Author Interview: Shutter by Melissa Larsen
Even though I don’t talk about them enough, adult thrillers are some of my fav reads. Shutter by Melissa Larsen is an adult mystery/thriller that is available now! I checked in with Melissa about Shutter. Check out our convo below!
Shutterby Melissa Larsen
Published by: Berkley
on June 15, 2021
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
A young woman agrees to star in a filmmaker’s latest project, but soon realizes the movie is not what she expected in this chilling debut novel.
In the wake of her father’s death, Betty Roux doesn’t allow herself to mourn. Instead, she pushes away her mother, breaks up with her boyfriend, and leaves everything behind to move to New York City. She doesn’t know what she wants, except to run.
When she’s offered the chance to play the leading role in mysterious indie filmmaker Anthony Marino’s new project, she jumps at the opportunity. For a month Betty will live in a cabin on a private island off the coast of Maine, with a five-person cast and crew. Her mother warns against it, but Betty is too drawn to the charismatic Anthony to say no.
Anthony gives her a new identity–Lola–and Betty tells herself that this is exactly what she’s been looking for. The chance to reinvent herself. That is, until they begin filming and she meets Sammy, the island’s caretaker, and Betty realizes just how little she knows about the movie and its director.
Interview with Melissa Larsen
Tell us about Betty. Who was she before her father’s death? What’s her biggest regret in life?
Before her father’s death, Betty was happily unhappy. She was living with her on-again off-again long-term boyfriend, Tucker, in the same small town she’d grown up in, waitressing at a diner, dreaming of becoming a model or an actress but knowing, deep down, that she’d never leave to pursue those dreams. She didn’t have the momentum or the confidence to do it. She was just her father’s daughter. Tucker’s girlfriend. She didn’t really allow herself to explore her own identity outside of these comfortable (yet restraining) ties. When her father dies, her world shatters. And she makes a run for it. She’s grieving and she’s desperate to escape, but within this turmoil, she’s also recognized that now is the opportunity to figure out who she is, outside of her usual definitions.
You’ll have to read Shutter to hear about her biggest regret in life! It’s better if she tells you ☺
What was it like researching for Shutter?
It was a blast! Because the form my research took was a writing retreat on a private island off the coast of Maine. Earlier drafts of Shutter had the filming take place on a lakeside estate in Upstate New York, which felt appropriately creepy, but not exactly right. I found the Norton Island Residency for Writers and Artists, and it was like stepping into my own book! I got to spend two weeks as Betty—without most of the terror and hidden cameras (I hope).
If you could give any character in the story advice, who would you pick and what advice would you give?
I think we would all, in the beginning, like to shout at Betty to get out of there. Run, girl, run away! But I think that’s useless advice—Betty is going to do as she pleases and if I were in her position, I too would have said yes to Anthony’s offer. So instead, I think I’d like to give Anthony some advice: See a therapist. Keep writing and making films, but find a good therapist!