When all the lies that have been hidden come to light, nothing will be the
From the time she came to live with her uncle Ron after the tragic deaths
of her parents when she was a young girl, Carrie Greer never had reason to
doubt she was wanted. Now a dispatcher with the county, she’s a grown
woman building a life of her own. But after a trip to Florida, her uncle’s
attitude changes… and not for the better. While struggling to come to
terms with this shift in their relationship and all the collateral damage
it causes, another tragedy strikes. Ron Smith is murdered. And the only
person with an obvious reason to want him dead… is Carrie.
Robbie Bailey is finally free to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a
teacher. But instead of attending classes, he ends up having to return to
Leroy and to Carrie, the girl he’s been in love with since he was a
teenager. He finds himself in the position of having to convince her of
the depth of his feelings while protecting her from a vengeful killer bent
on keeping long-buried secrets hidden. And he isn’t sure he can succeed at
Deception in the Shadows is the sixth installment in the Shadows/Leroy’s
Sins Collection, a series of Romantic Suspense novels by author T. L.
Haddix. Other titles include Secrets in the Shadows, Under the Moon’s
Shadow, Shadows from the Grave, Hidden in the Shadows, and In the Heart’s
T.L. Haddix was born in Hazard, Kentucky, a small town in the center of the Appalachian coal fields. Taught to read by her grandmother, T.L. has had a life-long love affair with books, devouring whatever she could get her hands on. From childhood favorites such as the Trixie Belden series and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” books, to her current favorites from authors like Tami Hoag, Alex Kava, J.A. Jance and Lisa Kleypas (among many others), T.L. still finds refuge in the written word.
“Growing up, I wanted to be everything – astronaut, police officer, doctor, teacher, reporter, psychologist – there was no clear choice for me. I wanted to do it all. Becoming a writer has allowed me to do just that, because I can live vicariously through my characters.
A resident of eastern Kentucky, T.L. is hard at work on her next book, when she isn’t chasing after her three cat-children with her husband.
T.L Haddix was kind enough to contribute a guest post about her writing process 😀
Over the years, my process has evolved from being disorganized to super-organized, and has now drifted somewhere back toward a middle ground.
When I sat down to write the first book in the Shadows series, I had a rough idea of who my characters were. I knew they lived in a small town, I knew what their jobs were, and I knew how I wanted to proceed with their relationships. But I didn’t have detailed notes about who the characters were, about the town, about any of it. And that had to come first. No choice–if I wanted the book to make any sense and not drive myself crazy with the writing in the process, I had to get organized.
I created a series bible of sorts, though not so formal as some I’ve seen. (Though that is on my list of things to do.) In any event, once I had that down, it was time to clean up my process. And here’s roughly what I came up with.
1. Get the general idea down. This can be detailed–a long, drawn-out drama that comes to me in a dream, say–or it can be as simple as a sentence or two. For example, for “Deception in the Shadows,” the basic ideas I started with were wanting Robbie Bailey to have a romance, and wondering what would happen to a child in a certain scenario. I can’t reveal what that scenario is, as it is an integral part of the story of our heroine, Carrie, but suffice to say it’s tragic. But once that idea is written down somewhere (yes, with pen and paper), I let it ferment for a while.
2. If the idea’s time is right, more details will come in and I’ll start making general notes. Or if I find the idea particularly fascinating–I recently saw a candle through a window at dusk, and the concept, the feelings of seeing that candle, captured my imagination–I’ll sit down with pen and paper (again) and play with it. If that leads to a more firm plan….
3. …I start building an outline. I like using a particular brand of legal pad, and a particular brand of pen. At this stage, I’m still very tactile with the story. I need to literally get my hands on it. So that’s what I do.
4. By the time the outline is built, I’m ready to write. When I’m getting ready for sleep in the evenings and while I’m waking up in the mornings, I’m usually working out how best to handle whatever scene I’m working on that day. I do my Internet rounds, take care of any research questions that might come up, and then I pull up the word processor (Pages) and go to work. I usually do about ten pages a day during this phase, sometimes more if things are flowing well. At this point, I’m basically a transcriptionist, as the characters have solidified, and the scenes are playing in my head as I write.
5. If I run into any problems, I have a few things I can do to rejuvenate the creativity. First and foremost, walk away. Literally–I go outside and play with the neighbor’s dog, or walk to the top of the hill where we live. Or I clean and cook. Something I can focus on but not have to concentrate too heavily in order to do it.
6. Every day when I’m either finished writing or just starting to write, I read what I’d done the day before aloud to my husband. I am able to hear what I’ve written, and he’s able to give me feedback immediately. We’re lucky that we work and live together, so we usually do this during one of his breaks.
7. After the manuscript is done, I send it to beta readers. I don’t re-read it at that point unless I need to clean something specific up, because I don’t want to get my own eyes on it too many times. When it comes back from the betas, that’s when I review it again, reading through it start to finish, and implement any changes the betas suggest. Fix any problems they found, adjust this or that.
And that’s it. Once that’s finished, it goes to editing, then back to me, then to proofreading, then back to me, and then to formatting. And if I’m not heartily sick of the book at that point, I go through it one last time before publishing. The actual writing process can take me anywhere from twenty-one days to eight weeks. And I can’t force the words–they’re either there or not. If I try to force things, it just doesn’t turn out well. But that’s my process, that’s what works, and I’ll stick with it as long as it does.