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Jason Pinter is the bestselling author of Hide Away, the first Rachel Marin novel.
Hide Away is a page-turning thriller about a vigilante who’s desperate to protect her secrets—and bring a killer to justice. Jason is also the author of five novels in his Henry Parker thriller series and the standalone novel The Castle, which have over one million copies in print worldwide and have been published in over a dozen countries, the Middle Grade adventure novel Zeke Bartholomew: SuperSpy, and the children’s picture book Miracle.
He is the Founder and Publisher of Polis Books, and was named one of Publisher Weekly’s inaugural Star Watch honorees, which “recognizes young publishing professionals who have distinguished themselves as future leaders of the industry.” He has written for The New Republic, Entrepreneur, Esquire, and The Daily Beast, and been featured in Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Mystery Scene and many other publications. He lives in Hoboken, NJ with his wife and two daughters.
Let’s get to know Jason with the below Q&A where he talks favorite novels, story inspirations, what he likes best about writing thrillers and much more!
What are some of your favorite novels?
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, On Beauty by Zadie Smith, The Stand by Stephen King.
When did you know you wanted to become an author?
I was an enormous reader from an early age—I was that kid with a flashlight under the covers reading at 2am—and I started writing short stories of my own when I was around nine or ten. The stories were, of course, terrible, and were always pale imitations of what I was reading. But it got me putting pen to paper. I wrote my first novel when I was in college—an atrocious coming-of-age story that will never see the light of day. I think every writer has at least one “drawer” novel that isn’t all that good, but is hugely important in that It proves you can start a book and finish it.
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
They tend to come from a place that has some sort of emotional resonance to me. With my Henry Parker series, I wrote about a character who was in his early-mid 20’s (as I was at the time), with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder (as I did at the time). Rachel Marin crystallized for me after we had our first daughter. Many protagonists in mysteries and thrillers tend to be loners—I wanted to write a character that couldn’t be a loner. She had two children who depended on her. I felt so many emotions when we had our first daughter, and I felt a character who had those, and even more because of the unique mother/daughter bond, could be really interesting.
What do you like best about writing thrillers?
I love the marriage of plot and character. Stories that grip you from the first page and keep you on your toes, but populated by characters who are relatable and interesting, so that you have a true emotional stake in the outcome.
So Hide Away is the first in the series – do you already have an idea of where the story will go in the next book?
I actually just finished the second book, so yes! I knew I wanted to expand the world I started in Hide Away, deepening our relationships with the characters while also adding new ones to the fold, new wrinkles and twists, and new perspectives on things we THOUGHT we knew. I think readers will love it.
What do you think are the key elements that are required in a well-crafted story?
A plot that both moves and is unpredictable, knowing how much detail you need to set a scene and make it feel three-dimensional, but also when to keep your foot on the gas. But I don’t think any of that works without characters people care about. If you don’t care about the characters, you probably won’t care about what happens to them. And the characters don’t have to be “likable” —they just have to be interesting.
What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR (to be read) list?
I’m currently reading and loving Long Bright River by Liz Moore, which is utterly fantastic. To me, this book along with Mystic River, are the pinnacle of what crime novels can do. They combine incredible plots with full-blooded characters, social commentary, and timely themes into a whole package that’s just utterly compelling. I tend to read 3-4 books at once, so I’m also reading Midnight in Chernobyl by Michael Higganbotham, Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh, She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, and The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup.
Thank you to Jason for participating in the Q&A! You can order Hide Away on Amazon here.