Teresa Cross, Senior
Your latest novel has a young college student, Darby,
traveling home to see her dying mom. So you are already feeling for this
character, then, a
snowstorm, an uneasy rest stop, and no cell reception, leaving her already with
a lot of
obstacles. Where did you get your inspiration for NO EXIT? Why a rest
TA: I've spent several years driving to and from college, from Seattle to
Spokane. It's not a
particularly long or harrowing drive, but there are quite a few rest areas along
the way, and
some of them are fairly remote, and can be quite unsettling when it's late at
night and you're
alone (or at least, you hope you're alone!). Most everyone seems to have a
story about an iffy experience they'd had at a rest stop, so as a setting, it
seemed like an
untapped resource for a thriller.
Reading this novel had me scared of just the local Sheetz at the rest stops
nearby. This is
one that really sticks with you. I personally thought of Stephen King when I was
novel. Are there any authors that you read over time that influenced you to
TA: Stephen King, definitely! Whether it's a sentient car or the family
Saint Bernard, I've
always admired his effortless ability to locate the terror in the ordinary. I
tried to ground my
story to the mundane in a similar way, and hopefully succeeded at making door
hinges a little
scarier! Other authors who've really inspired me over the years are Stephen
Smith, Dean Koontz, Joe Hill, and Gillian Flynn.
I just ordered your first two novels after finishing NO EXIT. I love the
your stories give and the surprises that you had in NO EXIT just kept coming. I’ve never read another author
keep me shocked as you did on every page like that. Which is why I love this
novel so much.
How much research goes into a novel when you write? How do you come up with this
TA: Much of the flavor comes in rewrites. I like to use bursts of research
to jump-start my
imagination whenever I'm feeling stuck - I've been to Colorado only once, so I
read about the
setting, the weather, and studied photos and maps. I watched some surprisingly
videos on YouTube of people testing the penetrative abilities of nail guns. In
the name of
research, I did also stick my hand in a door hinge, but I didn't close it very
I read somewhere that this might be a movie. Is that correct? As I was
reading it I thought
myself what a great thriller this would be to watch! If so, who would you cast
as Darby if you
TA: Yes! 20th Century Fox bought the film rights, with Scott Frank
(screenwriter of Logan,
Minority Report, and many other great films) attached to produce. I'm extremely
for casting - this may be a cop-out answer, but I honestly don't know who I
would cast as
Darby. I already have a fairly solid mental image of what she looks like from
when I wrote the
book, so it's tricky to think of an existing actress instead.
The characters seem so real, and one in particular, who I
will not mention the name of so I do not give anything away to those who haven’t
read it yet,
but he really scared the mess out of me! He not only fooled me, but he seemed
like he could
have been any regular guy that we might know. You wrote his character incredibly
well. Do you
come up with the idea of the characters first or the storyline?
TA: Thank you! It's tricky to separate the two in this kind of
tightly-focused book, but I
would say I came up with the storyline first, since the story is essentially the
characters are working against. That said, even when the premise was in its
infancy, I still had
concrete ideas of what I wanted to do with the cast of characters. For example,
I knew from
the start that a rest stop thriller was the perfect story to feature a total
sociopath who could
still hide comfortably in plain sight!
There are some questions I always like to ask, such as in your spare time,
what is your
favorite thing to do? Other than writing.
TA: Aside from reading, I love playing video games. Hear me out - video
maturing as a storytelling medium! For an example, I'd point to Frictional
masterpiece SOMA, a harrowing first-person tale that poses
existentially-troubling questions about how we define human consciousness.
Do you read thrillers yourself? Are there other types of novels you like to
TA: I love thrillers - the higher the concept, the better. I've also got a
soft spot for
supernatural horror. I'm also finding myself developing a taste for nonfiction -
Into Thin Air is devastating. I'm about to dive into
The Stranger Beside Me next, and I can't wait!
Can you tell us about anything that you are working on next?
TA: Another thriller, naturally. This one involves a remote bridge, a
suspicious suicide, and
a nonlinear narrative. I've never told a story out of chronological order
before, and as
challenging as it is, it's a bit like discovering a whole new toolbox for
suspense. I'm having a
lot of fun.
I love reading series. Finding that one character that you can relate to.
Have you ever
thought about doing a thriller series?
TA: As my three standalone novels show, I do have a nasty habit of killing
by the story's end. That said, I'm open to trying my hand at a series someday -
it would be
pretty cool to follow the evolution of a single character across multiple
novel-length stories (I
confess, around book five or six, I would probably still eventually kill him or
One last question. My full-time job is a teacher. For fun, is there any
teacher that has
inspired you and how?
TA: I've had a lot of great teachers and professors, and they've all
inspired me in ways too
numerous and varied to count. A few, though: Jeff Booth (fifth grade), Rob
grade), and professors Marvin Smith and Tom Mullin (university) all encouraged
me to keep
writing and challenged me to improve whenever I started to "phone it in."
A brilliant, edgy thriller about four strangers, a blizzard,
a kidnapped child, and a determined young woman desperate to
unmask and outwit a vicious psychopath.
A kidnapped little girl locked in a stranger’s van. No help for miles. What
would you do?
On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets
caught in a
fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s
forced to wait
out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside are some vending machines, a
maker, and four complete strangers.
Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . .
. and makes a
horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little
girl is locked in an
Who is the child? Why has she been taken? And how can Darby save her?
There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her
fellow travelers is a
kidnapper. But which one?
Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own
on the line,
Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape.
But who can she trust?
With exquisitely controlled pacing, Taylor Adams diabolically ratchets up the
every page. Full of terrifying twists and hairpin turns, No Exit will
have you on the
edge of your seat and leave you breathless.
Psychological | Thriller
Domestic [William Morrow, On Sale: January 15, 2019,
Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9780062875655 / eISBN: 9780062875679]
astonishing, and the most fearing novel yet!
worst nightmare -- trapped at a rest stop in a blizzard with criminals, but who
is the criminal?
Taylor Adams directed the acclaimed short film And I Feel Fine in 2008 and
Eastern Washington University with the Excellence in Screenwriting Award and the
Edmund G. Yarwood Award. His directorial work has screened at the Seattle True
Film Festival and his writing has been featured on KAYU-TV’s Fox Life blog. He
has worked in
the film/television industry for several years and lives in Washington state.
Theresa Cross, Senior
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