Gledé Browne Kabongo writes gripping, unputdownable psychological thrillers—unflinching tales of deception, secrecy, danger and family. She is the Eric Hoffer, Next Generation Indie, IPPY and National Indie Excellence award-winning author of the Fearless Series, Our Wicked Lies, Fool Me Twice, and Conspiracy of Silence.
Her obsession with suspense and diabolical characters started as a kid growing up in the Caribbean when an Australian radio drama called The Castlereagh Line hit the airwaves.
Gledé holds a master’s degree in communications, and has spoken at multiple industry events including the Boston Book Festival, Sisters in Crime (SinC) New England Crime Bake and the Women in Publishing Summit. She lives outside Boston with her husband and two sons.
What themes do you explore in your books and why?
I explore universal themes such as deception, secrecy, family, courage and resilience because they are staples of the human condition, and relatable on a universal level. Those themes also appeal to me personally.
What is the most challenging or frustrating part of your artistic process?
When I get stuck, I have this horrible habit of stepping away from a project for weeks or months at a time until I figure out how to solve the part of the story that has me frustrated. Most authors would just move on to writing other scenes but not me.
It costs me precious writing time and ultimately it affects the timeline for releasing new books. I’m learning to write out of sequence when necessary to work through those frustrations.
What’s the best compliment you’ve received from a reader?
When readers write to me it’s so humbling. Usually they tell me how much they love my books and I’m a talented author. One of my readers messaged me after she had finished reading Autumn of Fear. She said it was “a masterpiece of a psychological thriller”. It was one of those jaw-dropping moments for me, and I had to take a few minutes to validate her feelings and words because my immediate reaction was, you gotta be kidding me. For Winds of Fear, there were so many from readers who had never read my work before and they were pleasantly surprised. A couple of them said rated it one of the best books of the year.
What are the toughest scenes to write?
Emotional scenes. As an author, it’s my job to be authentic and true to the characters without being over the top. On the other hand, I know if I’m not feeling those emotions after the scene is written, then it won’t pull readers in either. It’s a delicate balance.
What thoughtful advice would you give to a new writer?
Never stop learning, whether it’s your first book or your one hundredth. Study the craft. Read a lot, in your genre and outside your genre. Success doesn’t come easily although it may seem like it does for some authors. Don’t judge yourself by another author’s highlight reel. Grow a thick skin. Whether you want to be traditionally published or go the indie route, rejection is part of the game. Rejection by publishers when seeking a contract or rejection by readers (negative reviews).