I was an avid reader of mysteries and suspense – particularly the psychological suspense novels of Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine – but had never tried to write in the genre before a dream planted an image in my mind that I couldn’t let go of.
I dreamed of two little girls – somehow I knew they were sisters, as we “know” things in dreams – outside in a roaring thunderstorm, clinging to one another in their terror. The younger sister, three or four years old, cried over and over, “Mommy! I want Mommy!” while her older sister, about six, tried to comfort her.
Who were these children I couldn’t get out of my head? Why were they outside in a storm? Where was their mother?
Gradually the answers began to form a story that raised still more questions. The novel incorporates themes that I always find compelling in fiction: parent-child tension, loss and unhealed grief, the porous and malleable nature of memory, the diabolical human talent for manipulating the minds and emotions of others. I wrote the book in six months and have never enjoyed any writing experience as much, before or since.