After my most recent book Smashing Castles; how a young autistic woman discovered her authentic self came out earlier this year, I’d planned to finish writing a suspense novel I started several years ago. Then there was the women’s utopia book I’d been researching. But a spark of inspiration from a personal encounter urged me to move Up Close and Personal to the front of the list.
My usual genre is psychological suspense — light on physical violence, heavy on mental manipulation — but Up Close is definitely more thriller. I’d initially envisioned Up Close to be a fun, quirky story about a newly retired journalist who routinely embarrasses her family by asking controversial questions of strangers.
Then I met two New York literary agents at Sleuthfest 2019. After hearing my long, convoluted telling of a feel good story that eventually turns harrowing, they both urged me to write Up Close as a thriller. I protested vehemently that I don’t write James Bond; snipers, bombs, and jumping from roofs or trains to catch a bad guy just aren’t part of my repertoire.
Both agents told me that if I wanted to get traditionally published this time, I’d need to step it up. They introduced me to the domestic thriller; a style of psychological thriller that focuses on interpersonal relationships, familiar settings, and underlying causes that ignite the whole. It was then that I realized all of my novels, and even my recent book on autism, shared these characteristics.
So I took a gamble and let my writing juices fly. Since May, I’ve visited my Up Close pages five days a week, sometimes writing 1 page, sometimes writing 7. When I sit down at the computer, know what scene (chapter) I’m going to write today, and which characters are involved in that scene. But I have no clue what’s going to transpire; I attempt, sometimes more successfully than other times, to lock my super ego in the closet so I can allow the dialogue I’m hearing in my head to just flow.
And, yes, Up Close will be published through a traditional publisher — this I promise. Please help me make that happen!