A.J. Scudiere will be my guest on The G-ZONE Weds. Sept. 28th @12pm EST. Here is a little something to get the ball rolling before the interview:
The writing of a thriller is just as much of a puzzle as the story itself is . . .
When I started writing God’s Eye, I already knew how the story would go. I knew which character was the demon and which was the angel. I knew what Katharine would have to go through to find her way and what the path she eventually chose would be. But I didn’t always know how it would play out.
Writers often talk about how their characters take over and dictate what happens and how books take on a life of their own. I find that to certainly be true. In God’s Eye, Katharine’s life is disrupted by strange happenings that make her think she’s losing her mind. When she realizes that she’s a pawn in an old and ugly battle between a demon and an angel, she starts to believe insanity is the better option. The worst part is – though she knows who is after her and that she’ll have to make a choice – she can’t tell good from evil. So how can she choose?
To me, the work of the book isn’t in the writing, but in paying attention to the ‘what to tell when’. If you – the reader – can figure it all out too soon, the thrill is nearly gone. If you can’t figure it out at all, then where’s the joy in that?
Though the work is in figuring out what clues to put into the story and when, that’s also where the fun is. It’s part of why I love writing so much. To start, I have a two-fold plan for each book: I want you to be able to turn pages and just enjoy it but I also want you to have more if you want it. There are uncountable clues that are buried in each of my books that will help you solve the puzzle. And though you’ll get the answer at the end, not all of the clues will be pointed out.
The best books give you what you came for. In a thriller, what you came for is a surprise. If you can see the ending too early, there’s no suspense. And if you don’t have enough information, then you can get confused or frustrated with the author. There’s definitely an art to writing suspense. I find that thriller readers are usually smart . . . and that the best suspense novels acknowledge that intelligence.
I write for everyone who loves an edge-of-your-seat puzzle and for everyone who ever wondered if Margaret Atwood intentionally named the main character in The Handmaid’s Tale “Offred”. (The handmaids are identified by the red they wear and are named for the man they belong to. Atwood’s lead is both “Of-Fred” and “Off-Red”.) I always loved that dichotomy and include unspoken pieces like that in all my books. For example, if you check the meanings of my lead character’s name in God’s Eye – she’s Katharine Geryon – you find out some interesting things about her. And at the end of the book, you’ll learn something interesting about the cover, too.
My goal as a writer is not just to keep you up into the wee hours, but to give you enough information to solve the puzzle and also enough to make you doubt yourself. You, the reader, should mirror the main character . . . you get to go on Katharine’s ride with her, from the safety of your big comfy chair, late at night, with those little noises just beyond what the light illuminates, and with a growing concern about what lurks on the other side of the dark.
God’s Eye releases on Oct 1st
Resonance and Vengeance are both available in paperback, all e-reader formats, and AudioMovies.