Episode 171: Pacing and Suspense — Interview with Gin Phillips

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

Today I am so excited to have author Gin Phillips on the show!

When I received the pitch for Gin’s most recent book, Fierce Kingdom, it took my breath away. Not “oh this is cool” kind of take your breath away but punched-in-the-gut, heart-wrenching, “I don’t think I can put this book down” kind of take your breath away.

Fierce Kingdom is a book about a mother and her son, trapped in a zoo that has been taken over by armed gunmen, and the lengths this mother will go to protect her child.  Hooked yet? Listen in as Gin and I chat about her novel, and how to balance a fast paced plot with a strong and realistic mother-son bond.

In this episode Gin and I discuss:

  • How to bring a realistic mother-son relationship to the page.
  • What nuances to use to create a three dimensional child character.
  • Why you should use specific details instead of generalities to connect with your readers.
  • How to bring plot and character development together in every single scene.
  • When to speed up or slow down: Gin’s techniques to balance pacing in the tightest story timeframe.

Plus, Gin’s #1 tip for writers.

About Gin Phillips

Gin Phillips is the author of five novels including Come in and Cover Me and The Well and the Mine, which was not only her debut novel but was the winner of the 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Award. Since then her work has been sold in 29 countries.

Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Gin graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a degree in political journalism. She worked as a magazine writer for more than a decade, living in Ireland, New York, and Washington D.C., before eventually moving back to Alabama where she lives in Birmingham with her family. To connect with Gin check out her website at www.ginphillips.com.

Fierce Kingdom

The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son, Lincoln, soak up the last few minutes of the day. It is something close to perfect. So when Joan hears a noise crack through the air, she assumes it’s construction work or practice fireworks for a Halloween celebration. But as Joan rushes to the zoo exit to make it through the gate before closing time, she freezes at the sight of a figure with a gun. She grabs her son and runs. And for the next three hours—the entire scope of the novel—she keeps on running.

As Joan begins running, mother and son are as trapped as the animals. Joan’s intimate knowledge of this place that filled early motherhood with happy diversions—the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines—is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger. As the police finally breach the walls of the zoo, Joan has a choice to make.  She knows she would die for her child. Would she die for someone else’s?

If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase DIY MFA makes a small commission at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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