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Welcome to Thriller Words: CherAnn Wright's Blog of all things books, writing, and words.

Updated: Feb 24

My Road To Get Here


Let me first say Hello for those of you that I've never met in person, but hope that I will have the pleasure of doing so some day. My name is CherAnn (pen name) and I thought it would be a great idea to tell you a little bit about myself and how I came to be where I am now.

 

For over fourteen years I have taught in the public school system, with a focus in special education and science. I've taught kiddos from the ages of five up to eighteen and am currently teaching tenth and eleventh graders the amazing subjects of Chemistry and Biology.

 

Even though teaching is a passion of mine, my greatest is by far writing. From the time I was a pre-teen, I started writing poetry as a means of survival and escape from a traumatic childhood. Most of my poetry stemmed from a dark place, but brought me through many battles of trauma, and if anyone were to read it now, they could clearly hear it in my words. Writing was and will always be my safe place.

 

I think as a writer, it's impossible not to write without putting a piece of yourself into your work. When the ink bleeds onto the page, so does the writer's inner most thoughts, fears, and dreams. Which brings me to my first novel, Where Secrets Stay. The novel first began as a memoir. The thought of writing a novel wasn't even on the radar at that time; at least not in my conscious thoughts. As I began to write my first memoir, I wasn't prepared for the buried emotions that I had stuffed away somewhere inside little crypts in the far back of my mind. The childhood memories that I had carefully packed away, never to be thought of again, had decomposed just enough that when I uncovered them, they were vile, overpowering, and almost more than I could handle. That is when I decided to take those memories and give them to someone else. I gave them to the character of my first novel.

 

If you've read Where Secrets Stay, then you know that the main character, Kevan Renee survives a horrible childhood. In fact, her childhood was my childhood. As I wrote the novel, I continued to give my horrid memories to her and in doing so, was able to let go of them myself. They still exist, but they don't hurt anymore. Just as my life now has a happy ending (far from over), so did Kevan's. By writing her happy ending, and planning future character's happy endings, I'm shape-shifting my own life with better beginnings and endings. With each word I pour onto the page, I’m turning my dreams into reality.

 

My First Novel

 

Now that I've given you a little bit about why and how I came to write my first novel, let's dive into the details of writing, Where Secrets Stay.

 

Writing a novel is no small feat. In fact, it's a rocky road with potholes (big ones), roadblocks (self-doubt and lack of knowledge), and curves (lots of them which are too many to list). I wanted to quit on numerous occasions but my dream of achieving it and my family wouldn't allow that to happen.

 

Writing a psychological thriller means getting down and dirty with your psyche. You have to allow your mind to think about doing things that it knows is wrong; physically and morally. You can do anything you want to in your mind and get away with it. Let's face it, we all have thoughts that we don't want others to know about.

 

What made my first novel a real challenge was focusing on originality. I knew I needed to set my novel apart from all the other amazing psychological thrillers out there; and there are plenty that have set the bar high. There are so many genres, writing styles, and structures. There's three act structure, seven-point plot, hero's journey, the snowflake method, and there's even one by a cat; Save the Cat Writes a Novel. I had no idea what I was doing. What ended up working best for me, was reading lots of books and then I read some more. A writer has to read in order to write. At least, that was the case for me. Believe it or not, my best writing happens when I run...and listen to an audiobook. Whenever a thought hits me, I speak it into the notes on my phone to have for later use.

 

Back to the psyche. As a writer one must be able to peel back the layers of the character's mind. What are their vulnerabilities and fears, and how can I use that to captivate or even terrify my readers? As a psychological thriller fan who craves that roller coaster ride in a story, I want my readers to experience the things that I like to experience when I read, and still set my story apart from others.

 

I've had several people ask me if I took the time to plan out my first novel. The answer is, nope. I'm a complete pantser. I flew completely by the seat of my pants. I had no idea that what started out as my life's story was going to occur the way it did. The character's and the story unfolded as I wrote it. I wrote many parts of the novel and hated it only to toss it out and start again. I tossed at least fifty-thousand words. I finally had to tell myself it's time to send it out into the world. Or to an editor. I don't teach English in my day job!

 

Many say that concluding a psychological thriller is the hard part. I didn't find it hard for my first novel, contrary to Book 2 which I am attempting to conclude right now. In Where Secrets Stay, the story is so dark, I knew that I had to give the reader some closure to a harrowing story. It definitely needed a happy ending. For Book 2, I'm finding it hard to end this novel. I'm not sure if it's because I don't want it to end, or if it's I can't decide if I want it to have a happy ending or if I want to leave the reader with a jaw drop.

 

I guess you'll have to wait until Book 2 's releases to find out.

 

Until Next Blog

 

For my next blog, I'll break down the character's of Where Secrets Stay and give you more of a sneak peak into Book 2. Feel free to contact me with any comments or questions. I'd be happy to hear from you.


All my best, CherAnn




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I loved getting a glimpse into your process in writing Where Secrets Stay. Hope to see you in the future at a book signing!

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