Linwood Barclay: Hook them first, then reel them in
For this newspaper columnist turned mystery writer, it all starts with the hook.
"Some authors, when starting a novel, imagine a place first. Others, a character starts taking shape in their head. I start with a hook, a situation, a 'what if.' What if a girl woke up one morning and her entire family was missing? What if everyone next door was murdered, and then you learned the killers went to the wrong house? Once I have a hook I think has potential—enough to spin out more than a hundred thousand words, then I start turning my attention to characters. Who are these people? Why did this thing happen to them? But the hook always come first."
Linwood Barclay, a former Toronto Star columnist, is the author of, most recently, The Accident. His next book, Trust Your Eyes, his tenth thriller, will be out in September. His novel No Time for Goodbye, a global bestseller, has been optioned for film by Eric McCormack.