Hi, Erica! You're from the Tri-Cities, right? Where are you living now?

I was born in Seattle, Washington and raised on the breathtaking Puget Sound. However, I moved to the Tri-Cities in late 2003. I remember Road 68 before it was developed, to give you an idea of the massive growth the area has seen in the past 20 years.

I’m currently in Las Vegas, Nevada, seeking adventures and thrills that only Sin City can offer! The climate and terrain are surprisingly similar to the Tri-Cities, which helps me feel a little more at home.

What do you miss most about the Tri-Cities?

I miss the Tri-Cities dearly! I miss the ability to drive anywhere within twenty minutes and what Tri-Citians call ‘traffic’. I miss the small-town culture with the large city variety. Right now, I’m yearning for a sunny Saturday with a slight breeze on the Columbia River with loved ones, cocktail in hand. Thankfully, there are direct flights, allowing me to visit friends and family often, as well as my favorite wineries!

Your debut novel, Among Wolves, was just released at the end of 2022 and is doing quite well. Can you tell us a little about it? Spoiler free, of course.

When strangers ask what I write about, I always deliver the same answer with a smile: “Sex and murder.” Their reaction immediately tells me if they’re my target audience! *Giggles*

Among Wolves delivers a sexy and thrilling journey as police investigate a string of local murders. Each victim is a woman, each dies the same way, and each is linked to Sophia Claire’s husband, Robert Claire. Readers will fear for Sophia’s safety as she uncovers Robert’s secrets and begins to question her own reality, and eventually, her sanity.

The story takes place in Deep River, Washington. Where is Deep River?

When opening Among Wolves, readers will find the usual disclaimer declaring any resemblance as merely coincidental for legal purposes. Though, if one pays attention, they may manage to establish places that are familiar to this area. *Winks* Prosser and Seattle are mentioned by name with major plot points occurring in both, as are the Columbia River and I-82.

Tell us a little about yourself. What is your writing process?

I LOVE learning, absorbing as much information as I can during my short stay on this strange little planet. With writing, I’m given the opportunity to freely research any topic I desire as I create art with words. For example, thanks to the research conducted while writing my second novel, I now hold slight knowledge of body suspension (don’t Google this if you’re squeamish).

My writing process isn’t unique compared to fellow authors. There’s a little bit of crying. Maybe a curse word uttered while vacantly staring at the blinking cursor. *Smiles* At the end, a novel appears. Voilà!

How did you come up with the main character?

Writing Sophia was a character analysis of relationship dysfunction plus the materialistic consumerism in our country. She hides her insecurities behind fashion labels and societal identities that are perceived to be elevated in our culture. This is something we can easily see when scrolling through social media nowadays.

Are you planning to write any more novels set in Deep River?

Yes! All my novels will be set in Deep River. My next novel has a new female protagonist I’m eager to introduce, but also some memorable characters from Among Wolves. Just like any location the size of Tri-Cities, lives inadvertently bridge in unexpected ways, connecting us all with a single thread. Weaving these characters and timelines together has been challenging but incredibly rewarding. I can’t wait for readers to connect the literary dots between the two books!

Will you move back to the Tri anytime in the near future?

Right now, I’m enjoying life as a tumbleweed, blowing wherever the weirdness of life takes me. I do see myself retiring in the Tri-Cities. We’ll see where life takes me until then!

I hear you’re published in other countries, Russia being one of those countries. Did you worry about publishing there with everything that’s happening with the war in Ukraine?

Yes. Once my amazing literary agent introduced the offer, I took a few days to research the company and ponder. I found that Eksmo — my publisher in Russia — had openly spoken out against the war. I’m proud to sign with a company that is one of the largest publishing houses in Russia and has the fortitude to speak their condemnation of the Russian-initiated war. I’m also thrilled to be published anywhere that actively practices extensive censorship. Russia’s leadership threatens jail time and fines to those who publish anything that does not follow its strict narrative. Thankfully, my publisher is willing to blaze through the political attack on free speech.

Any advice to new authors regarding the debut experience with traditional publishing?

Get used to rejection and embrace adaptability.

Rejection began with finding a literary agent, and I was lucky enough to find the best fit for me. Then the search for a publisher began, which is similar to the search for a literary agent. Once the book finally hit the market after missing two publishing dates that I’d spent a few grand on advertising, the reviews began flooding in. I hardly flinch at a negative review now because rejection is an element of the entire process. However, I find intense joy in the positive reviews, knowing someone enjoyed the ride my imagination created for them!

When can we expect to see book number two?

I’m unsure, as the publishing process of Among Wolves wasn’t without various unexpected difficulties that pushed the publish date a few months. If I have my way, book two will be in the readers’ hands by early 2024. I know that sounds far away, but we’re already halfway through 2023! Summer will be over before you know it, then it will be time for the holidays here in the U.S. I will keep eager fans well-informed via my social media, of course.

Where can readers find Among Wolves?

Shop locally! Adventures Underground on George Washington Way has a few copies left. Among Wolves is also available online at any major retailer.

Erica Blaque’s debut novel, Among Wolves, qualified for the 2023 Anthony Awards as “Best First Novel” after selling out online at Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and Target within days of its publishing date. When she’s not conducting in-person interviews, or running the gauntlet of book signings (signed copies are available at The Mysterious Bookshop), this homesick author is wishing all Tri-Citians a happy summer from a place even drier and hotter — the Mojave Desert.

Website: www.ericablaque.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/erica.blaque

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ericablaque

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