Welcome to our Saturday Spotlight, here on Alternative-Read.com – Today we are really pleased to welcome bestselling authors, Iris and Roy Johansen!
Hindsight by Iris and Roy Johansen is a unique thriller. The protagonist is Investigator Kendra Michaels, whose former blindness has left her with uniquely insightful observational skills. Blind for the first twenty years of her life before gaining her sight via a revolutionary surgical procedure, she has become known for her razor-sharp senses and keen deductive abilities.
Kendra has highly developed senses of smell, hearing, and spatial awareness that she’s used to help the FBI and CIA in many difficult cases. What makes these plots very interesting is the dialogue that realistically explains how she is able to reach conclusions through her observational skills that others cannot.
In this novel, Kendra goes back to her roots, first introduced in a previous book, Night Watch, but this plot brings it to the forefront of the story. Two staff members have been murdered at a school for the blind where Kendra spent her formative years in San Diego California. Kendra takes a personal interest in the killings, because she cared about the people who were murdered, and she wants to find those responsible. She grudgingly enlists the help of childhood friend, Olivia Moore, who is still blind and the creator of an ‘awesome’ website for the blind called Outasite; a special needs assistant dog named Harley that played a very huge part in the story, FBI agent Metcalf, and her friend, partner, and lover Adam Lynch. Kendra and company must solve this violent and complex case to save the school, the Woodward Academy for the Physically Disabled, that helped her, and Olivia become independent.
There are plenty of red herrings that create suspenseful twists and turns. Full of mystery, danger, and a tinge of romantic friction, allows for an action-packed story.
Elise Cooper: Why reverting to Kendra’s backstory?
Iris Johansen: We were interested in Kendra’s background and wanted to dive deep into her schooling.
EC: Why the setting of San Diego California?
Roy Johansen: I go there every year for Comicon. I thought how it would be an interesting place to have the heroine from. In fact, Kendra’s first case started in San Diego County, Carlsbad California. The school is overall a fictional place but setting it in San Diego has allowed us to make it more of a character. We tried to create an intriguing location. The school is situated on the top of a tall hill with a structure that looked like it was an Ivy League campus. It has rolling hills, meadows, and cliffs that tower over the Pacific Ocean.
EC: There is a contrast between Kendra and Olivia?
RJ: When Kendra would speak to the classes some of the teachers did not want students to see her as amazing, because she got her sight and fear the students would hope for the same. Yet, through Olivia we showed that someone can be a hero without their sight. She is someone that overcame her handicap. We put in this book quote, “Olivia is still blind, yet she’s making a success of her life at every opportunity that comes her way… she never let her blindness keep her from accomplishing any goal she set herself.” In a sense, as Kendra states in the story, Olivia is a better motivational inspiration.
EC: How would you describe the relationship between Olivia and Kendra?
IJ: They are best friends that have gone through so much together, co-workers in the darkness. They are fond of, and love, each other. They consider each other family. At times, Olivia acts like an older sister. Because they have known each other since childhood, they are very close.
EC: What about the relationship between Kendra and Adam Lynch?
IJ: They are very, very attracted to each other and admire each other. With each book they are getting a little deeper and closer. They have been together for a long time, so she understands him completely. The relationship has gone from friend to partner to lover. Right now, Kendra is trying to withdraw because she is troubled by the dangerous situations his job places him in. She also doesn’t want to feel that he always must protect her. As a friend and partner, she felt much safer than being a lover. With FBI Agent Ronald Metcalf some might think there is a love triangle because he has a crush on Kendra, and she is starting to realize it. Lynch does not feel threatened and seems amused by it, because he knows Kendra just considers Metcalf a friend.
EC: Technology has helped the blind?
RJ: There are apps that have text to speech. This allows those who are blind to read and compose emails. There are also Braille keyboards where the dots come up as quickly as letters, but now a lot of emails has the computer read out loud. Another technology allows the blind to play a form of baseball called beep ball. We watched this video on you-tube and new we had to put it in the book. I go to a lot of consumer tech shows where I make notes and make sure I find a way it makes itself into the stories.
EC: How would you describe Harley the dog?
IJ: He is a mutt who is a bit crazy and very brave. Harley is affectionate, smart, intense, and loving. He is very protective of Olivia. We made him a little different since he has a weird bark that comes from a damaged voice box from a fire. We both love him.
EC: It must be challenging to have Kendra use her observational skills?
RJ and IJ: It is very challenging to write how she sees things others do not. We have to think how Kendra can perceive things about people and places. She has sharpened her senses. We did not want to tap into the paranormal. We go out of our way to make it clear that her hearing, sight, and smell are not better than anyone else’s, but she has sharpened them to help her perceive things. For example, in this story we had the BMW Series 7 key fob because it is an elongated six-sided fob that is very distinctive and is like no other fob.
EC: Who is interested in some of the actual cultural aspects?
House-Hunters TV show?
RJ: My wife and mom are very fond of the show.
Padres baseball team?
RJ: Mom is a big Braves and baseball fan. I know of Padre Stadium become it is across from the Convention Center where Comicon is held. I see Padres fans coming in and out of Padre games decked in their gear.
EC: What about your next book?
RJ: Harley and all the characters will be back. Jessie Mercado plays a big role as she and Kendra work together on a case. It is a different crime than we have done before.
Dr. Kendra Michaels, blind for the first twenty years of her life before gaining her sight via a revolutionary surgical procedure, is a renowned investigator known for her razor-sharp senses–honed during her years in the dark–and keen deductive abilities.
Now her skills are needed uncomfortably close to home. Two staff members have been murdered at a school for the blind where Kendra spent her formative years. But the murders are puzzlingly dissimilar: one victim was brutally stabbed, while the other was killed by a bullet to the head. Are the crimes related? Or is Kendra on the hunt for more than one dangerous killer?
With the killer (or killers) still on the loose, Kendra must put her life on the line to unravel a terrifying conspiracy. But Kendra soon discovers that she herself may hold the key to the deadliest secret of all..
Hindsight by Iris and Roy Johansen
Book Beginnings / First Chapter First Paragraph / Tuesday Teaser!
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