Kris Landis takes readers on a gripping journey to rural Ohio through the lens of NYC based journalist Logan in his debut novel, Murder at Daybreak. Landis is heavily influenced by Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, and Michael Chabon in his writing through compelling storytelling and complex character development. We were lucky enough to join Kris in discussing his process while writing Murder at Daybreak.
1. Where did you find the inspiration for your book?
That’s always a hard question to answer, because, at least for me, ‘inspiration’ isn’t like an A-HA! Moment, it’s a lot of little things all coming together to form an idea. Daybreak itself was modeled on a couple of small towns in Ohio where I live, that I’d visit as a child with my grandparents. As far as the mystery itself, it just grew out of my love of the true crime genre. I wanted to write a mystery novel in that ‘true to life’ style of great true crime books, kind of ‘fictional non-fiction’.
2. How does this project compare to your previous works?
This is my first novel, so there isn’t much to compare it to! Everything else I’ve done has been non-fiction, soccer based writing, so this will be quite the departure!
3. What’s your favorite part or piece in this work?
That’s tough, especially to try to talk about things without spoilers! The growth of a couple of the
characters is something I’m quite proud of, but I can’t give too much away, so I’ll tell you about a
moment in the book that I took from my own life that I think I really captured. The main character is driving down a small, rural Ohio road at night, and a fierce rainstorm breaks loose. It’s coming down so hard that he can’t see more than a few feet in front of him, and can’t even make out the lines on the road. Something similar happened to me and it was such a weird, almost surreal experience, like something out of a movie, it definitely stuck with me. Hopefully it comes across in the book.
4. What do you hope your readers get out of this book?
My hope is that readers get an entertaining, captivating mystery experience. One of the things I really wanted to do was capture the “real life” feeling of good true crime, where you feel like you’re right there with the author, digging into the case, investigating, and hopefully solving it. I hope readers feel like they can ‘see’ Daybreak, the town, and feel like they really know some of the characters.
5. How has the response been so far?
Not too many people have read it, but their response was very positive. As far as support, I’ve been overwhelmed with how many people seem excited for the book.
6. What’s next for you? What are you currently working on?
That’s the big question, isn’t it? I have more partially written projects started than I care to admit, all of which I like too much to give up on, meaning I haven’t settled on one ‘next’ project, which is absolutely not the way to get anything done. A Sampling: a High-School Noir, a literary fiction novel about making a cursed movie, a sci-fi detective story, and a novel about internet mysteries.