Three years ago Nelson writer Roz Nay signed up for a Selkirk College writing class—she felt like she needed a hobby to sustain her through the winter—and ended up writing a 2,000-word story called “Your Wife is a Psycho”. Last month she sold the novel-length version of that story, Our Little Secret, to Simon & Schuster.
“My husband was the one who signed me up for the course with Almeda Glenn Miller,” Nay told the Star. “She honestly lit a fire under me. I’d done a little bit of writing, and I liked to write, but I hadn’t really done much. I remember that winter it was the highlight of my life. I never missed a class.”
Nay’s book, which is told from the perspective of a lonely Vermont high schooler named Angela, follows her through a decade of her life.
“Angela’s very clever. She doesn’t quite fit in, she’s always pining for a lost time and she’s quite narcissistic,” said Nay. “She doesn’t believe her life is as it should be.”
At one point titled Faker, Nay ultimately changed the manuscript title to give it a more “conspiratorial” flavour.
“When I first wrote it the woman’s voice who was telling the story, I just felt she had so much more to say. Angela thinks this little town she’s living in, a place called Cove, is a cookie-cutter clean fake town. It’s all about who’s telling the truth and who isn’t, who lies and who doesn’t.”
Nay said it surprises her that she’s produced a thriller.
“I kind of stumbled into this genre. I don’t read psychological thrillers, usually I watch them on TV. My agent asked haven’t you read Girl on the Train or anything else that’s exploding, and I have now, but back then I hadn’t. I didn’t know I would write psychological thrillers—I thought I was going to be funny!”
In the book she explores themes of loneliness.
“I look for it and I see it everywhere, that melancholy. There are other things that link humans, but loneliness definitely does—in a ironic way, though, because it’s not actually a link.”
Angela begins the story “entrenched” in high school and spends much of the rest decade entangled in a love triangle. During that time a 5-year-old child goes missing.
The book is slated for a 2017 release.