{Secret Library Podcast} Paula Priamos Turns Suspense Inside Out

Paula Priamos is no stranger to suspense.

She spent her childhood in courtrooms thanks to her father’s career as a defense attorney. She learned the language and the pacing of this world and dove into the underworld connected to the law when she wrote her first book, a memoir about her father’s life and death called The Shyster’s Daughter. In her second book, Inside V, Paula moves to fiction to tell a dark twisting story about a couple thrown into chaos by an accusation and subsequent trial.
In this episode, Paula and I discuss writing thrillers, character development, and how to keep suspense in a story as you write it. I was particularly taken with her desire to subvert cliche in characters by looking at how we expect certain tropes to behave: the other woman, a man accused of sexual assault, the young accuser and all the other figures that appear in the book.
If you’ve thought about writing thrillers, this episode will have you on your way. There is no shortage of readers out there who love to read them, so if thrillers are calling your name, listen up and get writing!

Listen Up on iTunes or Stitcher | Paula’s Site | The Shyster’s Daughter | Inside V | Facebook | Twitter

Discussed in Episode 87 with Paula Priamos

  • How early in writing a suspense novel do you know what the ending is going to be?
  • “I first started with the characters.” On beginning her latest book.
  • Important for her to write supporting characters that were fully fleshed out, not one-dimensional.
  • Using settings.
  • “I wanted to immortalize my relationship with my dad.” On her memoir, The Shyster’s Daughter.
  • “I’m not afraid of the blank page.” On starting her books in blank notebooks.
  • “Their lives start to play out in my head.” On starting the first scenes.
  • “You don’t know how you did it but you’re just happy it worked out.” On those elusive moments of writing flow.
  • “They can drive you crazy.” On living with the characters in your novel.
  • “It anchors you. It gives you a compass that you’re a writer first.” On writing every day, around a day job.
  • “It makes me feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.” On writing every day.
  • “Even bad writing can somehow turn into good writing.” On staying engaged, even when its not going well.
  • “As long as you care about the language, you’re a literary writer.” On the flexibility of the literary genre.
  • “It has to have some type of meaning behind it or else why read it, or why write it?” On knowing what your story is about.
  • “It’s a certain type of freedom, to write in a notebook first.” On staying away from technology on first drafts.
  • The writing is the best part of the entire book producing process.

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