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Kia Abdullah | 20 Questions: NEXT OF KIN


Next of Kin
Kia Abdullah

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September 2022
On Sale: September 20, 2022
Featuring: Leila
384 pages
ISBN: 0008538328
EAN: 9780008538323
Kindle: B09SYGLGKZ
Paperback / e-Book
Add to Wish List

Also by Kia Abdullah:
Next of Kin, September 2022
Take It Back, January 2022
Take It Back, December 2020

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1--What is the title of your latest release?

NEXT OF KIN

2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?

On an ordinary working day, London architect Leila Syed receives a call that cleaves her life in two. Her brother-in-law’s voice is filled with panic. His son’s nursery has called to ask where little Max is. Leila was supposed to drop Max off that morning. But she forgot he was in her car ­– on the hottest day of the year. Racing to the carpark, she grasps the horror of what she has done. What follows is an explosive, high-profile trial that will tear the family apart. But as the case progresses it becomes clear there’s more to this incident than meets the eye…

3--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?

I was born and raised in East London, which is one of the most deprived areas of the UK. It has this sense of menace that’s irresistible to a novelist. Authors like Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde used it as a sinister setting, a place of grime, vice and flux. Although my main character, Leila, lives in a small desirable pocket, the surrounding sense of threat was perfect for Next of Kin.

4--Would you hang out with your protagonist in real life?

At the start of the novel, yes…

5--What are three words that describe your protagonist?

Calm, logical, practical – which makes it all the more uncomfortable that she left Max in her car.2

6--What’s something you learned while writing this book?

That in the UK, it’s not against the law to leave a child alone in a car. It only becomes an offence if this places them at risk, which of course is open to interpretation.

7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?

I wait until I’m totally done, otherwise, I would never get there!

8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?

Spice. My parents are from Bangladesh, so I grew up with spicy food. I genuinely get withdrawal symptoms if I go too long without it.

9--Describe your writing space/office!

I recently moved back to my hometown of London after three years in the countryside, so had to downsize my study from a large and airy loft room with a view of an actual castle to a teeny tiny ‘box room’ with no charm at all. I won’t complain though. I grew up in a house of eight children, so never had my own space. A whole room in which to write is comparative bliss.

10--Who is an author you admire?

In terms of literary fiction, Donna Tartt is unmatched. In terms of crime fiction, I’d say Jim Thompson because The Killer Inside Me is such a masterpiece.

11--Is there a book that changed your life?

Yes! Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. I grew up in a conservative family and even as a child I got the sense that my life would follow a rigid script: school, college, a vocational subject like accountancy or pharmacy, then marriage, and, finally, kids. I read Anne of Green Gables and saw how Anne Shirley subverted the expectations placed on her and that really changed my perspective. I realized that I didn’t have to be quiet and good and say yes all the time. I could set my own course in life.

12--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your book was going to be published)/Or, for indie authors, when you decided to self-publish.

I was in the Australian Outback in a sweltering van with broken air conditioning and 12 other passengers. The engine was overheating so we were driving 20mph to keep it cool. Somewhere in the middle of the Red Centre (it's really called that), I got a signal on my phone. I refreshed my inbox to find only one email. It was from my agent – but only the preview loaded. It said: “I am extremely excited to be sending this email. I really wanted to call, but not knowing where exactly in Australia you are, I didn’t want to risk a too early wake-up call.”

The main text of the email didn’t load, and I had to wait for several (very long) miles before I learned that I had a two-book deal with HarperCollins. It was one of the best moments of my life.

13--What’s your favorite genre to read?

I love crime fiction and suspense, especially when it engages with a deeper theme like Girl A or The Last House on Needless Street. After that, I mostly read literary fiction.

14--What’s your favorite movie?

The easy answer is The Godfather because it’s such a classic, but it’s also like extra-rich chocolate cake; you can only eat it occasionally. As for a film I can watch at any time, it has to be Die Hard.

15--What is your favorite season?

Autumn, or should I say Fall. Wool socks, a comfy blanket, hot chocolate and a good book. That’s what Fall is about for me.

16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

A slow dinner at a nice restaurant with my husband.

17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?

I really enjoyed After the Lights Go Out by John Vercher. It’s the best type of crime fiction: packed with action but with a deeper theme as well.

In terms of TV, I loved Midnight Mass. I don’t tend to watch religious-based horror as it can feel a bit same-ish, but a friend convinced me to watch it and it was sublime. Everything – the characters, the acting, the setting, the theme – was extraordinary.

18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?

I love spice, so it must be South Asian. Sri Lankan in particular.

19--What do you do when you have free time?

Travel! I have been to 60 countries across all seven continents, and there’s still so much more to see. In recent years, I’ve become more mindful of the environmental impact and have made changes to counter it (i.e., more land-based travel, longer trips with fewer flights as opposed to lots of short hops, following a plant-based diet).

20--What can readers expect from you next?

I’m currently putting the finishing touches to my next novel, THOSE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR, which is about nightmare neighbors in a London suburb. That’s out in the UK in January 2023 and hopefully in the US not too long after!

NEXT OF KIN by Kia Abdullah

Next of Kin

ON AN ORDINARY WORKING DAY…

Leila Syed receives a call that cleaves her life in two. Her brother-in-law’s voice is filled with panic. His son’s nursery has called to ask where little Max is.

YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE…

Leila was supposed to drop Max off that morning. But she forgot.

Racing to the carpark, she grasps the horror of what she has done.

IS ABOUT TO COME TRUE…

What follows is an explosive, high-profile trial that will tear the family apart. But as the case progresses it becomes clear there’s more to this incident than meets the eye…

 

Thriller Domestic | Thriller Legal [HQ, On Sale: September 20, 2022, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780008538323 / eISBN: 9780008538330]

Buy NEXT OF KIN: Amazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Love's Sweet Arrow | Walmart.com | Book Depository | Target.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Kia Abdullah

Kia Abdullah

KIA ABDULLAH is an author and travel writer. She has contributed to The Guardian, BBC, Channel 4 News, and The New York Times. Kia currently travels the world as one half of the travel blog Atlas & Boots, which receives over 200,000 views per month. She is the author of Take It Back.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

 

 

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