By Maegan Beaumont
I grew up reading books that caused dubious glances and concerned frowns to dance across the face of any adult who made the mistake of asking me, “So, what are you reading?”
What I was reading was whatever I wanted to. And usually whatever I wanted to was considered wildly inappropriate for a “girl my age”… or even a girl in general.
In grade school I was enthralled by Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three and Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown. In these books I caught my first glimpse of something that I needed very much—female characters who were like me. Bookish and a bit brazen. Awkward but unflinching in their resolve to be themselves. I still love these books. I own then and will push them on my kids every chance I get.
I had my brief fling with romance novels in junior high… Dusty cowboys and roguish pirates, rescuing damsels and marrying women they won in card games. I like to joke that everything I know about sex, I learned from Danielle Steele novels. Reading Family Album in the 5th grade changed my life… it also made me the girl no one was allowed to invite over for dinner.
In high school, I peppered my required-but-very-much-enjoyed readings of Shakespeare and Hawthorne, Dostoyevsky and Dickens with as much Stephen King and Thomas Harris as I possibly could… and it was in books such as Harris’ Red Dragon and King’s The Dark Half where I finally found my literary home.
In thrillers, I felt a click. They made sense to me like nothing I had ever read, before or since. There were no cowboys. No dragons (unless you count the one tattooed on a serial killer’s back…). No pirates. No magical swords. These were not stories of love and redemption or good versus evil in any obvious sense, but in them I found a fundamental truth I’ve never found in any other genre of book.
We all harbor darkness.
A good thriller not only shows us this darkness, it entices us to invite it in. Gives us characters we not only relate to, but shakes us to the bone with their disturbing sameness to ourselves. A good thriller will show us what we are made of. Put us in situations that force us to poke at our own secret wounds, to test our own battered moorings. Situations that we can’t help but use to measure what we hope ourselves to be against what we truly are. A good thriller will force us to question how far we’re willing to go to protect ourselves and the ones we love. How close to that darkness we are willing to tread in order to survive…
And if the thriller is great… we don’t always like the answers we come up with.
MaeganBeaumont is the author of CARVED IN DARKNESS, the first book in the Sabrina Vaughn series (Available through Midnight Ink). A native Phoenician, Maegan’s stories are meant to make you wonder what the guy standing in front of you in the Starbucks line has locked in his basement, and feel a strong desire to sleep with the light on. When she isn’t busy fulfilling her duties as Domestic Goddess for her high school sweetheart turned husband, Joe, and their four children, she is locked in her office with her computer, her coffee pot and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, and one true love, Jade.
For 83 days she was raped, tortured, and then left for dead in a deserted
and a new name, it’s her job to hunt down murderers—a job she does very well. But when Michael O’Shea, a childhood acquaintance with a suspicious past, suddenly
Praise for Carved in Darkness
"Prepare to be overwhelmed by the the tension and moodiness that permeates this edgy thriller. Beaumont's ability to keep the twists coming, even when the answers seem obvious is quite potent."
- Library Journal (starred review / Debut of the Month)
"Carved in Darkness is a roller coaster ride of emotion with scary villains and realistic characters. Beaumont draws you into her words and doesn't let you go until the very last page."
- RT Book Reviews