During late summer of 2019, I needed a new story concept. Something I could sink my teeth into.
I was eight books into the Scarlett Bell dark thriller series and finding a great deal of enjoyment in the characters and plot lines. But I wanted a different theme, a darker story line, a series that reminded me of the Thomas Harris Hannibal Lecter novels and Rachel Caine’s amazing Stillhouse Lake series.
I began with a character: Darcy Gellar, formerly an expert profiler with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. But I desired a different character arc than that of Scarlett Bell.
Three years ago, Special Agent Darcy Gellar tracked a sadistic serial murderer, who the media named the Full Moon Killer after he murdered several young women under moonlit skies. Posing as one of the victim’s friends in a letter, the killer requested Agent Gellar visit her house to interview her. In the prologue chapter, the killer stabs Gellar, but the agent fires her gun and shoots the murderer.
Though both survive the conflict, the Full Moon Killer goes to prison on a life sentence, while Gellar walks away from the FBI, hoping a quiet life beside the ocean with her son and daughter will put the demons behind her.
Fast forward to present day. The police discover a brutal murder of a young woman a stone’s throw from Gellar’s residence. The evidence points to one man: the killer Gellar put in jail three years ago. Does he have an accomplice? Or did the FBI arrest the wrong man?
And then the story takes off like a runaway bullet train.
Designing the Cover
Once I nailed down the plot and wrote the first chapters, I began my search for a cover designer, an artist who would do justice to Darkwater Cove.
After considering several designers, I discovered Caroline Teagle Johnson, an immensely talented artist, who designs covers for Mary Burton, Dea Poirier, Kathy Reichs, and more. I didn’t realize she had created the covers of some of my favorite thriller novels of the past three years, I only knew those covers drew me in and played a large role in convincing me to purchase the books or borrow them through Kindle Unlimited. That’s the mark of a terrific artist.
I received tremendous news in early autumn when Caroline Teagle Johnson agreed to create the cover art for Darkwater Cove. The first time I saw the final product, my jaw hit the keyboard. The Darkwater Cove cover is a thing of beauty, and I couldn’t be more proud to share it with you today.
A lesson to budding writers. Don’t settle for second-rate. Work with the very best, and that’s who Caroline Teagle Johnson is in the world of psychological thrillers.
Darkwater Cove is a dark psychological thriller that combines rapid fire, page-turning action with a creepy slow burn plot. It’s my best writing to date and contains characters you will believe and cheer for.
The first novel in an anticipated three-book series, Darkwater Cove hits Amazon on January 17. But you can pre-order Darkwater Cove now for $4.99. Prepare for a wild ride.