Writing thriller novels for a living means inspiration usually comes from some dark places.
Bestselling author Chevy Stevens found balance between the dark and the light while researching and writing her second novel Never Knowing, now available in bookstores.
In the new book, Stevens tells the story of Sara, a small business owner and single mom. She decides to find her birth mother to try and answer the questions behind her birth.
But worse than discovering that she is the product of a violent rape and attempted murder by a serial killer is her biological father finding out about her.
Stevens crafts a terrifying story told at breakneck speed.
Part of Stevens’s research needed to write the book included extensive reading about serial killers. During the research, she came across the story of the Wells Grey Provincial Park murders in which a young man killed six people in the remote park in the 1980s.
“It haunted me,” she said, adding that she also drew ideas from the television show Mantracker.
“The idea of being hunted by someone really scared me,” Stevens said.
The randomness of serial killers was what was most disconcerting, that people could be going about their daily lives and suddenly become victims of violent crimes.
“That was freaking me out,” Stevens said. “Everywhere I went, evil could be anywhere.”
Eventually, she put the books aside and found ways to laugh with her happy, upbeat husband, by watching television and cute animal videos on YouTube.
“I’m not afraid of the dark, but that doesn’t mean I want to stay in the dark,” she said.
Stevens’s first novel, Still Missing, released in July 2009, made the New York Times bestseller list and was published in dozens of countries worldwide. Stevens sold the movie rights and her novel is currently being drafted into a screenplay by one of the writers from the Dexter television series.
Still Missing also won the International Thriller Writers award for Best First Novel earlier this month.
Stevens is already at work on her third book, in which the psychiatrist from the first two books takes an active role in storytelling.
Stevens said the book will be set on Vancouver Island, likely near Shawnigan Lake where she grew up, and might involve a cult.
But it will move away from the sessions format of a patient speaking to a therapist.
“It’s quite a confining structure,” Stevens said.
Stevens will be at Woodgrove Chapters Saturday (July 23) at 2 p.m. for a Q&A and book signing.