Inside the Mind of a Thriller Writer

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

If you're a big-time reader, then you know that fiction writers can be broken up into a variety of genres. It's another way of typecasting the author and placing them under specific classifications.

We often hear that actors are typecasted into roles and pigeon-holed as the bad guy, good guy, jokester, hopeless romantic, and so on. Some may say it's a bad thing to be placed under one umbrella, but I take pride in being called a "thriller writer." While the McKenna Mystery Series has also fallen under crime fiction, suspense, and mystery, thriller holds a place near and dear to my heart, and this is why.

It was 1982 and I was three-years-old. My tiny toddler body sat on the floor in front of the boxy television set in our apartment in Manchester, New Hampshire. I clung to the blanket that I had named "Nah Nah," my innocent eyes taking in the frightening scenes before me. A little girl with similar features to mine...pale blonde hair and blue eyes, stared back at me as she reached toward the television screen in front of her.

I think you know where I'm going with this one. The only thing that made the Poltergeist star, Carol Anne Freeling and me different was the fact that she had blunt bangs that cut across her forehead and an ability to communicate with ghosts through a television set. Besides my parents, she was my first role model. I so badly wanted to be thrust into her world of horror that I sat in front of the TV for hours, watching intently as supernatural forces and ghost hunters with creepy voices took over the screen.

Much to my mother's horror, I didn't flinch. Not one fearful tear rolled down my cheek. I didn't scream or cover my eyes the way some kids do when they see a chilling image. While other toddlers were playing with dolls and donning their frilly princess dresses, I was admiring Carol Anne, longing to be cast into her world.

Fast forward to the launch of Michael Jackson's Thriller music video. Having seen my fair share of scary settings, the release of this video only bolstered my love of Halloween and terrifying images. In fact, I made it my mission to learn all the dance moves, hoping that one day I'd be able to showcase them in a flashmob.

Some things in life are learned while others are innate. It took me years to embrace my inner-creepiness, and now, I'm beyond proud to fall under the category of "thriller writer."

Maybe one day, Carol Anne will come back to life in one of my books. ;)

To get into the mind of yours truly, check out the McKenna Mystery Series.

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