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Blurbs for WHAT LIES IN SHADOW (February, 2008, St. Martin’s Press)
39 words: A lonely wife anonymously shares her deepest thoughts and desires with the hundreds of people who read her online diary. But someone knows everything about her. Someone who watches her. Wants her. And will do anything to get her.
64 words: Jonna is a lonely wife who’s good at keeping secrets: she has an online diary; she suspects her husband is having an affair; and she is gathering courage for a liaison of her own. But when she can’t go through with it, and her would-be lover terrorizes her, Jonna discovers that everyone in her world has secrets—and no one is who they seem.
Tina Wainscott has been thinking in terms of moral ambiguity. Not personally, but in her last two psychological suspense novels. In UNTIL THE DAY YOU DIE, it was lying for a just cause. In WHAT LIES IN SHADOW it’s about cheating. A lonely housewife, a distant husband, an online diary where fellow desperate housewives cheer her on, and a man who seems to embody everything she desires, at least in his emails. An innocent meeting. And though she decides to take the high road, she has let a dangerous stranger into her life.
WHAT LIES IN SHADOW could happen to anyone. “That’s what intrigues me,” says Tina. “Every time we let someone into our lives…well, you just never know. I’ve been fooled myself, missing the dark, mentally unstable side of someone I thought was a friend. Mixing in the sexual element only heightens what’s at stake. Especially when Jonna, my heroine, is doing something she shouldn’t be doing anyway.”
Would that make Jonna less sympathetic to readers? “I don’t think so,” says Tina. “Look at the statistics on cheating. One study cited that 45-55% of married women and 50-60% of married men cheat. I think a lot of women and men can relate to someone considering an affair. Dissatisfaction, curiosity, boredom, even anger, can fuel it.”
So, of course, the question is, how much does Tina know about infidelity. [Laughing] “I figured I’d get that. I can proudly say that in eighteen years of marriage, I’ve never cheated. But I don’t judge those who do, because you never know what’s going on in someone’s marriage or their hearts.
“I found some great books on infidelity and read many personal stories about women who were either thinking about or already cheating. It’s not always an easy decision, just as Jonna struggled with her desires versus her conscience.”
WHAT LIES IN SHADOW is set in Boston. Is there any particular significance for that?
“In this case, none whatsoever. This was one of those books that was ‘set’ in a particular place from the genesis of the idea. I love that. Usually I have to really think about the setting, drag out the maps, maybe even throw a dart! I don’t usually do cities either, but again, that’s what I saw. The fun part was, I did some Internet searching for lofts that were on the market and found a fabulous loft that I knew belonged to Jonna and her husband. It was only after the book was finished that I was able to travel to Boston for setting research, and when I found the actual building it felt so familiar to me. It’s really neat when it happens that way.”
Because Tina comes from a romantic suspense background, readers will want to know: is there a romance in the story?
“Yes, and this is a fairly sensual book. But in the great Alfred Hitchcock tradition, I like to keep the reader wondering just who’s good and who’s bad.”
Because everyone has secrets in this story.
“The secrets were the best part. They also made the book a devil to write, because I had to keep in mind what the truth was and what the character wanted the others to think. Since we writers can be a bit masochistic, we like to challenge ourselves.”
After eighteen books, Tina has challenged herself many times. “It’s about growing as a writer. It’s about following your dreams. And most importantly, it’s about the joy of writing. Without that, we have nothing.”