by Carolyn Lee Adams
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 14th 2015
A spine-tingling debut about the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse in reverse as a teen struggles to retain hope—and her sanity—while on the run from a cunning and determined killer.
Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.
When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup trick, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.
At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.
The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. The Chronicles of Narnia is my literary comfort food. I reread the series every Christmas. It reminds me of everything good in the world.
Sons of Anarchy. I love Kurt Sutter with a deep and abiding passion. He is so perfectly acquainted with the dark side of human nature and so able to convey that darkness. My dream of dreams would be to write for a Kurt Sutter show.
This is a tough one – I have too many favorites! I love Golden Age Hollywood, especially Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn, and definitely The Philadelphia Story is a comedy I can watch over and over again. But in terms of what’s made an impact on me, it would have to be Silence of the Lambs. I saw it three times in the theatre and from that point forward I knew I wanted to be a writer. That movie changed my life.
Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come. That first line, “I was born by the river…” never fails to break me open in the way that only music can break you open. It is a song without a season, a song that always applies, because we are always in a state of change. Change is a tricky beast. It’s so hard to let go of the good, but at the same time, you have to have change in order for life to be vibrant and alive.
I have two favorite foods – escargot and corn dogs. Love them both equally.
Narnia! That would be number one on my destination list. “The Place” from Albert Payson Terhune’s novels about his collies. They were written at the beginning of the last century and his description of his house always struck me as so perfectly evocative of everything a home should be. Finally, I’d like to be in Hogwart’s castle on Halloween. One of the greatest things about the Harry Potter books is Rowling’s evocative description of holiday celebrations.
Wow. That’s kind of an amazing question for me, because I’ve never encountered the perfect fictional boyfriend. Or even a fictional boyfriend I find particularly appealing. Maybe I should write my own perfect fictional boyfriend.
“Follow your bliss.” – Joseph Campbell – My father taught myself and my three siblings this mantra and it changed all of our lives for the better.
Amongst novelists, I fangirl over Markus Zusak in a pretty big way. However, there is no one for whom I am a bigger fangirl than comic Nate Bargatze. I borderline hero worship the guy. As a storyteller and a stand-up comedian, he is a brilliant genius while playing the persona of a dumb guy. It is a deft sleight of hand to convince the audience you’re a little dumb while actually performing absolutely amazing comedy. Great comedy requires great intelligence. I am also a huge fangirl of Conor McGregor, the Irish UFC fighter. I read Conor quotes before I start writing to get myself psyched up.
C.S. Lewis, without a doubt. No author has shaped who I am more than he did, through both his fiction and his non-fiction works. I’ve yet to get over to England and visit The Eagle and Child, but spending an afternoon at that pub is high on my to do list for life.
It’s my hope that reading this book will get my readers’ blood up and get them back into whatever their own fight may be. Very rare in our lives are periods of deep contentment. Usually we are engaged in some sort of struggle, something that requires determination and persistence, the willingness to hit the reset button and get back up even after we fail. I hope Ruthless inspires readers to be fierce.
Hello Carolyn! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours.
I am super excited to be here!
Ruthless is a dual action survival story about a teen who escapes her abductor, only to face an unforgiving wilderness. It’s a fast paced thriller, but underneath the action it is a meditation upon what makes a human being into a monster.
My inspiration for Ruthless came from my own life (disturbingly enough), with one exception. I watched a lot of “I Survived” on the Bio Channel in the months before I began writing Ruthless. One recurring theme that boggled my mind was how often women in great distress were denied help by people in a perfect position to be of service. Human nature can be dismaying. “I Survived” taught me a lot about what it is to fight for your life and just how dark people can get.
It wasn’t hard to write any of the action scenes. Anytime adrenaline is pumping through Ruth it was pumping through me, too, and adrenaline keeps us from feeling pain. The scenes that were hard to write were Wolfman’s backstory, told in flashback. That was absolutely agonizing for me to write. I feel deeply for Wolfman. He wasn’t born a monster, he was made into one. To me that is the great tragedy of the story – all of the destruction he wrought wasn’t inevitable. He could have been a good man.
Honestly, the only thing I researched was the military term “click,” which took about thirty seconds. The rest of the novel dealt with things I am intimately familiar with. The Blue Ridge Mountains, showing horses, South Carolina…this is what my world is made up of. And for better or worse, I’d spent a lifetime reading about serial killers. I grew up in The Green River Killer’s dumping grounds. It gave me a morbid fascination with the subject.
“When he unleashes on her, everything falls together. Like a crick in the neck snapped into place, the boy’s brain pops and is put right. It is a beautiful undoing, a beautiful becoming.”
I really enjoyed writing the scenes that take place at the horse show, both Ruth warming up her horse in the practice arena and the competition scene. It was important to me to capture the feeling of high performance riding, something that would resonate with other horse people. Unfortunately, fiction offers an awful lot of unrealistic depictions of riding and horses. As a lifelong equestrian (I started showing at age three), I wanted to get that right.
Okay, I know this is a weird pick, but I’d say Adagio for Strings by Barber. It’s a piece of classical music, but it is haunting and beautiful. It’s the music that best captures the feeling I had when I wrote the scenes where Ruth is lost in the wilderness.
I am so glad you asked this! I’ve known for two and a half years exactly who I want to play Wolfman. He’s a stand-up comedian and actor named Tom Emmons. I’m also a comic, and for two months prior to becoming friends with him I’d just stare at him and think, “Much like some Stephen King novel, I have created this man out of my imagination. Lord help us all.” Tom IS Wolfman, in terms of his appearance. He is exactly what I had envisioned. It was so creepy to come face-to-face with him! Tom wound up playing Wolfman in the book trailer and I think he did an awesome job. For me it would be a long held dream come true if the book became a movie and my good buddy played that role. I actually went to USC Film School and majored in screenwriting. I spent many years as a screenwriter before I switched to novels. I think Ruthless is a very cinematic book and I’d love to adapt it to the screen.
I’d suggest two options. Either be angry and fired up about something, or, read it home alone at night with only one dim light on. If it was a movie it’d definitely be a popcorn movie, so I’d recommend popping up a bag ahead of time.
I’ve returned to work on the novel I completed just prior to beginning Ruthless. It is the most ambitious thing I’ve ever worked on in my life. It is beast. But I love it. It’s far and away my favorite thing I’ve ever done. If I can get it right (and published) I could die happy. I know that sounds dramatic, but that’s how passionate I am about this story. It’s called The Book of Ezra. It is a Gothic horror set in an Upstate New York poorhouse and insane asylum in 1894. Like Ruthless, there’s a good bit of action, but I believe Ezra is a far more likable protagonist. He is a humble hero and I really hope someday people get to meet him.
Thank you so much for everything, Carolyn!
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Carolyn Lee Adams is originally from the Seattle area, breeding ground of serial killers and those who write about them. She attended USC Film School and graduated with a BFA in screenwriting. RUTHLESS (Simon Pulse, Summer 2015) is her first novel. When she isn't exploring the dark side of human nature in her writing, you'll find her on stage as a stand-up comedian. Because those things go together.