Audiobooks.com Interview with Cara Black, Author of Three Hours in Paris

Who among us hasn’t had the odd daydream or two about picking up and jetting off to France and just living like a Parisian for a while? We might browse wistfully through flights, but never take the plunge. Meanwhile, Cara Black, author of the Aimee Leduc series, has penned 20 novels that are set in this cultural hotbed including her latest standalone, Three Hours in Paris (releasing April 2020).

We were lucky enough to catch up with Black to chat about her latest listen, audiobook narrators, and what inspires her writing.

Audiobooks.com: What can readers gain from listening to the audiobook version of Three Hours in Paris that they might not necessarily get from reading the print version?

Cara Black: Both versions have so much to offer. However, in the audiobook version there’s the immediacy of the spoken word and the reader’s intonation and nuances of feeling that enhance listening to the story. Also you can listen to the story anywhere hands-free.

Audiobooks.com: How involved are you in the narrator casting process and what do you look for in an audiobook narrator?

Cara Black: I felt it was important to go with a new voice to distinguish Three Hours in Paris from the Aimée Leduc series. I liked the sample from Elisabeth Rogers—her voice, intonation, expression, and how she puts emphasis on phrases. She’s good! So I decided to go with Elisabeth Rogers, a new reader, and I feel so happy she is Kate’s “voice.”

Audiobooks.com: This is your first standalone novel. How did it feel to venture away from your Aimée Leduc Investigation series?

Cara Black: I felt compelled to write Three Hours in Paris. It was a story I had to tell, and it came from a footnote in history. I’d been writing bits while I wrote the Aimée Leduc series, but these pieces didn’t fit in an Aimée story so I saved them. I had only written series novels, which I love to do and will continue, so it was a leap to write a standalone. It was time to flex my writing muscles and this story had high stakes in a time of incredible history. With a new setting and era in history, it gave me freedom and a chance to explore other voices and viewpoints.

Audiobooks.com: All of your Aimée Leduc Investigation novels as well as Three Hours in Paris are set in France. After writing 20 books set in France do you find that you’re still learning new things about the country and the culture? Do you ever see yourself writing a novel set outside of France?

Cara Black: Definitely. I’m always learning new things about the French and France. I love the history, the traditions, the slower pace of life, its culture of living well, and the charming, contradictory Parisians I come across. If I ever figure them out, the mystery will be over. Yes, I’ve got a few ideas for a novel outside of France.

Audiobooks.com: In your author’s note, you mentioned the idea for Three Hours in Paris grew from anecdotes that you encountered on your research trips to Paris. When you travel, are you always picking up tidbits and saving them for future inspiration?

Cara Black: There’s a saying about writers, “everything is fodder.” So, I’m always jotting down a word overheard, a color that catches my eye, or a saying that encapsulates a feeling. And I always try to use what I find in France on the page.

Over the years researching, I was lucky and honored to meet several female Résistants who were in the underground during WW2. They told me stories and shared their experiences. Also, many of my friend’s parents had been schoolchildren in Paris during the war, and it was incredible to hear firsthand accounts of what they remembered: daily life and privations that didn’t make it in the history books.

Audiobooks.com: Can we expect more stories about Kate Rees in the future?

Cara Black: I wrote this as a standalone novel. But we end in 1940 when the war is in the early stages, and I left Kate’s trajectory open-ended, so it’s a possibility. ∎


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STAFF PICK: Theme Music by T. Marie Vandelly

Title: Theme Music
Author: T. Marie Vandelly
Narrator: Sarah Mollo-Christensen

Dixie, when I let you go
Thought you’d realize that I would know
I would show
The special love I have for you
My baby blue

Upon first reading the synopsis for Theme Music I immediately thought of The Amityville Horror and it definitely had a similar feeling to it with a mysterious family murder and a ghostly presence in the place where it all began. What set Theme Music apart for me was the unique twists and turns that the story took. From horror to psychological thriller to family drama – this fast-paced listen kept me hooked all the way through.

When Dixie Wheeler was just a baby her father murdered her entire family on Thanksgiving day. A neighbor found her, the only survivor, in her high chair while Baby Blue by Badfinger echoed through the empty house. Thus, Dixie’s nickname Baby Blue was born and the Wheeler murders became something of a local legend.

After being raised by her aunt and uncle, 25 years later Dixie wants answers about what happened that day. Dixie moves into her family home where her life was forever changed and now, she must come face to face with the ghosts of her past…which seem a little too real. Once people start to turn up dead around her, she wonders how real those ghosts actually are.

I must warn you, if you do plan to embark on this twisty tale, there is a fair bit of gore – especially right off the bat. But the way that T. Marie Vandelly describes the macabre really sets the scene and allows you to immerse yourself in the story. Since Dixie was only a baby when the murders took place, she can only recount that day from what she’s read in newspapers and heard from rumors and gossip from people around town. In a way, the reader is in the same position as Dixie – we see everything through Dixie’s eyes and we learn everything she learns about what happened that day. This makes every twist that much more suspenseful! I’m telling you, I couldn’t listen to this audiobook fast enough – I had to know what would happen next!

Theme Music was narrated by Sarah Mollo-Christensen, an Audie-nominated narrator who has lent her voice to over 70 audiobooks on Audiobooks.com. Sarah’s portrayal of Dixie expertly mixed Dixie’s dark humor and uneasiness, which allowed me to connect with her character that much more.

Ghost story? Check. Psychological thriller? Check. Crime fiction? Check. If you’re looking for a new listen that’s packed with all of the goodness listed above, then you’ll definitely want to give T. Marie Vandelly‘s debut novel, Theme Music a listen.

Publisher Summary:

She didn’t run from her dark past. She moved in. 

For the lucky among us, life is what you make of it; but for Dixie Wheeler, the theme music for her story was chosen by another long ago, on the day her father butchered her mother and brothers and then slashed a knife across his own throat. Only one-year-old Dixie was spared, becoming infamously known as Baby Blue for the song left playing in the aftermath of the slaughter.
 

Twenty-five years later, Dixie is still desperate for a connection to the family she can’t remember. So when her childhood home goes up for sale, Dixie sets aside all reason and moves in. But as the ghosts of her family seemingly begin to take up residence in the house that was once theirs, Dixie starts to question her own sanity and wonders if the evil force menacing her is that of her father or a demon of her own making. 

In order to make sense of her present, Dixie becomes determined to unravel the truth of her past and seeks out the detective who originally investigated the murders. But the more she learns, the more she opens up the uncomfortable possibility that the sins of her father may belong to another. As bodies begin to pile up around her, Dixie must find a way to expose the lunacy behind her family’s massacre to save her few loved ones that are still alive—and whatever scrap of sanity she has left...

Read more and sample the audio →


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

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