BOOKS: Small-town intrigue fuels a new mystery | Books & Literature

Jane Ammeson Times correspondent

The story of an ever-increasing scrutiny of emails, letters and documents by two young lawyers at the behest of their supervisor, “The Appeal” tells the story of a small-town fundraising appeal for a little girl’s life-saving cancer treatment and all the machinations that go with it.

“As the alpha family – the stars of a community theater group – desperately tries to raise money by any means possible, some members throw themselves into the campaign, while others harbor nurturing suspicions,” Janice said. Hallett, a former magazine editor. winning journalist, government communications writer and author of “The Appeal”. “When a body is found, 15 suspects are in the spotlight.”

It’s an intriguing way to draw us into the small town theater group and the many people involved.

“We approach the story with hindsight, from the perspective of two law students, who gave their tutor the task of reading correspondence relevant to a court appeal case – because he thinks the wrong person may have been doomed,” said Hallett, who was struggling to get a succession of screenplay ideas off the ground and decided to write her first novel instead.

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“I wrote ‘The Appeal’ with no expectation that it would be published, no delay and no pressure,” she said. “If I had thought about it more, I might have decided not to use these formats. Ignorance was trust in this case – it didn’t occur to me that it wouldn’t work.

And it worked. His book was named the UK’s No. 1 Bestseller of 2021, an Apple Books 2021 Bestseller Crime & Thriller (UK) and an Amazon UK Editors’ Picks: Best Books of the Year, 2021.

Before getting into screenwriting and mystery writing (Hallett has a new mystery next year called “The Twyford Code”), she spent 15 years writing about bubble bath, mascara, sunscreen, cologne, soap and more.

“I wrote about all the beauty and personal care products on the shelves,” Hallett said. “I’ve edited specialty magazines for people who sell beauty products to the public – whether they work in high-end department stores or local pharmacies. It’s a dynamic industry that combines science, art, psychology and creativity. I loved it for about 12 years, but when I was 15, I wanted to change.

As complex as her book is, Hallett said she’s not a planner when it comes to writing.

“You won’t find sticky note strips or dry erase boards in my office,” she said. “I go for it, I let the story evolve, I let the characters develop organically. Planning everything in advance would take all the joy and exploration out of the process. Years of scriptwriting and dramaturgy worked in my favor because you develop a sense of story, rhythm, and timing. If there’s a potential downside, it’s that I never know what the story is about until I reach the end of the first draft. At that point, I go back, adapt beginning to end, and put in all the glorious twists and details that make the story so rich and satisfying. I’m a reverse engineer.

About Marcia G. Hussain

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