Secrets and Lies

Secrets and Lies

I’ve given a lot of thought to themes during the process of revising my manuscript these last several months. Every well-written story has at least one, and often more than one theme. The interesting thing about theme is that it usually doesn’t reveal itself until you’ve finished the first draft. Only in the full read-through and revision process does the author begin to see what the story’s really all about. And so it was with me.

Oh sure, I had a story concept in mind when I began: Forced by finances to work on the legal team defending an abusive ex who is charged with murdering his heiress girlfriend, a freelance paralegal sets out to win the high-profile case that will put her business on the map. But is she willing to face the truth about her past in order to win the case that can ensure her future?

When I began writing, I knew how the story would start, I had devised a deliciously twisty ending, and I even knew a couple of surprises that were going to happen in the middle.

What I didn’t know until recently was what this story is about. (more…)

Choosing a Setting for a Novel

Winter Trees

PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Rooney, Bold Coast Photography

As a native New Jerseyan – more importantly, a native Trentonian – my first mystery series (oh, did I  mention it’s a series?) is set in the Trenton area. This comes as a surprise to some people, who (naturally, I suppose) assumed I would set my novel in my adopted state of Maine. After all, everyone knows Maine has pea soup fog, ancient cemeteries, and tons of old falling-down-sideways houses and barns along less-traveled roads (many of them unlit and unpaved). Throw in a landscape that includes a mix of dark, foreboding evergreens and craggy, bare-branched trees with twisted arms just waiting to swoop down and grab you as you traverse said less-traveled roads – well, it’s a setting just custom-made for creepers and murderers and horrors enough to ruin your sleep patterns for years to come. I think a guy named King has pretty well established this fact.

But when choosing a setting for a novel, why go for merely spooky when you can opt for truly bizarre?  (more…)