Interview // Elizabeth Lewes, Author of Little Falls

Little Falls Book Cover Little Falls
Elizabeth Lewes
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Crooked Lane Books
August 11, 2020
Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours

She tried to forget the horrors of war–but her quiet hometown conceals a litany of new evils.

Sergeant Camille Waresch did everything she could to forget Iraq. She went home to Eastern Washington and got a quiet job. She connected with her daughter, Sophie, whom she had left as a baby. She got sober. But the ghosts of her past were never far behind.

While conducting a routine property tax inspection on an isolated ranch, Camille discovers a teenager’s tortured corpse hanging in a dilapidated outbuilding. In a flash, her combat-related PTSD resurges–and in her dreams, the hanging boy merges with a young soldier whose eerily similar death still haunts her. The case hits home when Sophie reveals that the victim was her ex-boyfriend–and as Camille investigates, she uncovers a tangled trail that leads to his jealous younger brother and her own daughter, wild, defiant, and ensnared.

The closer Camille gets to the truth, the closer she is driven to the edge. Her home is broken into. Her truck is blown up. Evidence and witnesses she remembers clearly are erased. And when Sophie disappears, Camille’s hunt for justice becomes a hunt for her child. At a remote compound where the terrifying truth is finally revealed, Camille has one last chance to save her daughter–and redeem her own shattered soul.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read additional disclosures here and below.
Purchase your own copy here and support independent booksellers

Thanks so much, Elizabeth, for answering our questions. It was a fun interview!

Have you always envisioned yourself as a writer?

Yes, but always in that “gosh, it would be great to be one” sort of sense. I wrote my first novel when I was 10!

Your bio mentions that you are a Naval Veteran. From the synopsis of Little Falls, it sounds like you drew from your military experience. Do you feel your experience translated well to your character, Camille?   

Camille was an Army medic with multiple deployments. I was a humble linguist with zero deployments (or desire to go on any). However, I was stationed in Hawaii when a Stryker brigade had just come back from one of the early deployments to Iraq. Ever since I saw what modern warfare did to those troops, I’ve been fascinated by their experience in the field and at home, especially the impact on their families. That said, the experience of being a woman in a historically male institution is pretty universal among the services, and I translated a lot of the experience of being in the military and the very bizarre process of transitioning to civilian life into Camille’s character. A lot of the subtext in Little Falls is about just this: the expectations that are placed on women, particularly mothers, in our society, and how they violently clash with the expectations we have of soldiers and veterans. Like all women, we have a very taut tightrope to walk, but our status as veterans complicates everything. 

What was your most satisfying moment while writing Little Falls?

When a good friend with multiple deployments said I had nailed a lot of the feelings he has had since coming home.

Did you find Little Falls stayed along your chosen path or developed into a completely different book once completed?

Good question! I’m a compulsive outliner, but the story is very much Camille’s. I can’t write (effectively, anyway) until I can hear her telling me what happened next. We’ve had a lot of rough conversations over the years as I pulled the story out of her! (Wow, that makes me sound crazy, but I suppose that all writers are a little nuts.) So, I’d say that while the story stayed on course, it definitely deepened over time.

Camille is a strong main character. Which supporting character should readers keep an eye out for?

Sophie, definitely. Sophie is Camille’s teenage daughter. In a lot of ways, she is the stereotypical wild child, but she is really trying to eke out an existence while dealing with a lot of pain, much of which Camille caused.

Darren is also a supporting character readers should pay attention to. He’s the primary (official) investigator of the crime that opens the book, but he has also known Camille since they were kids. He tries to soften her edges, but she’s mostly edges, and sharp ones, at that.

I also love to hate Lyle and hope readers do too. He’s based on several people I’ve known over the years and should not be taken at face value!

How did you celebrate after finishing your debut novel?

I bought myself a very nice bottle of bourbon!

If you only had one sentence to capture a new reader for your book, what would it be?

I think the Publisher’s Weekly review was on point! They said in their starred review: “The tight, well-constructed plot complements the searing portrait of Camille as she deals with the guilt she feels over her daughter and her general rage at the world.”

What one book do you recommend that every mystery/thriller lover read (not including your book)?

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John Le Carre. Le Carre’s early books absolutely nail the feeling of being in intelligence and they have such beautiful, perfect prose that I fall in love with the English language every time I read them. And, the first few pages of his first novel, Call for the Dead, contain the most amazing character introduction ever. 

What author has inspired you the most in your writing?

It’s really hard to say! I spent 25 years reading everything I could get my hands on, but since I started writing seriously a few years ago, I have read very little fiction because I don’t want to pick up other authors’ habits. But I’d say that Terry Pratchett, John Le Carre, and Megan Abbott are definite influences.

What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?

Writing isn’t effortless, but I’m always enthusiastic about it, particularly because I have so little time to do it! I mostly write on my phone in snatches of time between working with clients (I’m a tax lawyer by day), chasing my two young kids, and–sometimes–sleeping.

Of course, we have to know, what is in-store next – books, events, etc.?

I have a few virtual events lined up this fall and I’m actively writing the next story about Camille and Sophie. In PERSECUTION, a woman who claimed to be searching for money Camille’s ex stole years before ends up in Camille’s protection before being brutally murdered. What Camille learns about the dead woman’s past in the Okanogan and elsewhere forces Camille to finally confront her own choices and pain, but will she do it fast enough to avoid the same fate?

The tight, well-constructed plot complements the searing portrait of Camille as she deals with the guilt she feels over her daughter and her general rage at the world.

Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review

Little Falls snaps with suspense from beginning to end. With skilled execution of setting and plot, Elizabeth Lewes shuttles the reader between continents on a thrilling journey that reveals haunting secrets. I couldn’t put this book down!

Margaret Mizushima, author of the award-winning Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries, including Hanging Falls

A dark, dangerous read populated by distinct, well-drawn characters. The tormented heroine is a woman on the edge and fascinating in her unpredictability. You’re rooting for her, afraid for her, but never fully confident that she won’t succumb to her multiple demons. There is a desperate sense of urgency right up until the very end.

P. J. Tracy, New York Times bestselling author of the Monkeewrench series

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Elizabeth Lewes. There will be five (5) winners. Three (3) winners will each receive one (1) Gift Card. Two (2) winners will each receive LITTLE FALLS by Elizabeth Lewes (eBook). The giveaway begins on September 1, 2020, and runs through November 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Elizabeth Lewes

Elizabeth Lewes is a veteran of the United States Navy who served during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. An analyst and linguist by training, she now practices law in Seattle. Little Falls is her debut novel.

Click here to view Little Falls by Elizabeth Lewes Participants via Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours