“Only one of them will leave..”
About The Book
“Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.
Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those clickbait “Where Are They Now?” articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother’s too-good-to-be-true fiancée invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie’s two best friends – one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship – Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with.
Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide. And at the end of this weekend, only one will be left standing.”
About The Author
“Sherri Smith has previously written two historical fiction novels for Simon & Schuster UK. When not writing she spends time with her family, three rescue dogs and restores vintage furniture that would otherwise be destined for the dump. She lives in Winnipeg, Canada where the long, cold winters nurture her dark side.”
What I Thought
Well I think it’s safe to say I won’t be planning on going on any retreats anytime soon. Wow! I knew this was going to be good after the very first line, some books are just like that aren’t they? A killer opening line that just leaves you wanting more. I read the first half of this in just one sitting, I couldn’t put it down it was equal parts shocking and fascinating. Each character was just as disrupts the next and there was something distinctly off about the whole thing. I had a fair idea who was behind it all I just didn’t know the why and I was surprised by the outcome. I couldn’t wait to pick this back up again the next day and didn’t put it down until I was finished.
Q&A with the Author
- Would you mind telling us what inspired you to write The Retreat?
Two main events were behind my inspiration for The Retreat. The first was a news-story about a Canadian, Joshua Stevens, from my hometown, who attended a spiritual retreat in Peru in hopes of remedying a skin condition. During the ayahuasca ceremony, something went horribly wrong and Stevens stabbed to death Unais Gomes, 26, a British engineer. I was intrigued by the ceremony itself and the requirements to stop all medications before partaking. I thought a cessation of medications, hallucinogen tea and a group of people all wanting to purge their ‘demons,’ would be the perfect setting to get away with murder.
The second was a bad date. My friend met a man at a retreat in Arizona and they hit it off. When she went to visit him in Toronto, he didn’t show to pick her up at the airport. He decided that traffic was too bad, the weather was too nice, and so to drive to the airport wasn’t following his bliss. That level of selfishness and apathy really intrigued me, especially coming from those who claim an elite level of spirituality.
- I’m curious to know why you’ve gone down the route of crime writing? Are crime books what you currently read yourself?
I will read anything, but the vast majority is crime fiction or true crime. I think crime fiction is so widely appealing because it attempts to make sense of violence, when in reality it’s usually senseless. In fiction, there is a sense of justice in the end.
- How did it make you feel when you were writing The Retreat? Did you experience the characters emotions as though they were your own?
I think characters always reflect a writer’s emotions to some degree because it would be impossible to separate the two. At least during the writing process. I did draw from a particularly dark event in my own life, when writing about Katie. But no, I can’t say I feel everything my characters feel—it’s more a mash-up of feelings drawn from experience and imagination.
- Who was the hardest character to write, and why?
All of the characters were difficult because I’ve never written from four perspectives before, and so that was very challenging.
- Who was the easiest character to write, and why?
Again, nothing felt easy about this book. But I did like infusing a sense of humor in it and so maybe that part felt easiest.
- Have you ever encountered any struggles as a writer? How did you overcome them?
Like everything else, writing comes with its own set of struggles. I wish I could write faster and pull off two books a year or even just one under twelve months. With two young children, I haven’t overcome much in terms of speed.
- Do you think you need to have to have a certain personality to be a good crime writer?
I don’t think so or at least nothing specific that wouldn’t translate into other forms of writing. But I think writers who have an ‘it won’t happen to me,’ view on life are less likely to write engaging crime fiction.
- Tell us who would be your mascot or spirit animal?
- Who is your favourite crime villain?
I like the grey area ‘villians,’ best. The ones who can convince themselves they’re not bad and justify any atrocity they’ve committed. Those are characters are the most interesting and realistic.
- Finally, what do you want readers to come away with once they’ve finished reading The Retreat?
For me, the books that quicken my pulse are the most engrossing and provide the best escapism and so that’s all I can hope to achieve for my own books.
The Retreat is a highly engaging read and I really enjoyed it, perfect if you need a new thriller. Many thanks to Sarah from Titan Books for having me on this tour, all opinions are my own and I am not paid to give them.