“In Buckley’s superb third novel, ordinary human nature and extraordinary circumstances collide to powerful effect. The story offers the intricate suspense and surprise of a thriller, along with rich characterizations and nuanced writing. . . . Ultimately, Buckley delivers a gripping read and a memorable reflection on the conflicting imperatives of love.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review of The Deepest Secret
Where do book ideas come from? What a wondrous mystery the creative process is! Just the other night, I had the good fortune to hear novelist Carla Buckley describe her rocky road to publication. She wrote eight novels and wasn’t able to sell any of them. That’s right, eight novels went unsold.
Then one night, she had a nightmare about a catastrophic situation that overtakes an “average American family in an average American city.” Building on her dark dream, Carla wrote her ninth book in six months and sold it to Random House. What made the difference? According to Carla, she “dug deep into my soul” and wrote about a subject that really gripped her emotionally.
Carla’s third novel, The Deepest Secret, also sprang from the germ of an idea that took hold of her. She wanted to focus on the relationship between a mother and her son. It took her 13 months to finally come up with an idea that jelled. During that time, she submitted 8 proposals to her editor, who turned them all down, one by one.
Finally, she decided to probe a mother-son relationship put under extreme pressure by the son’s illness. Carla talked about this with her sister, a doctor, who mentioned an extremely rare disease she’d always been fascinated by. As soon as she got off the phone, Carla knew she had the story idea she needed — and she was off and running.
Fascinating, isn’t it? A nightmare, a provocative theme, a brief conversation — it’s from these small seeds that fruitful story ideas often spring. You never know where one will come from, so keep your eyes, ears, and heart open. And write on!