I was the quiet little girl with glasses who always had a book, reading a Nancy Drew mystery with a flashlight deep into the night. Scaring myself from sleep, unable to reach out for help because I wasn’t supposed to be awake!
Now my youngest daughter has started doing the same thing. She reads R.L. Stine’s freaky stories about cybercrimes and stalking. And even though she reads them in the daytime, she still scares herself silly. I know how she feels. You just can’t help yourself. The thrill is too strong. The pull to lose yourself to the story.
But all those times I’ve lost myself to reading, I’ve dreamed of writing my own suspenseful novel. I graduated from Nancy Drew to Mary Higgins Clark. In fact, I still buy every novel of hers in hardback. It’s an easy read and a quick thrill. But I went farther into the dark side with novels like The Pact. The Lovely Bones. Gone Girl.
The books I write are books I like to read. Stories with a psychological twist. Stories like The Pilot’s Wife that ask the question,“How well do we really know each other?”
I think at the heart of my obsession with suspense is my preoccupation with studying human nature. That introverted quality of watching people, studying their motives. Asking questions about what really goes on in their homes.
I’m convinced we all have messes, some of us just do a better job cleaning them up than others. What a different world it would be if we aired our dirty laundry. How soul-justifying would it be to know we’re not the only ones struggling?
My stories are products of my imagination. Characters born by my asking, what if? The endings rarely tie up neatly. The events tragic. But isn’t that real life? Most of us go through trials we never expected. Make mistakes we never planned. Maybe what we can all learn is that nothing is too bad. Nothing is too far. We’re going to make mistakes.
If my stories give you a thrill, help you get lost in a story, give you an escape from real life, then I’ve accomplished my goal. If they make you think, reevaluate your relationships, realize we all need grace. Then I’ve hit the jackpot.