Friday, August 13, 2010

Drawing You into the Web of Suspense, an Article by Sharon Ann Donovan, Author of Mask of the Betrayer

Today's guest blogger is Sharon Ann Donovan, author of Mask of the Betrayer. Let me tell you, the first time I saw that cover I just about jumped out of my chair. That is one creepy guy.

Here's a bit about the book:

When the whispers in the night, the whispers of her lover, are the whispers of a killer, will Margot escape before she becomes the next victim?

Deep in the foothills of Red Rock Canyon, a serial killer stalks. He leaves his signature—a skull mask on the corpse. But when the homicide cop realizes the crimes are the reenactment of a case never solved ten years ago–all fingers point to Michael DeVeccio. And when Margot realizes she is married to the killer, her life becomes a living nightmare.

Gee, I guess I should be glad I'm not Margot. Wow!

Drawing You into the Web of Suspense by Sharon Ann Donovan

Good Evening!

Those chilling words still send shivers racing down my spine from the old television show “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”

Ever since I was a little girl, I loved being scared to death. Nothing could come close to the images the master story teller conjured in my head. Just the sound of those words in barely more than a whisper made my skin crawl. The anticipation of the story he was about to show had my heart racing. I remember glancing around the room to make sure all the curtains were drawn, all the doors locked. My family and I would gather around the television on a Friday evening, lights out with a big bowl of buttered popcorn. And the second the master of suspense’s face would appear on screen, my brother, sister and I would scream loud enough to wake the dead.

Alfred Hitchcock packed it all in his books and movies—chance meetings on a train, murder and mayhem, voyeurism, ice-blondes, debonair actors with a touch of quirky humor and rakish charm, espionage, romance and lost love. And who better befitting to portray the femme fatale of that era than Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, Kim Novak and Janet Leigh? They were a perfect fit with Hollywood legends as Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, two of Hitchcock’s favorites.

Few books or movies since the Master’s time have stayed with me or left such jarring images. Although not his best film, I think we all agree that Psycho is his most chilling. The Bates Hotel is such a simple name, who would suspect that such a twisted psychopath lived inside. With a fetish for peeking on guests as they shower, Janet Leigh is about to find out just how twisted Norman Bates is. (Voyeurism at its peak) Just the sound of that screeching violin gets my blood pumping!

The Birds is the movie that truly frightened me. To this day, I have a bird phobia. The image of those eerie birds gathering in the playground still makes me shudder. When I hear the flapping of wings overhead, I hitch in my breath, petrified for a fleeting second that I will be the victim of a ghoulish attack.

Vertigo is another favorite of many Hitchcock fans. Set in the almost dream-like haze of the empty San Francisco streets, Vertigo portrays obsession and lost romance in a surreal manner, a true hallmark of his movies. In this story, Jimmy Stewart pursues Kim Novak as she slips in and out of her dead great grandmother’s persona. So even back then, there was a touch of paranormal in the books Alfred Hitchcock wrote.

Thinking of some of these old plots that linger in my mind, I write stories of romance and suspense to hopefully give readers just a hint of that old Hitchcock magic. When I write a suspense book, the first thing I focus on is music. Think about a scary movie. Right before a murder or something dangerous, the chilling music clues us in and has our hearts racing.

In my latest book Mask of the Betrayer, book one in the sequel series, I begin with The Hunting Song, the villain of the story, billionaire Michael DeVeccio, is a trained killer. Programmed to kill the betrayer at midnight, the song plays in his head before each assassination. When you read, you will hear these chilling lyrics throughout the entire book because I have planted them in your head.

So for me, it’s all about music and images to make a suspense book a page turner. Take a gander at the mask I created in my head for the book cover. Michael DeVeccio kills those who have betrayed him by slashing their throat with a Ninja death star. Then he covers the corpse with a macabre skull mask. Let’s take a look at my book video by Triad Film Productions

I hope this gives you a teaser of the suspense books I write. You can visit my website to read an excerpt, reviews and sign up for my newsletter:

And you can buy Mask of the Betrayer in either print or electronic format at Whimsical Publications.

Sharon Donovan lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her family. Prior to the loss of her vision, she was a legal secretary for the Court of Common Pleas where she prepared cases for judges in Domestic Relations. Painting was her passion. When she could no longer paint, she began attending creative writing classes and memoir workshops. After a long and winding road, a new dream arose. Today, instead of painting her pictures on canvas, Sharon paints her pictures with words.

Sharon writes stories of inspiration and suspense. She has certificates in business and medical transcription. She is a published author with The Wild Rose Press, White Rose Publishing, Whimsical Publications and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Echo of a Raven received a CTRR award for outstanding writing, and The Claddagh Ring is a 2009 CAPA nominee. To read excerpts and reviews of Sharon’s books and to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website at

Mask of the Betrayer is Sharon’s latest book.


Andrea I said...

The Birds was also scary to me. Your book cover is freaky. The first time I saw it I wasn't interested in reading about the book.

Hywela Lyn said...

I'm late posting here, but my dear friend Sharon is currently in hospital after an operation - but thankfully she is on the mend.

Yes, that cover is chilling isn't it, but don't let it put you off the book. It's meant to convey the central character, a serial killer who wears a mask which he then places over his victim's faces. It's a fantastic read, full of intrigue and suspense - and the thread of romance runs all the way through.