Recently, I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing STALKER STALKED by Lee Matthew Goldberg through Blackthorn Book Tours. (You can check out my “Top Guide’s Pick” review here!) Lee is the author of eight published books, the most recent of which was Stalker.
In the book, Lexi Mazur is a force to be reckoned with. Unhinged, unstable, and unwilling to accept rejection, she forges her own path to friendship and love by forcing connections with almost everyone she meets. As she grew from an abused child to someone who abuses not only people but also drugs and alcohol, what’s real and what’s not clash and create a world Lexi can neither understand nor hold on to in her desperate attempt to be accepted and loved.
When Lexi becomes the victim of her own game, everyone she knows is a potential target. Convinced her life is in danger, it’s a race to figure out who her stalker is before she ends up dead. But when you’re your own worst enemy, truth and lies become intertwined and make it very difficult to know what’s real.
Not only did I enjoy this psychological thriller, I was also super happy to be able to interview Lee after reading Stalker! So without any further ado, here we go!
Kathleen: First of all, congratulations on the release of Stalker Stalked. I understand it’s your eighth published book. Which one has been your favourite to write and why?
Lee: Stalker Stalked has actually been the most fun to write. I wrote it after my novel The Ancestor, which was very research intensive since it took place during the Alaskan Gold Rush. For Stalker Stalked, the research was watching a lot of really bad reality TV.
K: What part of Stalker did you enjoy writing the most?
L: Lexi is an interesting character to write because she’s so unhinged that anything could happen. There’s a freedom in writing someone so out there. A lot of the scenes are really wild and unexpected.
K: Conversely, what was the most difficult part of writing Stalker?
L: Because Lexi’s is so unhinged there’s a difficulty in writing her believable. It wasn’t easy to be in as chaotic a brain as hers all the time.
K: Are any of the characters in any of your books based on real people?
L: In Stalker, a lot of the characters on Socialites were based on some reality TV people, kind of a mush of a few of them together.
K: Is there typically a piece of you in any of your main characters (in any of your books)?
L: Sure, probably all of them a little bit, but typically they aren’t me. Some of Lexi’s out there humor would be the closest example.
K: What kind of research went into writing Stalker?
L: In addition to watching a lot of reality TV, I did a lot of research into addiction and pharmaceuticals.
K: What was the inspiration behind this book?
L: No real inspiration. I wanted to write a book that was a takedown of celebrity culture and social media.
K: Lexi is a female character. What made you decide to write from a female’s perspective?
L: First as a challenge. And the character and what she goes through wouldn’t have worked as a man. I had only female readers look at early drafts to make sure I got the voice right.
K: My favourite thing about this book is how voice-y Lexi is. I think you really nailed her character. How difficult was it to capture her essence through your words, given that she is female?
L: It was hard but I had also been writing my YA series in the voice of a female, so I was more used to it for Stalker. Thank you!
K: Were there any interesting parts that were edited out of the book?
L: One. Originally there were two frat guys that lived down the hall. Lexi has a fling with them one night, but it just wasn’t necessary to the plot so it got cut.
K: In your mind, what are the main characters doing now?
L: Lexi is healing from what just happened to her in the book. I think she is in a better place. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read.
K: How long on average does it take you to complete a book from start to making a deal?
L: Depends. Stalker was within a year. That’s about average.
K: What’s your typical process for celebrating the launch of a book?
L: It’s hard to celebrate that day because I’m so busy getting the word out. In non Covid times, I had launch parties at bookstores so looking forward to doing that again.
K: Who has been your biggest supporter in your writing career?
L: I’ve had a lot of support. My parents supported me since I was very little and told them this was what I wanted to do.
K: Tell me about your next book.
L: It’s called the Great Gimmelmans and it’s about a family of Jewish bank robbers in the 1980s.
So there you have it! The inside scoop on Stalker Stalked and a little bit about what goes on behind-the-scenes with Lee!
Here’s an excerpt shared with permission from Lee:
I am being watched.
