Things that go Bump in the Night and Bodiless Voices that Haunt Me
A Journey into a Writer’s Mind
My father helped me to make my first crystal diode radio set for Halloween when I was just ten years old. I remember stringing the antenna, like a clothesline, between the grapefruit trees in my backyard and attaching it to the thin metal screen of my bedroom window and waiting, patiently for nightfall. Night, my father told me, was when radio signals—like things that go bump in the night—traveled best across the cooler desert floor. With my crudely-made copper-bound receiver at my bedside, I huddled beneath the sheets of my bed, pressed the earphones to my ears and strained to hear the scratchy voices of old radio plays. I was convinced I had pulled their bodiless voices through the ether and somehow managed to pierce the boundaries of a three dimensional universe.
My imagination was on fire.
I decided right then, if radio waves existed, other forms of communication, those not yet known to man and far more powerful, were hidden in the shadows around me. I just had to tap into them.
In my early writings I dabbled with the idea of alternative universes, living side-by-side with our own. None of it amounted to much. I was just a kid with a wild imagination. Remember that citrus orchard? By now it was strung with an early warning system to alert me of intruders. Our sequia, or the man who irrigated our orchard by moonlight, dressed in a poncho, sombrero and waders, was a space alien, and the largest of the trees, now my spaceship.
Okay, I had a wild imagination—and while my youthful endeavors as an author didn’t pay off, they did however impress my high school English teacher enough that I was granted early acceptance into Arizona State University while still a senior in high school. It was there I honed my writing skills as a journalist and graduated with a degree in communications. Eventually I worked my way into a newsroom and suddenly, I had a venue for my writing talents. I just had to keep my over-active imagination in-check.
I’d like to say I did that well. Although on more than one occasion I entertained my fellow reporters with my musings, usually around the water cooler. “What if…” I’d ask, and then as if some super ears had heard me from behind the walls, I’d hear, “Shut-up, Nancy!”
Sci-fi, fictional “what-if’s” don’t belong in a newsroom. It was, just like Jack Webb said, Nothing but the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.
But still, I found radio a wonderful medium for storytelling. There’s a built-in mystery from the get-go with familiar, but faceless voices that stream across the airwaves, instantly bonding listeners with on-air talent, like old friends.
I’ve used radio, like a character, the faceless voice that permeates our conscience in much of my work. In The Blood Drive, a short story, my protagonist is called upon to make a choice. A chilling decision that will allow her to go free, but forever haunt her. I like to do that. Turn up the heat and watch my characters bargain with themselves, or some hidden power.
I think a good mystery shouldn’t just challenge the reader to determine who did it, but also get under their skin, itch away at our own moral compass as characters reveal parts of themselves we as readers may find are too close for comfort.
Shadow of Doubt, my debut novel with Henery Press, is loosely based on an actual news event. But the similarity ends where the headline begins and the story unfolds.
In SHADOW OF DOUBT, Carol Childs, a single, middle-aged mom, is in the midst of a career change, transitioning from her comfortable role as a radio account executive to her dream job as a reporter. Her new boss is anything but supportive until Carol uncovers information concerning the murder of a top Hollywood agent. Throw in a Hollywood Psychic to the Stars and the plot thickens with threats of more death and revelations that Carol’s closest relationship, as well as her own safety, may also be at stake.
Stay tuned for more of the Carol Childs mysteries. Debuting, Dec, 2, 2014, SHADOW OF DOUBT, followed by Beyond a Doubt in July 2015.
Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in news and talk radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. But it wasn’t until 2001 after she retired from news and copywriting that she was able to sit down and write fiction fulltime. Much of what Silverman writes about today she admits is pulled from events that were reported on from inside some of Los Angeles’ busiest newsrooms where she spent the bulk of her career. In the last ten years she has written numerous short stories and novelettes. Today Silverman lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bruce and two standard poodles.
To learn more about Nancy, please visit her website.
Interested in becoming a member of the International Thriller Writers? ITW offers Active and Associate memberships.
Latest posts by ITW (see all)
- November 13 – 19: “Can holidays like Thanksgiving be effectively used as the backdrop in thrillers?” - November 12, 2017
- November 6 – 11: “Is tone linked more to the author’s or the character’s attitude?” - November 5, 2017
- The November 2017 Edition of The Big Thrill is Here! - October 31, 2017