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Tell Me A Secret

I've always been curious. Okay, I'm nosy. If you text or email me, you're bound to endure a barrage of questions instead of a simple "nice to hear from you" reply. If you drop by for a visit, I will invariably ask about your shoes, your opinions, childrearing ideas, vacations, house projects, and where you got those really cool sunglasses. I can't help myself. It's the writer in me needing to learn the tidbits of your life not only because I'm interested in you, but because I'm on the prowl. Yes, your offhand remarks often make it into my writing projects. Your casual gestures, random comments, and secrets.

Before you unfriend me on FB or remove my name from your contact list, let me explain. Know this: I never reveal my sources. Anything you say that may inspire or encourage me truly is safe in my keeping because I don't give you credit for your revelations. I transfer your words to the mouths of my characters. Those little gestures that only you make are surreptitiously slipped into a story. The way your mouth puckers when you are thinking becomes the dominant trait of a protagonist. A favorite turn of phrase will be credited to a supporting character. And your secrets? Well, they are the stock-in-trade of a suspense writer.

Your first kiss, a secret crush, where you wish you worked, a pending breakup. Those regrets you reveal to very few. All of these topics and a thousand more are fair game for a fiction writer. Who doesn't want to know the juicy gossip of others' lives? Even if you don't subscribe to that kind of thing, there are moments--even if just a few--that you get reeled in.

But sharing secrets can be hurtful and even dangerous. In real life. In the psychological suspense novels I write, they are harmless and entertaining. After all, it's my job as a writer to keep things unknown, including their true source. That's the real secret of this genre's success.

I've often considered creating a newsletter titled TELL ME A SECRET. A place where people can share (anonymously or not) their own secrets. From silly to serious, I would draw the line only at criminal behavior. We can save that for the pages of your favorite suspense novel. If you like the idea and want to participate, let me know. You can reach me on the contact page below.

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