This is not the first time. My stalker is smart, just like I would be. He or she finds the shadows. Shows up when I’m wasted or popped too many little blue pills. So I’ll be far enough away from reality to believe they are real. When I’m sleeping, they’re at the foot of my bed, exhaling in the dark. When I turn on the light, they scatter like a cockroach. I pick up the phone and hear their crackle on the other end. Both of us playing chicken, refusing to hang up while we breathe in each other’s pain. They left a DIE BITCH message on my door, written in blood, or at least syrup that looks like blood. They will ramp up their pursuit and attack when I least expect. I know this because that is what I would do.
As I get to my door, I check to the left and the right to locate my watcher. Sometimes when I don’t feel their presence, it makes me sad. Like I’ve done something wrong, become unworthy of their watching. Years of little blue pills make me muddy and the few vodka crans I drank toss me from side to side like I’m on a boat. I jam my key into the door and turn the lock.
My cat Sammi greets me with her marshmallow fur and drawn-out meows. Her admonishing ways. Maybe I hadn’t refilled her food bowl or scooped out the shit from her litter box. I’m sorry, Sammi, I’ve been busy trying not to die. She curls around my leg and gives an electric shock. My one true friend starting to turn because of my negligence. As I flick on the light, my eyes shut in case my watcher has gotten inside. But when I open them, only my sad apartment stares back. A bed in the corner with messed sheets. A couch facing the TV where I spend most of my time. Cheese-It crumbs and Oreo smears. Cat hair and balled-up Kleenex. I grab a pint of peanut butter swirl, take off my high heels, and flop down, fixing my skirt.
I put my tired dogs on the coffee table between the TV and the couch that holds a bowl with loose change, keys, a sooty pipe, and an old bag of cool ranch. I dig a spoon into the ice cream and observe my toes that look like Vienna sausages. I’d painted them lavender but it was a while ago and the polish started to chip like a little girl’s toenails. I turn on the TV to the latest episode of Socialites, where Magnolia Artois is hosting a charity event for furless dogs. Her friend Taylor RSVP’d that she’s coming, but hasn’t showed. The drama! It turns out that Nikki says Taylor is going to Bella’s dog event that night, who’s Magnolia’s rival from last season and had been kicked off of the show because of the abortion she lied about. (The baby never even existed.) As the opening credits roll, I hear a streaking sound from behind like someone’s cleaning my window. I’d left it open a crack, and I peer outside to see the leaves of the tree swaying in a light breeze.
I go to shut the window when a crash booms from my kitchen. A glass knocked over, shattering on the floor.
“Sammi,” I yell, but the cat is right beside me, her tail batting against the cushion, warning me.
My throat closes up. I wrench the spoon from the melting Ben & Jerry’s and thrust it at my pursuer. I’ll scoop their eyes out if need be. A car drives by casting its headlights over the TV where Magnolia and her frenemies are entering into a war of choosing sides between Bella and her. Sammi doesn’t bother protecting me and darts off into a corner.
Another glass shatters.
The kitchen bathed in darkness, but a shadow takes shape. Tall and imposing, although that could be my little blue pills making me see things.
Get it together. Get it together.
“Lexi, Lexi,” the shadow coos. A long finger beckons me toward the kitchen. In the other hand, a gleaming knife. My hair stands on end as I dash for the front door, my bare feet picking up glass shards and creating a bloody streak toward my escape.
I fling open the door but the watcher bangs it closed. Collects my tears as I collapse in its arms, the knife at my neck ready to end me for good.
My stalker with all the power.
Even I would’ve never gone this far.
About the Author:
Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the thriller novels THE ANCESTOR, THE DESIRE CARD, THE MENTOR, ORANGE CITY, SLOW DOWN, and STALKER STALKED, as well as RUNAWAY TRAIN and GRENADE BOUQUETS in his Young Adult series. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. His books are in various stages of development for film/TV.
His new endeavor is as the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe Press and Fringe Digital, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box.
His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests.
After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, Cagibi, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City.
Follow him at
- Website Leematthewgoldberg.com
- FB: https://www.facebook.com/leemgol
- IG: https://www.instagram.com/leematthewgoldberg/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeeMatthewG
Thank you Lee for being my first interviewee and satisfying my curiosity! And to Blackthorn Book Tours for allowing me the chance to read and review Stalker Stalked, as well as for putting me in touch with Lee!
If you missed my review, click the image below! 👇🏻