If you'd like some insight into my writing process, here's an interview I did with Many Books.
Updated: Sep 8
Bonnie Traymore - Suspenseful Thriller with Intriguing Twists and Turns.
Posted on 7th of September, 2022 by Naomi Bolton
Please give us a short introduction to what Killer Motives is about.
Victoria suspects that her husband Nick is having an affair with his real estate client. They’ve been married about ten years, pretty happily most of the time, but recently there have been some strains on the marriage. She follows him to her house, sees them in an embrace, gets some photos to be able to trigger her prenup, and goes home. The next morning, his lover is found murdered in her home, and the police come to question both of them. It takes off from there.
What inspired you to write about a woman who discovers that her husband had an affair, with the lover murdered?
I thought it would be interesting to create a situation where the husband and wife both suspect each other. It creates additional tension for the reader, and it adds to the marital narrative. Both Nick and Victoria are point-of-view characters. Suddenly, Victoria finds herself a suspect, and the issue of infidelity goes on the back burner for a bit. Then there’s the question of Victoria suspecting Nick. Is she living with a murderer? Then of course, I also delve into the marital issue and the infidelity. Can she get past it? Does she even want to try?
Tell us more about Victoria. What makes her so special?
I was born and raised the Tristate area (which is what we call NYC and its suburbs). I’m from an Italian family, like her husband’s. Victoria is from a very wealthy family descended from the original Dutch settlers, but she’s always been uncomfortable with her status, so she’s not stereotypical. She’s a successful art dealer in her own right and she lives modestly compared to her means. She has a heart, which gets broken, but she’s also not a pushover. Her father taught her to defend herself, and that training comes in handy! It was fun for me to live in her world for a bit. She doesn’t flaunt her wealth but she has it to fall back on when it all starts to spiral. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Why murder mysteries? What drew you to the genre?
I love a page-turner that takes me away from the problems of the world, and nothing seems to do that like a mystery novel. As a writer, I wanted to do that for my readers. The challenge of pulling together a puzzle was also part of the allure. My goal was to play fair with readers, but also keep them guessing and satisfy them in the end.
What did you have the most fun with while writing Killer Motives?
I loved to see how the characters developed as I wrote. They really do have minds of their own! When I’m in the groove, dialogue just comes out of my fingers onto the page, as if I’m taking dictation from them. It’s an amazing process.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Secret skills? Hmm. Well, I’m an educator and college counselor and pretty good at both, but that’s not a secret. I do think the years of experience as a teacher helps my writing, in that you have to be a good communicator to be successful at either. I have a good sense of humor, and I add touches of that to the novel and the classroom. I’m not a bad cook and I can carry a tune. Like my protagonist, I love art but I’m terrible at it!
The book contains quite a few twists and turns. Did you plan it all out before you started writing, or did some of it just "happen" along the way?
I planned out the main murder and how it wrapped up. I actually wrote the climax scene pretty early on. But the family and relationship dynamics, most of the sub-plots, they just happened organically, and that was really fun.
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about it.
I have a great cover artist I work with and that cover just hit the nail on the head for me. I like the idea of the person trying to run away in the dark, trying to blend into the small town where it’s set. It fits the plot, although there are male and female suspects. It seemed a good fit for a crime of passion.
Readers say the book had them at the edge of their seats. How did you pull this off?
I’m not really sure! I’ve been reading mystery and thriller novels my entire life, so I’ve had great role models. I made sure to include interesting twists and subplots. I also went back and cut out any fluff that didn’t propel the story forward. That hurts sometimes, because some of it might be well written and dear to me, but if it’s not compelling for the reader, it needs to go.
Why did you pick Hudson Valley as the backdrop for your story?
It has a reputation for being steeped in spookiness with Irving and his Sleepy Hollow story, but the reputation goes even further back than that, to the Native Americans, the Dutch. I was taking a trip there and looked for a mystery novel set in the area, but all I could find were remakes of Sleepy Hollow. So I thought it would be fun to set a contemporary mystery there and pepper in some of the history and folklore of the region. I have a doctorate in history, so that gave me my history fix!
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
Yes! All the time. One example is that I knew who the murderer was in the beginning, but the motive changed as the character evolved.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
No, I’m pretty boring. I sit and write the whole book in one word doc, and I don’t use any writing programs. I write out the scenes on post-it notes and paste them on a whiteboard. I don’t always follow it, but at least it gives me a general outline. Once I get going, I write every day in the early morning, some days more than others.
What are you working on right now?
I have a stand-alone sequel due out in early November called Little Loose Ends. Then it’s on to the next plot, which I’ve already fleshed out. I’m aiming for summer some time on that one.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My website is www.bonnietraymore.com and if they contact me, I’ll put them on my email list for my next work and other promotions.