Published by Sourcebooks, Inc. on November 4, 2014
Genres: Death & Dying, Law & Crime, Social Issues, Suspense/Thriller, Thriller, Young Adult
When hackers can hijack any cellphone or computer webcam, no one is safe - including Jesse.
Jesse seems like a normal sixteen-year-old, but he isn't. He is a victim of King - a ruthless hacker who has been blackmailing Jesse with incriminating screen photos and videos. So far, Jesse's given in to King's demands in order to protect his family. But now King wants something that's too horrible to contemplate- and if he doesn't get it, King will kill Jesse's little sister.
Terrified and helpless, the answer to Jesse's prayers arrives in the form of a plain manila envelope. Inside there's a phone number and a note: I can help.
Describe Watched in a tweet (140 characters or less)
CJ: Teens blackmailed by cyberpredator with no hope of fighting back–unless they fight together
What are some of your favorite thrillers?
CJ: Too many to count! But two of my favorites feature teens who become empowered through their struggles: John Hart’s Last Child and Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity.
What kind of research did you do while writing Watched?
CJ: The research for Watched was wide-flung, everything from what the steering wheel of a vintage Austin-Healy looked like and how the doors opened; to the psychology behind teen self-harm, agoraphobia, pedophilia, psychopathy, stalkers, and arson; methods of arsonists; how cyberpredators work (including reviewing actual case records and transcripts from federal agents I interviewed); and reviewing dozens of real life cases of teens victimized by cyberpredators and cappers.
What is your favorite part about writing a thriller? What is the hardest for you?
CJ: My favorite part is the ending—I often write the climax first. I love bringing all the loose threads together and weaving them into a hopefully unexpected yet satisfying thrill ride.
The hardest part for me is the opening. That often changes a lot as I write a draft and sometimes is the last scene I write (I write out of order, zigzagging back and forth between emotional high points in the story).
Social Media has become a huge part of the world we live in today, and it is also a theme in Watched. What is one thing about social media that you think needs to change?
CJ: I think we need to put the “social” back in and step away from the “media”—no one who uses social media on a personal level really wants or needs to be heard/seen by the entire known universe, yet most platforms make it extraordinarily difficult to create sensible privacy settings (especially for young users).
For example, it’s often the default that any photo posted has all the GIS info available to anyone. But most users don’t realize that those photos can give strangers their exact location as well as often (via tags) the names of the people in the photos—essentially setting out a plate of milk and cookies as you invite cyberpredators into your home.
If we had an author talent show, what would your talent be?
CJ: I’d be the director! Because I pretty much lack any visual talent (unless folks wanted to watch me sit and type on my laptop making funny faces and talking to myself as I write dialogue!)…oh, but I do play a mean air guitar (translation: terribly embarrassing and cringe-worthy) as long as it’s to fast-paced head-banging rock ‘n roll, so give me some Zeppelin, Mudvayne, Korn, Mettalica, or Godsmack and I’m your girl.
Book Briefs: Thank you so much for being here today CJ! 😉 I love the way you write stories. The zigzagging would get confusing for me, but it is really cool!
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-seven novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.
CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).
Her novels have won the International Thriller Writers’ prestigious Thriller Award, the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Readers’ Choice Award, the RT Seal of Excellence, and the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense.
Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at www.CJLyons.net
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