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The Art of Keeping A Secret By Elizabeth Coldwell

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Do you have a secret? Something you’ve never told anyone, or, if you have, you’ve only confided in the one person in the world you trust the most? When writing fiction, secrets are one of the best ways of moving a plot forward, or adding an element of suspense, which is why authors love them so much.

Maybe what’s being kept hidden are the details of a long-ago love affair – or one which is still being conducted, even though it’s supposed to be over. It could be the contents of a will, or a locked box, or an attic room in a creepy old house on the moors. Or how about a secret love child, conceived in the heat of passion but its existence never revealed to the man who fathered it? (And now I bet your head is either spinning with details of a favourite book that hangs on one of these elements, or you’re hunting for a pen so you can scribble down your own take on a secret-heavy scenario.)

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what is involved; it simply has to be a piece of information that, if revealed, will alter the relationship between two people. Sometimes, it turns out to be little more than a bump in the road on the way to a happy ever after, but other secrets threaten to destroy everything that a couple have built together. As a writer, you always think you know how your characters will respond to a devastating revelation, but they can have a way of surprising you, and taking the plot in a direction you hadn’t anticipated.

Each genre has its own secrets that crop up time and again, and one of the conventions of the superhero genre is that a character is keeping their amazing powers hidden. To the outside world they’ll appear to be a bumbling reporter on a daily newspaper, a millionaire playboy with too much time on his hands or an army nurse. Even those closest to them may not be aware of their real identity, and though you might wonder how a simple pair of glasses can fool anyone into thinking Clark Kent and Superman are two different people, it’s all part of the suspension of disbelief.

In Behind The Mask, the story’s hero Christopher Chase, has never told anyone that he’s the son of the superhero Sprint, and that he’s inherited his father’s incredible speed and strength. In a city where superpowers are outlawed and using them is a death sentence, it would be too dangerous for him to own up to the truth. All his life, he’s had to fight against the urge to use his abilities, even when it would be the right thing to do. And his boyfriend, bartender Jimmy, thinks he’s just an ordinary guy who can’t hold seem to down a job for more than five minutes. But when Jimmy is caught up in a dangerous situation, Christopher will have to reveal his secret, or face losing the man he loves.


Elizabeth Coldwell is a multi-published author and editor whose stories have appeared in a number of best-selling anthologies. She has written novels in a variety of different genres, from paranormal to BDSM and contemporary romance. She is the former editor of the UK edition of Forum magazine and the proud winner of an International Leather Award. When she is not busy writing, she is an avid supporter of Rotherham United Football Club and can be regularly found on the terraces at weekends, cheering her boys to victory (hopefully!).

Find her online at The (Really) Naughty Corner, and Goodreads:


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