Stitching Together a Novel

By Shay Lacy, author of Secrets and LiesCounterpointTouchpoint, and Hero Needed

Secrets and LiesMy novel Secrets and Lies, released this week from Crimson Romance, was birthed from stitching together several ideas I’d collected, like sewing different fabrics into a quilt. Writers store little snippets of data all the time, in our heads and in files. Then we delve into our storage and yank out ideas that could fit a story we’re writing.

I save photos of interesting people for use in future novels. Have you ever looked through the Sunday color ads for stores like JC Penney, Macy’s, and Kohl’s, and seen the same model wearing different outfits? One day I found a male in six outfits. He’d changed his hairstyle for each photo. I thought he was attractive, so I cut out all six and laid them in a row. The longer I stared at the photos, the more I was sure he had to become a character in a novel. He’d be a chameleon, changing his looks to correspond to who he was pretending to be. He must be investigating something to pretend to be so many people. I stored him away.

Next, a friend told me he was writing a fantasy story about some Mayan god. He sent me a research link. That’s where I found the Maya Hero Twins. Somebody in a story had to have a statue of them, but what would they do with it? I stored that idea away.

As I wrote book one of my Secrets Trilogy, the brothers took shape. The older brothers were easy, being more serious, which is the type of character I tend to write. The eldest brother was based on my husband and an actual event. I wrote both their stories, even though they were books one and three. The youngest brother’s story, Secrets and Lies, was hardest to write. Youngest children tend to be less serious, often clowns, and my hero, Charlie, was. A humorous character defied me, at first.

But then I remembered those photos of the chameleon man. An actor could be a chameleon and easily become a private investigator with the right motivation. His brother’s murder, the catalyst for the trilogy, was such a motivation. And his investigation involved that Mayan statue and the need to prove himself. If you’ve ever heard the song “The Tears of a Clown,” that is Charlie, who is driven by his brother’s death to become a more serious man. Of course, love plays a major role in helping him make that transformation.

I hope you enjoyed hearing how Secrets and Lies was stitched into a cohesive story from the bits and pieces of information I collect.

Multi-published author Shay Lacy lives in northwest Ohio with her photographer/graphic designer husband. She loves following the man of her dreams with a camera in hand and a pen and notebook in her backpack. Sensible secretary by day, romance author by night, when not lost in her imagination, or reading a good book, she is likely researching her next book with a SWAT team ride-along or a visit to a DNA lab. For more information about her, check her website at

2 thoughts on “Stitching Together a Novel

  1. Brenna Chase

    Very interesting how you came up with ideas and characters for your novel. It really does seem like the quilting my mom does. Good luck with your book!