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So what happened to Robby?


And why did Crush end the way it did? The story behind the Crush ending is one of those curves that life throws you when you least expect it.

During my research for Crush, I was introduced to the CEO of Opus One. While standing in their barrel room during a tour of the winery, he offhandedly mentioned something regarding the wine industry that I’d never heard of—and it got my thriller brain churning. Minutes later, I hit on an idea that was so intriguing that I ended up completely rewriting the outline for Crush. It transformed the story into a complex plot that was much larger in scope, one that I knew would easily span 800 pages.

But the cost of printing and shipping an 800-page hardcover, especially during the horrible recession, was a nonstarter for my publisher. I didn’t want to scrap the story because it was too cool, too original—it had never been done before—and would explore the Karen Vail character in ways I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. And I couldn’t cut it in half without destroying the story I wanted to tell. After much thought, I realized that my outline had a natural dividing line—where Crush would end and where the follow-up, Velocity, would begin.

Crush, on the surface, has the beginning-middle-end structure for the John Mayfield story arc. But when you read Velocity, it’ll be very evident as to why the story had to be told the way I did it. It actually took months of extra work for me to outline two novels at once—there are so many interconnected pieces to the puzzle, and things had to be worked out for both novels before I started writing Crush. In addition, I had to research key aspects of Velocity with the relevant federal agencies to make sure that my idea was viable. I take my research very seriously and I go to great lengths to ensure that my information is as accurate as it can be. For this storyline, that meant that I had to obtain approval from a Congressional subcommittee. The information was very sensitive and I needed to have a close working relationship with multiple aspects of their operations, their undercover agents and technical personnel. As you can imagine, this caused me months of extra work.

So what happened to Robby? The answer is complex and I can’t even give you hints without ruining the experience of reading Velocity–which will be worth your while. Velocity received a number of awards: TOP TEN list Best Books of the Year for The Strand Magazine; TOP FIVE Best Thriller of the Year for Library Journal and TOP FOUR list of the Best Thrillers of the Year for Suspense magazine.

I hope you enjoy Velocity! When you finish it, write to me here and let me know what you think.


Let’s have some fun! Enter the Crush contest:

If you’ve read Crush and read the above note, click here.

What wineries and restaurants were real and which weren’t?

Click here for info on the dozens of wineries and restaurants mentioned in Crush, along with insider tips for enjoying, drinking, and storing wine.

Part of a reading or book club group?

Click here for the Crush Reading Group guide

If you haven’t yet read Crush:

Watch the trailer here.
Read an excerpt of Crush for “a tasting”