because I went to USC Film School and majored in screenwriting, I have screenplays and television pilots I’ve written. It’d be awesome to find some of those guys a home.

Lightning round
1.     On a scale of 1 to 10 how scary is your book?
     Holy cats. I have no idea! To me, it’s a 4, but some of my beta readers would definitely give it a 9.

2.     If you were a character in your book would you survive?


3.     Favorite scary movie? 
     The Exorcist. Now THAT’s a 10 on the scary meter.  

4.     Favorite Halloween candy?

     Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!

5.     What were you last year for Halloween or what do you plan on being this year? 

     Halloween is my birthday, so I go all out. My favorite costume ever was from when I was 12. I went as The Elephant Man. It was awesome. Had a bag over my head with one eye hole, the works. I may reprise that costume.

This or that
1.     Bundy or Ridgeway?
     Ridgway. Ultimately, I believe his low IQ protected him from detection. Bundy was brilliant but arrogant. Like a con artist, he wanted credit for his crimes and bought into the myth of his own infallibility. Ridgway was simplistic in the way a Great White shark is simplistic. That simplicity made him the more effective apex predator.

2.     Run or fight? - 

     Both. Also, hide. Also, cooperate. Also, everything. Whatever it takes.

3.     Black or white? 


4.     Mountains or the woods? 


5.     Tricks or treats? 

     Tricks. They’re more memorable.

Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people nicknamed her Ruthless.

When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup truck, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.

At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.

The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That's when the real battle begins. That's when Ruth must decide just how far she’ll go in order to survive.

Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.

OUT JULY 14, 2015

Find Ruthless on

Check out my book trailer for Ruthless here:

Carolyn Lee Adams is originally from the Seattle area, breeding ground of serial killers and those who write about them. She attended USC Film School and graduated with a BFA in screenwriting. RUTHLESS (Simon Pulse, Summer 2015) is her first novel. When she isn't exploring the dark side of human nature in her writing, you'll find her on stage as a stand-up comedian. Because those things go together.
Find Carolyn on

Carolyn has graciously donated one of her ARCs of RUTHLESS to one lucky winner here (Please note they probably won't be printed until December!).  The giveaway will be open INTERNATIONALLY and will run for two weeks.  All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Mary DeBorde

    Whoa, that's pretty creepy stuff - never heard of that serial killer before, but back in the 70s in Fla we had Ted Bundy in our neck of the woods :(

  2. Eeek! I think this sounds like an awesome book :D It is the first time I hear of it, and I cannot wait to read it now. <3 I would so love to win an ARC of it. Thank you both so so much for this amazing giveaway :) And I love the interview too; so much. <3

  3. That book seems really good! I'm kind of addicted to criminal investigation TB shows such as Criminal Minds, but I don't think I ever read a book about a serial killer. That would be a first.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. I love the synopsis for the book! It sounds like an episode from a crime show told from the victim's perspective.

  5. This is so coolll. !!!
    I wanna read it!; )

  6. This book sounds really cool! I love the cover and synopsis. so excited for this.