Thursday, 22 August 2013 02:04

Book: Review Of 'Dysphoria' + Interview With Author Karelia Stetz-Waters

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"Dysphoria" is a hard-line thriller extremely well written by Karelia Stetz-Waters, a lesbian author from Oregon.

From the first lines, "Dysphoria" is a book which fascinates. You follow Helen Ivers who is running from a horrific past to what she hopes will be the safety of a small New England town. As the president of Pittock College, another tragedy explodes into her life soon after her arrival. Besieged by memories of her mentally ill sister, which refuse to let her rest, she must face an abomination even as her mind begins to unravel.

You are immediately plunged in the story and the murder. Thriller enthusiasts will love it! Not only the author overdoes it when it comes to description, she even gives many details of the murderous act, but also, you don't just follow the story with an external eye, you become a kind of witness, you follow the murderer, you get to know him and his thoughts and you learn about his first murderous pleasures.

You follow him but you don't know his identity yet. Suspense remains all the more because the story is full of revivals.

This is a very easy book to read and also a complex one thanks to the characters, their stories and their rather heavy traumas.

Lezbelib: Dysphoria is a thriller. Why did you choose this genre? Is this a passion for suspense, for investigations or anything else?

Karelia: Nothing pushes me like failure. Before
Dysphoria, I wrote two literary novels about good people living ordinary lives. Despite having a good agent, I couldn’t sell either one. I asked myself: what could I do differently? The answer was add some sex and suspense to the next novel. So I set about writing a thriller.

Happily, one of my literary novels,
As Though Our Beauty Were a War, has subsequently been accepted for publication and will come in fall of 2014. Despite this success, I think I will continue to write predominantly in either the thriller genre or the romance genre.     

Lezbelib: From the first lines of the book to the end, you describe the scenes with many accuracies, why this concern for detail?

Karelia: I want my reader to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell the fictional world as if they were living in the book. I want the writing to be so real the real world pales by comparison.

I also want professionals in the fields I write about to respect the work. In preparation for writing
Dysphoria I took a ten week course on police work. The book was also read by a police chief who checked it for procedural inaccuracies. More recently, a criminal justice professor took me shooting and taught me about guns. Emptying a whole magazine at high speed is a great experience for any crime writer.

The whole is spiced with a lesbian relationship.

Lezbelib: In this book, there is not only an investigation but also a lesbian relationship. You are lesbian yourself, was it important for you to deal with this relationship between two women and so, to have this touch of originality in a genre like the thriller?

Karelia: When I came out at 16, the nearest lesbian bookstore was 80 miles away and there was no Amazon to deliver books to my Kindle or my doorstep. The lesbian novels I did find gave me hope, courage, and a sense of identity. As an adult, my goal is to craft well-written novels that appeal to a mainstream, heterosexual audience but also contain strong lesbian characters who (eventually) get a happy ending. I don’t see myself ever writing a novel that does not contain lesbian characters.

Lezbelib: I could notice that
Dysphoria is presented as volume 1 and, without revealing the end of the book, we guess the possibility of a sequel. Is a volume 2 as sharp as the first one on the agenda?

Karelia: In the sequel to
Dysphoria, Adair Wilson tries to rescue two of her students who have been abducted by human traffickers, and, in the process, learns the horrifying origin of her own wealth. I am working on the book (tentatively titled Dicephalic) right now. I anticipate it being published in late 2013 or early 2014. I think it will be very sharp. The sequel is edgier and more political than the first book, but it contains the same attention to detail and the same blend of intelligence and eroticism.

When it is published, I plan on giving half the proceeds to anti-human trafficking efforts. Research for this book taught me what a huge problem slavery is today. In America, we often think of slavery as something that ended with the American Civil War, but there are, arguably, more people enslaved today than at that time.

As a final note, I welcome dialogue with all my readers. My website contains a list of social media sites where I can be reached as well as videos and information about my writing.

Karelia Stez-Waters' website: www.kareliastetzwaters.com

Her primary blog: http://kareliastetzwatersauthor.wordpress.com/

Her publisher: http://www.artemaepress.com/

You can purchased her books on Amazon (USA): Dysphoria-Ivers-Wilson-Series-ebook