Jaime Jo Wright is the author of ten novels, including Christy Award and Daphne du Maurier Award–winner The House on Foster Hill and Carol Award–winner The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She’s also a two-time Christy Award finalist and the ECPA bestselling author of The Vanishing at Castle Moreau (2023), as well as two Publishers Weekly bestselling novellas. Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her family and cats.

In this interview, Jaime Jo shares some of her insights behind her latest book, Night Falls on Predicament Avenue.

FF: Can you tell us a little about your new novel Night Falls on Predicament Avenue?
For sure! This story evolved after I read a newspaper article from the late nineteenth century about a house that was discovered with a horrific crime scene but no victim. That led me into the deep, dark recesses of how it might work when there’s obviously been a crime, and yet there’s no one left to grieve and no one to punish. Thus developed the mystery around 322 Predicament Avenue and all that comes with it.

FF: How do you invent the locations for your eerie tales? What is essential to creating a compelling setting for a thriller?
I must admit, I like to draw on the horror tropes of the past, and haunted houses are the most classic. But any place that’s been abandoned can be a compelling setting, and there are so many abandoned places throughout the world! I love the old and the concept of “if walls could talk,” and sometimes those abandoned places are lost lakes, or creepy algae-covered ponds, or hollowed-out oak trees. The equation is simple: Abandoned + Intriguing = Compelling.

FF: What sets this book apart from your previous novels?
This book is different from my other novels in that it’s a little less twisty and more murderous in nature. Many of my books have taken the reader through a maze of clues and intricate weaving from past to present. Yet this story revolves around two pretty straightforward crimes, one location, and those lives that were forever changed by the horrors the house conceals.

FF: This is not your first dual-time novel. What draws you to this plot structure?
Because we can’t live today without being touched by the past. The past is instrumental in determining the future, and seeing how stories intersect—sometimes without anyone ever realizing it—is fascinating to me. It’s the idea that if one thing in the past was changed, the future would be forever altered. So how do they work together? What influences our present, and who would we be if the past had been dealt a different ending?

FF: Writing suspense involves a good deal of foreshadowing. Do you plan this out or let it come to you as you write?
A bit of both. I try to have a general skeleton of the present-day plot so the past can also foreshadow it. It’s biblical actually in the context of how the Old Testament is foreshadowed in the New Testament. In my fiction world, however, I never know when the story might take a severe right angle from what was planned, so the muscle and sinew of my foreshadowing is fleshed out during the writing process.

FF: Effie and Norah, the two female protagonists, share some similarities but also some key differences. What differentiates them from each other?
Both of them are on the timid side, yet I found that in Effie’s story, her sister inspires her toward courage and bravery, while on Norah’s side, her sister’s story creates a chasm of fear and reclusiveness. Each sister has such an extreme reaction to her sister’s own path that while they’re being shaped by them, they all seem to be moving in opposite directions. It was an interesting emotional journey to go on in exploring how grief and trauma can affect people so differently.

FF: Fear plays a major role in this suspense novel. Without giving any spoilers, can you describe a bit of what readers can expect while reading Night Falls on Predicament Avenue?
This story involves a cold-case crime and a current crime, one without a killer and another without a victim. It brings an old Victorian home to life—and not in a good way. Of course, there are the ghostly elements that tickle the back of your neck when you’re least expecting it, and for those readers who like a little romance, I included some of that for good measure too.

FF: Another hallmark of your uniquely crafted novels is the effect of the ending on the reader. Can you explain what sets your novels apart from other suspense/thriller novels in the genre?
My novels are different in that the endings don’t just resolve. Instead, they leave the reader with a spark of hope, which isn’t something you typically find in a novel of this genre. I want to write real characters, those who are relatable and authentic with both internal and external complications beyond the thrill, something readers can grab hold of and say “Yeah, that’s me!” I want to leave the reader with the thought Maybe there can be hope at the end of the horror. I think that’s important, hope.

FF: Can you share what you’re working on next?
I won’t say too much, but picture butterflies as death omens, Prohibition, and a mother whose legacy terrifies long after she’s dead. It’s a doozy. I’m in the middle of writing it now, and my head is spinning!

Night Falls on Predicament Avenue
Jaime Jo Wright
Bethany House
Genres: Mystery/Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: April 9, 2024

ISBN-10: ‎0764241451
ISBN-13: ‎978-0764241451

Book Summary:
As the walls of the house at Predicament Avenue reveal their hidden truths, two women—generations apart—discover that fear and foreboding are no respecters of time.

In 1910, Effie James is committed to doing anything to save her younger sister, who witnessed a shocking murder, leaving her mute and in danger of the killer’s retribution. Effie must prove what her sister saw, but when a British gentleman arrives, he disrupts Effie’s quest with his attempts to locate his wife, Isabelle Addington, who was last seen at the supposed crime scene in the abandoned house at 322 Predicament Avenue. Just as Effie discovers what she seeks, she finds that the blood staining the walls will forever link her to a scandal she couldn’t imagine, and to a woman whose secrets promise to curse any who would expose them.

A century later, Norah Richman grapples with social anxiety and grief as she runs her late great-aunt’s bed-and-breakfast on Predicament Avenue. But Norah has little affection for the house and is committed only to carrying out her murdered sister’s dreams until crime historian and podcaster Sebastian Blaine arrives to investigate the ghostly legacy of the house’s claim to fame–the murder of Isabelle Addington. When a guest is found dead, the incident is linked to Isabelle’s murder, and Norah and Sebastian must work together to uncover the century-old curse that has wrapped 322 Predicament Avenue in its clutches and threatens far more than death.


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About The Author

Jaime Jo Wright is the author of the acclaimed novels The House on Foster Hill and The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas. Jaime works as a human resources director in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and two children.