The Family Secret – Terry Lynn Thomas

Will she find the truth?

England, 1940

After a sudden unexplained disappearance, Thomas Charles comes back into Cat Carlisle’s life with the suggestion she leave London – and the threat of bombs – to move to back her childhood village in Cumberland.

Back in her hometown Cat discovers her childhood friend, Beth Hargreaves, is suspected of murder. As Cat tries to prove Beth’s innocence, she discovers a scheme of deception that affects the whole village. Can she uncover the family truths behind the murder and expose the enemy hiding in plain sight?




I hope you enjoy this.


1. When and where do you prefer to write?

Up until recently, I would get up in the morning around 4:30 and write for a couple of hours before I went to my day job. As of January, 2019, I’m writing full-time. So I work in 50 minute increments, and then I take a break and do some yoga. It’s important to step away from the computer. Writing at home works best for me. I get distracted in cafes, etc. I do really enjoy going to writing retreats. It’s really fun to work all day, and then meet up with other writers for dinner and discussion.

2. Do you have a certain ritual?

I wouldn’t say that I have a ritual, per se, but I definitely am a goal setter, so I commit to a word count and don’t quit for the day until I hit it.

3. Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?

Coffee! I drink a giant cup of strong French roast coffee first thing. (True confession: I am an utter grouch if I don’t get coffee!) After that, I switch to herb tea. I do have a favourite mug, and it’s the size of a soup bowl.

4. What is your favourite book?

I can’t list one. So here’s a few: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I adore Agatha Christie and Patricia Wentworth. (The Miss Silver Mysteries are a perennial favourite!) Okay, I’ll stop. The list is never ending.

5. Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?

I have a secret passion for middle-grade ghost stories and hope to write those in the future. But I have tons of ideas for my Cat Carlisle Mysteries, so not sure when I will switch gears. My Sarah Bennett Series, which takes place in California in the 1940s is a bit different. Sarah is a medium, whose family thinks she has psychological problems. I loved dropping spacey/ghost-seeing Sarah into the industrious time of World War 2 in California. She really sticks out. Poor thing.

6. Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?

Oh, that’s a good question. As a writer, I break characteristics into a singular functioning thing. For example, jealousy, greed, honour, thievery, loving, generous, etc. and metaphorically throw those singular characteristics in a box. When I’m developing a character, I’ll pull three traits out of the box (maybe four or five, depending) and mingle them together. I also draw heavily from the archetypal influence of the tarot. So while I do study other people – that’s what writers do, by the way – I can’t say that I would take all of one person’s characteristics and make them player in my book. It’s more of a mash-up of characteristics of many people I come across, both in real life and in the books I read and the films I watch.

7. Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?

I used to, but now I rely on my phone. I use the ‘notes’ function. It’s fabulous! I’ve finally embraced technology.

8. Which genre do you not like at all?

While I love the consequences of violence as a launching pad for story, actual gore, blood, and guts puts me off in a big way. (Think nightmares.)

9. If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?

I love the idea of co-writing and have discussed it with a couple of authors. But if I could pick an author I admire but don’t know personally to co-write with, it would be Susanna Kearsley. She writes with a heart-felt warmth that always leaves me wanting more.

10. If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?

England and Scotland. I hope to come for a good long stay within the next couple of years.

Thank you, Terry Lynn Thomas and Rachel’s Random Resources.


About the author

Terry Lynn Thomas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.

Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. The Drowned Woman is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, came out in April 2018 and has since become a USA TODAY bestseller. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.

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