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dark beforeLaurence O’Bryan

A series of murders rocks the Los Angeles area, and each victim’s body bears a note addressed to Detective Gabriel McRay. If McRay knows the killer, that knowledge is locked in the suppressed memory of a childhood trauma.

Teamed with his forensic pathologist girlfriend and a psychiatrist, Gabriel runs two parallel investigations: a dark journey into the terrifying recollections of his past, and a hunt for a killer who knows more about Gabriel than he knows himself.

What inspired you to create such a dark storyline, Laurie? 

I’ve asked myself the same question, because I consider myself a positive person.

Like many other people, I’m fascinated by the inner workings of the human mind, and how a catastrophic event can alter a person’s entire perspective on life.

But I didn’t want the main character to be mired in his problems. He wants to be happy and is willing to do the work to achieve balance in his life. I did a lot of research and consulted professionals to find out what kind of therapy could be used to aid in his healing process.

Gabriel is working through a childhood trauma, the memory of which he has suppressed. So, while the story is dark, and Gabriel’s history is certainly dark, I wanted to weave that thread of hope throughout, because I do believe that such a thing exists.

Do you have any personal experience with repressed memories? 

Yes. I had an experience where Researching hypnotic drugs for the series actually made me realize that at one time I was drugged without my knowledge. I had experienced the same effects that I was creating for characters in the story.

How’s that for the inner workings of the human mind?

What drives you to keep writing? 

I could ask the same question of every writer. It is a drive, isn’t it? I think you’d have to imagine life without being able to write. How frustrating would that be? I certainly wouldn’t want to experience that.

As long as I feel I’ve got something worthwhile to express, I’ll keep hitting the keyboard.

What is your writing process—outline or seat of the pants? 

I’m not big on outlines. I usually write out a couple of paragraphs of synopsis. A beginning, middle, and end to touch on the main points I want relayed. I leave a lot of space around the paragraphs so I can add other ideas as they hit me.

I’ll rough out some character descriptions as well. Then I’ll start at the beginning. I try not to worry so much if the dialogue or the description isn’t perfect. I know I’ll polish all that and add in layers as I create new drafts.

What are you working on now? 

More of the Gabriel McRay series.


Many thanks for your time Laurie. I wish you well with THE DARK BEFORE DAWN.


Laurie Stevens 300 dpiLaurie Stevens is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and playwright. She is the author of the Gabriel McRay psychological suspense series. An active member of ITW, MWA, Laurie sits on the board of Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles and lives in the hills outside that city.

To learn more about Laurie, please visit her website.





Laurence O’Bryan
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