Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Why the Haunted Stanley Made the Perfect Setting: Guest Post by L. R. Jones, author of The Wedding Party: A Thriller

Often writers are asked “How do you come up with your stories” many times in their career. For me, it is often just one tiny moment in time that triggers an idea. For The Wedding Party, I was visiting the haunted Stanley Hotel with my ghost-obsessed husband, when the idea came to me. This man’s favorite holiday is Halloween and he messes with me by sticking Michael Myers photos all over, as I rip them down and hide them. And no, The Wedding Party is not supernatural, but it's a fun place for a thriller writer to stage a murder. Some of you know, I’m sure, that this hotel is where Stephen King wrote The Shining, and in fact, in one of the rooms they called “spirited.”
Now that I had my setting, ideas began to flow. 
My husband would have loved it had we held any wedding event at a haunted hotel. I’d never let that happen, of course, but he’s that guy. So the next piece of the puzzle was writing a character that WOULD let her husband talk her into a ghostly wedding event. In this case, a combo bachelor/bachelorette party at the Stanley Hotel. 
Next, I knew I wanted an Agatha Christie / The White Lotus type storyline. That means lots of fun characters and suspects! From there it was all about characters, characters, characters and much like the hotel in The White Lotus, I really wanted the hotel to feel like one of those characters. With this in mind, I incorporated a lot of the Stanley’s haunted tales into the novel just in tiny tidbits here and there. When it comes to “other” main characters I needed a hero and protagonist. Years ago a savvy editor told me, “make people like or relate to the protagonist and they will be hooked and tricked into believing that person is innocent.” I won't say which is which, but this story has an FBI agent who just happens to be at the party, and the bride. Murder happens and at least one of them is in their element. There are many parallels between the two characters and yet so many extreme differences and so many interesting suspects, my hope is that I keep the readers guessing until they gasp at the end. 


L. R. Jones is a pseudonym for New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones. Her dark, edgy fiction includes the novels The Wedding Party, You Look Beautiful Tonight, The Poet, A Perfect Lie, and the Lilah Love series. For more information, visit lisareneejones.com.

No comments: