After the tragic events of 9/11, bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub was haunted by two things. First, that crime rates dropped drastically in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks. “The cops were all busy downtown, and obviously everybody was distracted. I always thought if you were diabolical and wanted to do something, that was a good time to do it because the city was in chaos,” Staub says.
The other consequence that intrigued her as a suspense writer was that lower Manhattan was cut off from the rest of the world. Staub tells Show Daily, “Communications were down and you were really isolated, so I wanted to place a character down there.”
Staub waited a decade to write about that moment, “because it was so raw.” Nightwatcher (Avon) is the first book in her new trilogy, followed by Sleepwalker and the final entry, Shadowkiller.
The first book has an urban setting, while the other two take place in the suburbs. “I really listened to my readers and went back to my roots—the suburban wife,” Staub says. “That’s where I built my name in terms of writing suspense for women. I like to bring danger close to home in the place where you least expect it and explore the idea that you’re never safe, even in your own home. My readers like the idea that a villain is hiding behind a familiar face.”
A former New York City detective was a great source for Staub, who found him by using social media. “I put it on Facebook: ‘Does anyone know a New York cop who would be willing to talk to me?’ And our cousin’s husband said, ‘Yeah, my buddy John—you gotta talk to him.’ ” When Staub asked the retired detective how he felt about his fallen brothers that terrible day, he stopped her in her tracks. “That’s an FDNY thing—calling each other ‘brothers.’ Cops would never say that! They don’t call each other brothers!” Staub notes, “Those little details make something authentic, and I always like to make it as real as possible.”
A familiar face at BEA, Staub thinks the publishing industry is rebounding. “Last year everybody was scared and on shaky ground with bookstore chains closing and e-books coming out. Now people are more comfortable. There are more opportunities. There will always be books, and with e-books there’s another market—more people to buy books and more places to buy and read them. So it’s really all about things opening up in the publishing industry, not about shutting down.”