Every writer dreams of having the kind of success Ellison Cooper has had with her debut novel “Caged,” a dark but fast-paced and engrossing tale of an FBI agent’s frantic race against time to track down a serial killer who has a real issue with twins. The first of a three-book deal, Caged has received wide acclaim, including being named by Publishers Weekly as one of their “Best Summer Books of 2018.” We sat down with Cooper recently to talk about the book, her commitment to writing strong female characters and the need to write the book you want to write.
Open Mic: The reviews for “Caged” have been uniformly very good. Your background is primarily in academia, which has taken you to some really interesting places. How did you come to choose this genre for your first novel?
Cooper: Well, the genre specifically because it’s what I read. I love thrillers of all kinds, and especially the police procedural or suspense thriller are what I obsessively read. So it just made sense. It was the most direct line between what I love to read and what I love to write.
Open Mic: You’re backstory sounds like a novel unto itself. Your expertise in archaeology is evident in the storyline, but you are also a former murder investigator. Did you ever consider an autobiography?
Cooper: A number of people have asked that but I just don’t like talking about myself all that much. I’m sort of a restless person and I’ve obviously jumped around a lot in my life, really before I settled down into anthropology and archaeology I did a lot of different things. I wouldn’t even know how to frame it all, and I just don’t love the idea of talking about myself for a whole book.
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