Carolyn Lee Adams
Expected publication: June 16th 2015 by Simon Pulse
YA > Thriller
256pages (kindle edition)
arc via publisher



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Iteen struggles to retain hope—and her sanity—while on the run from a cunning and determined killer.
Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.
When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup trick, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.
At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.
The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.
Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.


[tour schedule]




  1. Hi Carolyn! Thanks for stopping by on the blog!! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 🙂 — Thank you so much for having me here, Paula! Outside the obvious I am a stand-up comedian and like to call myself the Queen of the Hobos. I travel a lot for comedy and love driving across this beautiful country of ours, whilst getting into various shenanigans. I am a big fan of shenanigans, also tom foolery.
  2. Ruthless is your debut novel, is this the genre you really want to write? Why? — I was literally born to write horror and thrillers. I was born on Halloween. My mother read Edgar Allan Poe to me when I was little, as well as a collection of other dark poems (e.g. “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson). To top it off, I grew up near the dumping grounds of Gary Ridgway, aka the Green River Killer, the most prolific serial killer in US history. By the time I was in the 6th grade I was reading Stephen King and my future was set.
  3. Describe your main character, Ruth, in 5-7 words for us. — Ruthless. Repressed. Brave. Sadistic. Admirable. Selfless. Selfish.
  4. Your book cover is really spine chilling, but will you change it if you could? — Ha! I did change it! The initial version of Ruthless featured a far less fierce Ruth and the title was in gray. I prided myself on being chill throughout this process—I had three editors and didn’t bat an eye—but when I saw that cover I freaked out. The cover was, without a doubt, classy and beautiful. But in my opinion it was too classy and beautiful. I thought it looked like a Noxzema ad. More importantly, how would people see that monochrome cover in a bookstore? I asked for the title to be put in yellow and for Ruth to be made ruthless. I wanted it to look like a gritty warning sign. Once those changes were made I fell in love with the cover. The headlights at night, the forest, the bloody scratches — all of these things came together in a wonderfully evocative way.
  5. Who is your favorite character to write? and the not-so-favorite one? Can you share us why? — Truly, this is a two-person play. Ruth and the Wolfman. In my first draft, Wolfman was nothing but a shell of a character. I received notes from an editor friend of mine telling me what I already knew – that the first draft didn’t tell you anything about Wolfman. I went back and wrote his backstory. His backstory only constitutes 5,000 words but they were the most difficult 5,000 words I’ve ever written. Every day I paced around my living room, sick to my stomach. I’d write a paragraph or two, then pace some more. I did this for a month. I wrote solidly for a month’s time, nauseous every day, pacing in circles. Although the Wolfman is the villain, I feel for him deeply. His character arc is the aspect of Ruthless I am most proud of. So in that way, he is my favorite. Ruth, by contrast, evokes far less sympathy in me, in part because we are very similar creatures. I don’t have so much sympathy for myself, and therefore not so much for Ruth. My challenge in writing Ruth was to find a soft spot in my heart for her, to have mercy on her, to forgive her for her failings and in so doing forgive myself for my own.
  6. Is there something weird, funny or even a scary thing that happened while writing Ruthless? — When it comes to weird, some might find it weird that Ruthless started out as a dream. I dreamt the first three chapters, woke up, wrote them, and then just kept going. As far as scary goes, my husband of ten years left me when I was halfway done with the first draft. We’d been together since I was eighteen. I’d never lived alone. I’d never been a real adult. He had taken care of paperwork and bills and such. And that is absolutely terrifying – to find yourself alone, jobless, and on your own with zero prospects for a traditional career. My response to this was to become a stand-up comedian and finish a novel while working as a receptionist at my parents’ accounting firm. Ruth makes some very high-risk decisions in her struggle to survive, and as I said, we are very similar creatures. At the end of the day, I believe following your bliss will be rewarded. Writing and performing is my bliss. I followed it. And I was extremely fortunate it all worked out.
  7. What will readers expect from the romance aspect in this book? — Hmmm…they can expect to find Ruth at her most unlikable? Unfortunately, when it comes to romance Ruth has her toughest lessons to learn.
  8. Are you working on something new already? Do you have a WIP that you can tell us about? 🙂 — Oh goodness, I wish it were new. The novel I completed before Ruthless is called THE BOOK OF EZRA. Whereas Ruthless is a lean, fast little novel, Ezra was once longer than The Goblet of Fire. (I’ve since cut it down significantly.) I’m still working on Ezra and I believe it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. Set in 1894 in an Upstate New York Poor House and Insane Asylum, Ezra is the story of a teenaged boy abandoned by his wealthy parents because they are ashamed of his incurable condition. Upon arrival, a handful of insane inmates turn up dead, supposedly due to neglect. Ezra, however, has his suspicions that something else, something not quite human, is behind the horrors of the asylum. It is a horror/thriller and speaks straight to the heart of everything I believe most deeply.
  9. Lastly, is did you watch or read anything to inspire you while writing ruthless? — I learned a lot from watching I Survived on the Bio Channel. That show remains my favorite reality show of all time. The beautiful simplicity of it, the survivors telling their stories, the lone cello over a flat landscape – it is haunting in the best way possible. Prior to watching that show I did not realize how often bystanders fail to assist those in desperate need. I was horrified by this recurring theme in the show and it made a deep mark on my psyche. I can’t imagine not taking action in such a situation.





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Carolyn Lee Adams is originally from the Seattle area, breeding ground of serial killers and those who write about them. She attended USC Film School and graduated with a BFA in screenwriting. RUTHLESS (Simon Pulse, Summer 2015) is her first novel. When she isn’t exploring the dark side of human nature in her writing, you’ll find her on stage as a stand-up comedian. Because those things go together.














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