Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: The Next Witness by Kirstyn Petras @Kirstyn_Petras @GoddessFish

The Next Witness

by Kirstyn Petras

GENRE: Thriller


Alexander Covington is hunting a traitor: Melody Karsh, a missing girl accused of treason, a Party member who has forsaken her country. But, letters are appearing in mailboxes, being slipped beneath doors, and in the pockets of passersby. “Free Melody” is being spray painted on walls. Her image – cold, shivering, pathetic – has captured the public’s attention and sympathy.

Melody has no idea that her name is being used to start a movement, not until the executions of those demanding her freedom start airing on television.

Derek Lin would feel sympathy, if he didn’t blame Melody for the deaths of those who have disappeared without a trace, caught up in the investigation to find her.

Melody must choose to join the fight or stand aside. Derek will become a leader or break under the pressure. Alexander will decide how many bodies must fall to save his own life.


He released his foot from the man’s hand, watching disdainfully as his men half carried, half dragged the man away. He started to follow, but out of the corner of his eye he saw something that made him pause. He turned around and saw someone staring at him with large brown eyes completely devoid of any expression. The bottom half of the face was covered in a black and white scarf, and the hair was covered with a black knit cap. By the slight curve of the body, he guessed it was a girl hiding under the layers of baggy clothing. Then his eyes traveled down, and he saw the gun in their hand.

Pointed directly at his heart.

His brain stopped.

But then there was a yell from behind the person, and she whipped around, going to the aid of one of her fellow terrorists. She was pointing the gun at someone else.

Alexander felt himself stumble back, as though her looking away had released him from a spell. He should have had more bravery. He should’ve been able to move, to react, do something. But that look, beyond cold, had shaken him in a way he couldn’t quite describe.

He needed to get out of here, and away from whoever that was. And, he added a mental note, he needed to ask whoever they’d just taken in, just how many Party members they’d corrupted, or how many people Karsh had taught to use a gun.

Interview with Kirstyn Petras

    How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?

    So the novel was initially inspired by my AP US History class when I was a junior in high school. I think one of the things that people don’t really get about the US education system is how much of, not just world history and the effects of US action abroad, but how much of our own domestic history is left out until students reach the upper levels of high school. Hell, there have been cases of students in Tulsa who didn’t know what the Tulsa massacre was until college. So you have this moment of, if you’re open to it, a pivotal shift in the understanding of what American ideology and philosophy really encompasses. I think my way of processing that as a teenager was to take that idea to its extreme - this dystopian society that involved the erasure of history. Then I spent the next decade reworking and rewriting and learning and growing and allowing that initial plot thread to develop into the story it is now.

    What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

    The story touches on so many things, trying to pinpoint “this is the intention” can be a bit tricky. In part, I wanted to create a world that was just different enough but with the idea that it’s not that far off from what could happen. It should be slightly ominous in that sense. If i was able to create for the reader a universe that’s uncomfortably close to home, then I think I did my job.

    What was the hardest part of writing this book?

    I had images in my head for the longest time. I knew what was going to happen to certain characters, I had very clear pictures of certain scenes, but no idea how the story would get from one place to the next. It took a while to coax out those ideas.

    I think tied with that would be translating the world from my head into the story. There were things that were so clear to me, because I’d been living with that world for so long, that were not at all obvious to other readers of the story. Trying to build out the world without overwhelming readers with exposition was a tricky balance, and definitely took the most work out of any element of the story.

    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    Seeing where the characters took me. Like I said, this story was on my mind for a fair few years. Melody, in particular, really grew up with me. Having that evolution of the character I first wrote into what she is now has been really cool.

    Were there alternate endings you considered?

    Not considered, so to speak. The ending continued to evolve throughout writing and rewriting the story, but I knew what the last line was going to be. And if and when you read the story, I hope you’ll understand why there was no alternative.

    Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

    Well, a lot of this story, as I’ve said, was shaped by my education and understanding of US politics. I received a Master of Arts with Honours in International Relations from the University of Edinburgh, and a Master of Science in Global Affairs from New York University. So meeting people wasn’t necessarily a part of the research, though I did have some great professors at both institutions.
    I also wrote a lot of the story while working on my masters thesis in London. The bartenders/waitresses who kept me solvent in whisky and tea during that time definitely deserve a bit of thanks, there.

    What genre of books do you enjoy reading?

    Dark fiction; primarily thriller and horror. I love Joe Hill, Clive Barker, Don DeLillo, Alex Michaelides, Stephen Graham Jones, Jeff Vandermeer, S.A. Cosby - anything that makes me clutch the book a bit too tightly, experience genuine fear for the characters I’ve come to know, or explore darker sides of the human experience. 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Kirstyn Petras is a fiction writer and commodities reporter but primarily identifies as caffeine in a human suit held together by hair spray and sheer force of will. She currently resides in Texas, though claims home as a combination of New York and Edinburgh. When not writing, she trains contortion and aerial hoop. She has been published in Punk Noir, and is the co-host of Dark Waters, a literary podcast exploring all that is dark, ready, and wonderfully twisted.

Twitter ~ Website


$10 Amazon/BN GC 

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Sherry said...

Great excerpt and cover.

Bea LaRocca said...

Thank you for sharing your interview and book details, I have enjoyed reading about you and your work and I am looking forward to reading The Next Witness

pippirose said...

Thanks for the great blurb, excerpt and author review. The book sounds very intriguing.

Post a Comment