It's my pleasure to introduce to you the sweet, funny and immensely talented, Jeanne Adams. A former marketing executive, Jeanne also has degrees in interior design and landscape design, worked in the funeral and cemetery business for several years and teaches classes on fascinating topics such as Body Disposal. Is it any wonder she's a successful suspense writer? A busy wife and mother of two boys, she now works as a consultant and full-time writer of thrilling romantic suspense novels like her recent release, Deadly Little Secrets. For more information about Jeanne, check out her website here. You can also connect with her at facebook, twitter and at the Romance Bandits. Please help me welcome Jeanne to The Romance Dish!
I Didn't See It Coming....or The Big Twist.
By Jeanne Adams
I love hearing those six words..."Oh, I didn't see THAT coming!' When someone says it about one of my books, it just makes me want to bounce in my tatty office chair and clap my hands like a six-year-old. It's such a delight to pull off a good twisty ending. It's so wonderful to have a reader tell me they enjoy it, to tell me that I've been subtle enough about all the clues so that it doesn't seem like the villain has a neon sign over his head saying, GUILTY!!!
My latest book, Deadly Little Secrets, has been out for almost two weeks now and I'm (blessedly! happily!) starting to receive email from readers about it. Universally the overwhelmingly consistent comment has been about the twist at the end.
There are variations on the theme, but in most of them, those lovely words keep coming. "WOW, I SO didn't see that coming!" Grins. I even got this comment from my editor. How cool is THAT?
I have to confess that this book was very fun to write. I do plot my books, but only minimally, which means that I mostly fly by the seat of my pants for the balance of the story. This does make it very, very interesting when you choose to twist and turn and double-back the story on itself to keep people guessing. At one point, I was three quarters of the way through the manuscript version of Deadly Little Secrets, and found myself thinking...now where was I going with that bit again? Ha! I had to go read the story from the beginning so I could pick up that plot thread.
So you can see, it's sometimes hard to make that balance between making the story so twisted up that readers (and the writer!) get confused, and leading the reader through the logic of twists and turns so that they, like the hero and heroine, uncover the clues that make the story and their relationship, go forward. Interestingly enough, when you write twisty books, you get better and better at spotting the clues as you read other suspenses and mysteries. That, more than anything, is what makes is SO special when you actually DO pull it off. That said, I've read many a wonderful book where I figured out the plot twists, but still thoroughly enjoyed the story. For me, figuring it out doesn't make the story less entertaining, and if the story's good, it's good, and I'll go back to it and buy more from that author. I'm sure this happens to editors all the time, with the sheer volume of material they read. (Which again, is what made it so special that I "caught" my editor with the twist!)
Now, having said all that (and, alas, being a bit less modest than I probably should) I do love a good book with a good twist that keeps me guessing alllll the way through. One of my favorites, in terms of not being able to figure it out till the very end, is Scott Turow's Presumed Innocent. Oh, my goodness, talk about not seeing it coming! And the movie? They completely captured the essence of the twist there as well.
Then there are the early books in Patricia Cornwell's series featuring Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta. In the first three, especially, I confess to being completely bamfoozled when "whodunit" was revealed. Cornwell's books are dense, packed with detail and WHAMMO! a twist at the end. Superb! Then there's Dan Brown's DaVinci Code. Oh, my. Now, there's a twist! There are tons more both in regular suspense fiction and romantic suspense, of course, but those come to mind as books where I sat, open-mouthed, thinking...Whoa! Didn't see THAT coming!
Now that I've prattled along, what do you think? Do you love a twist at the end of a book, or do you like figuring it out along the way without the surprise?
Are you a reader who usually figures it out before the end? Have you ever been surprised into a "Whoa!" moment? Care to share which authors got you?
Does getting that twist, that surprise at the end, make you eager for another book by that author?
Let's have some fun and talk about some twists! At the end of the day, we'll pick a random winner for a Dark and Deadly Little Gift pack.