A wedding awaits you in Birchport, a town shrouded in fog and mystery! Will you be able to track down your missing best friend and reveal the secrets of this strange town? Find out in Veil of Secrets, the latest addition to Choices! Read on for an inside look at the making of Veil of Secrets:
Let's start with an introduction. What's Veil of Secrets about? And what genre does it fall into?
Andrew: Veil of Secrets is a bit of a genre-bender, a romantic mystery. When your best friend Kate O'Malley disappears at her wedding, you set out to find the truth... only to discover there's far more under the surface than it seems in the sleepy seaside of Birchport, Massachussets. It's one of my favorite sub-genres of mystery, the 'corrupt small town' story, where an investigation into a single crime ends up revealing everyone's dark secrets and sinister pasts.
Jilly: I think of Veil as Cape Cod noir. Intrigue, lies, secrets... and boat shoes.
Without giving away too much about the story, what was the brainstorm process like for Veil of Secrets? How do you come up with a mystery story, and everything that entails?
Max: Brainstorming a mystery is a bit like taking apart a nesting doll: There always seems to be another layer hidden under the one you're looking at, stories within stories within stories. As such, our brainstorming process was one of constant derailment as we leapt down the various rabbit holes of the characters' pasts and secret motivations. Hopefully, all of this world and character building led to an intriguing story with some satisfying twists and turns!
Andrew: I always *want* to write mysteries, and then halfway through the brainstorm, remember why we don't do them more often! Brainstorming an elaborate mystery like this is really hard, because it requires juggling a bunch of intricate plot arcs, character motivations, and red herrings, all the while making sure the chapters are fun and exciting. It's a lot of struggling and whiteboarding and back-and-forth, culminating in that great Eureka! moment when it all comes together.
We've done mystery stories before, but nothing quite like this. What are you most excited for readers to encounter in this book?
Max: Our last mystery, Most Wanted, was released to everyone in one big chunk. There was no time for wild fan theories about Tull's true motivation, people wondering what would become of Sam and Dave, or anything like that. This time we'll have several blissful months of weekly releases to watch people theorize to their hearts' content! In addition, I just have to say that this is a beautiful book. The cover, the backgrounds, and the characters are just gorgeous. Our art team really outdid themselves this time!
Jilly: I'm really excited for the "no WAY!" moments when the story takes unexpected twists. I'm betting the readers will have some great reaction gifs ready.
Do you have any mystery books you love? Got any book recs?
Max: How about TV shows? I love longform mysteries like The Killing and True Detective (the first season, at least!). We may try something that tonally dark one day, but we're not quite there yet. Even though it's not a mystery, Revenge feels like it shares a tone and atmosphere with Veil of Secrets.
Jilly: I'm a sucker for Gillian Flynn books (and I'm the perfect audience -- I usually don't even try to guess the twists, I just let them wash over me). I also really loved Broadchurch, if we're talking TV. I think the pacing of that show was really masterful.
Veil of Secrets is just the start of a number of new books launching in the next few months. Are there any Choices books you're personally looking forward to?
Andrew: I'm working on something super top-secret now... Choices' most ambitious book yet!
Max: What's in store for Choices readers? So much. Flirt and scheme your way through London society, all while conquering the pianoforte. Master spells in the face of danger. And take your romance to new heights!
Jilly: All I can say is... this year is going to be almost TOO good!
Looking forward to that! If you haven't already, be sure to check out Veil of Secrets, out in Choices now! What did you think of its launch? Share with us!