Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

— The second Mrs. de Winter
from the classic thriller ‘Rebecca’ by English author Dame Daphne du Maurier

I’ve always been partial to mysteries and thrillers. I loved reading Mary Higgins Clark novels from ‘You Belong to Me’ to  ‘A Stranger is Watching’. But writing a thriller that keeps your reader hooked is no mean task. So I decided to go to an expert.

LindaHuberI approached Linda Huber the versatile author of many thrillers and suspense novels including The Paradise TreesThe Cold Cold SeaThe Attic Room, Chosen Child, Ward Zero and Baby Dear to blog about What exactly does it Take to Write a Thriller
Linda covered the topic in 3 Key Parts

  • What is a Thriller?
  • Methods to Write the Scary Stuff
  • What Not To Forget



What makes a thriller thrilling? Or – getting right back to basics – what is a thriller? According to the dictionary, it’s ‘a novel, play, or film with an exciting plot, typically involving crime or espionage’. That’s a pretty broad definition – let’s look up ‘exciting’: something that ‘arouses emotions or feelings’. Which emotions??? Nothing positive, I guess, otherwise it would be a romance or a comedy. No – a thriller is a book that scares you…


So how do you write a scary book? I’ve been writing novels for over fifteen years now, and all fit into the psychological thriller/suspense/domestic noir categories. I think there are two ways to scare your readers.


Maybe your bad guy is chasing your good guy through an ancient graveyard at 3 a.m. on a foggy night… Or maybe the good guy is tied up somewhere, and if he doesn’t get out, something truly awful will happen, but then, at the most suspenseful moment, the scene changes to another situation – the police officer who’s trying frantically to find the good guy is side-tracked, just when he’s about to uncover the vital clue… You get the picture.


The other way is to use the characters themselves. Make them come alive. Give them feelings – loves, hates, hopes, desires. Give them something that makes the readers identify with them; in other words, make them real – ordinary people leading ordinary lives. And then put them in an extraordinary situation which they then have to deal with. They don’t all need to be nice people, these characters, but they do need to have something that makes the reader care about them and think, golly, that could have been me.

In my newest book Baby Dear we have Jeff and Caro. He’s madly in love with her; she desperately wants a baby – and then they discover he’s infertile. We all know Jeff’s and Caros. Then there’s Sharon, eight months pregnant and not sure she’s cut out to be a mother – another everyday situation. And Julie, a single mother who barely has two pennies to rub together. I was a Julie myself, once. These four people then slide into a terrible situation, so for the reader, it’s scary in two ways – the ‘it could have been me’ way, and the ‘action/danger’ way that occurs as the plot develops. (No spoilers here!)


Another thing you need in any book, I think, is humor. Thrillers are rarely laugh-out-loud funny, but a few touches of lovely black humor when the characters talk to each other will make the book that bit more realistic because that’s how we do talk to each other in real life.

And let’s hope that real life for the rest of us isn’t as ‘thrilling’ as it becomes for Sharon, Julie and Caro in Baby Dear

BABY DEAR end_medium.jpg

Find out more about Linda And Baby Dear here:

Amazon Author Page:

Baby Dear univ. link:


Linda grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but went to work in Switzerland for a year aged twenty-two, and has lived there ever since. Her day jobs have included working as a physiotherapist in schools for handicapped children, and teaching English in a medieval castle. Not to mention several years spent as a full-time mum to two boys, a rescue dog, and a large collection of guinea pigs.

Her writing career began in the nineties, when she had over fifty short stories published in women’s magazines. Several years later, she discovered the love of her writing life – psychological suspense fiction. Her seventh novel, Death Wish, will be published by Bloodhound Books in August 2017.


Author: loganivy

FIRST THINGS FIRST Simply put I am here because I love books... I am extremely passionate about stories especially those steeped in mythical folklore, ancient myths, and legends and suffused with the magic of unique realms and supernatural worlds. I believe there is an alternate universe where magic, mysticism, and wonder still exist, a world where no reality is impossible. Discovering ourselves is an ongoing journey. From reading the next logical step was writing. I am the author of ‘The Breach’, an upcoming supernatural fantasy.For when I write about these worlds I become a part of them and learn more about myself each day. A PEEK INTO MY SOUL I am a realist but at the same time also a dreamer. To me, reading is a window into the hearts of others . Writing is the window to my imagination drawing from my glimpses of the world around me. The beauty of writing lies in the mind’s eye – what we see, the way we interpret it and finally how we translate it to paper. HOW I VIEW MY CHARACTERS To me, every character is multi-dimensional. There is no mere black or white perspective to a character. If a person is strong, we have to delve into what contributed to making them that way? Similarly, what are the fears, likes and loves of a character. That is what makes each one of them unique. It makes them what they are. No character should be just a filler in a story. If a character is evil, why is he or she that way? If a male character is not the central focus of a story, if he is okay with the girl in his life taking center stage I don’t see him as weak. I think he is a great guy and the kind that any girl would be lucky to have in their lives. Looking for the prince who rescues you from the dragon or the lecherous villain should be passé. Real men may not have muscles but they have good hearts. I write about such princes, the guys who are also okay with the girl playing hero in their life, being rescued by them too. I love reading and writing about girls and women with flaws because all real women are that way. Not the most beautiful, not the bravest, not the thinnest nor the richest. They find strength in their family, in their love. My girls do not compete against men; only circumstances and the challenges they throw up. The men who support them, stand by them are the ones I like to read and write about. Through this blog I hope to share more about inspirational characters and the beauty and richness a book contains. MY INSPIRATION Is it possible to cherish and to love something all your life without really analyzing it or understanding why? ‘Stories’ fired my imagination since I was a child….it started with my father, who would spend thirty minutes each night weaving supernatural tales of troubled ghosts in a bid to awe, shock and above all bond with his daughters. He never realized and neither did I that he was also weaving those little quirks into my personality that later on in life would go ahead and set me apart. During class breaks in school, I would share the same tales with the class, now adding my own embellishments, peaks, and lows so as to hold their attention and leave them shouting for more. As my dad got busier and we got a little older the stories seemed to have trickled off but not before transferring that hook for the beginning, the narration, the mystery and the spectacular end. Books and Movies became my magical time machines capable of drawing, pulling, and holding me. Friends and colleagues would decide to read books or watch movies after I brought to life with words what I read or saw on screen. Even love came to me through books when the first time I met my husband we fell in love over a discussion on ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’. One day I realized what I should have known all along – Stories; they lived in my soul. I had worlds to create, people waiting to be brought to life and stories to share. So I share what I love.


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