I’m not ashamed to be judgemental when it comes to child beauty pageants. The idea of dressing up little girls like mini-adults, with make-up and all, seems preposterous, if not outright perverted, to me. Have you ever wondered what happens to a girl once she outgrows her claim to fame and is confronted with having to cope in the real world?
A puzzling question—one that drove me to explore the psychological damage those kids experience (make no mistake, they do). Luckily I had the guidance of a well-known juvenile forensic psychiatrist who works with inmates of a youth penitentiary. Out of that research, Tiara was born in my head, and had to be brought to paper. Sure, she is a fictitious character, and sure what happens to her is extreme and does not happen to all the pretty little girls…but it might.
I write thrillers for entertainment… so, be entertained by my fictitious take on a ruthless child-exploitation industry catering to ruthless fame-crazy parents.
While writing, Tiara somehow took over the story, surprising me with her resilience, her unusual approach to cope with her past, her strength in fighting for what is right. I began to love her—and after reading her story and hearing her voice in your head, I hope you’ll love her too.
I believe good fiction must be based on facts. What you confront your readers with needs to be believable. That doesn’t mean you have to kill somebody to describe the emotions and actions of a murderer – no matter how appealing the thought might be. “Your honor, I was only researching for my next novel titled “I hate my annoying best friend.” Not a good defense strategy, and not good for a writer’s soul either.
But the elements needed to solve a mystery have to be solid. Let me give you an example. In my latest thriller/mystery “What Happened to Rose” my protagonist had to dig deep into the past to discover background facts about a fatal accident.
I was mulling over this problem for some time when I suddenly remembered a story my brother Anton told me. Some years ago he sorted through documents left by our deceased mother and found an old pick up notice from a photographic studio that no longer existed in our home town. Being naturally curious, and a sucker for mysteries, just like me, he went to the city archives and got permission to dig there.
Guess what treasure he found: negatives of a series of wedding pictures of our parents. Copies of those pictures are now treasured by our family – and most of all by me, because it gave me the idea of how my protagonist discovered what she needed to find.A big thanks to my brother. For finding those pictures, and for giving me a tool to solve the mystery of what happened to Rose. I love to research my stories, and I can honestly say, the most amazing twists and turns I come up with on behalf of my protagonists are ALL based on facts.
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