Thriller junkies know that when it comes to suspenseful reads, Riley Sager is at the top of his game. With books that have gone on to be both international and New York Times bestsellers, it’s clear that he is doing something very right. If you’ve yet to binge through Final Girls and The Last Time I Lied, there’s no better time than the present. Once you’ve gotten through those, make sure to order a copy of his highly anticipated new release Lock Every Door.
What was the inspiration behind Lock Every Door?
It’s pretty common knowledge now that I like to pay homage to some of my favorite scary books and movies. Final Girls was my take on the slasher flick. And The Last Time I Lied was a sort of updated retelling of Picnic at Hanging Rock. With Lock Every Door, I was inspired by the works of Ira Levin, most notably Rosemary’s Baby. That book – and its movie version – is the quintessential real estate horror story. My goal was to give Lock Every Door a similar paranoid vibe. Is something sinister going on this building? Are my neighbors as friendly as they seem to be?
What’s your best advice to young writers who want to write thriller/suspense novels?
My advice is to read as much as they can. Not just thrillers, but all types of genres. They’ll pick up so much about story and character and the mechanics that go into writing a quality book. Then I recommend that they take all that knowledge and do something completely original with it. As a reader, there’s nothing more exciting than finding a new voice or a new way of telling a tale.
Which new release are you looking forward to reading in 2019?
I’m incredibly lucky in that I often get the chance to read books months before they’re released. So I’ve already read many of the books of my most-anticipated list, including The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda, The Warehouse by Rob Hart and Whisper Network by Chandler Baker. One book I haven’t been able to get my hands on yet is The Chain by Adrian McKinty. It sounds fiendishly clever.
If you had to choose three to five of your favorite books of all time, what would they be and why?
I get asked this a lot, yet coming up with an answer is always so hard. My favorites are always changing, depending on my mood. But there are a few constants. The Secret History by Donna Tartt, to name one. Also The Green Mile by Stephen King, The Alienist by Caleb Carr and Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl.
Are there other thriller/suspense authors that you admire?
How much room do we have? Because my list could go on and on. Rather than single out one particular author, I’ll give a shout-out to the entire thriller/suspense community, which is filled with some of the nicest, friendliest, funniest and insanely talented people I’ve ever met. It’s been a joy getting to meet and become friends with authors I’ve admired from afar for years. It’s definitely a great job perk.