How do two novelists who live on two different continents write a psychological thriller together? The process was a unique one that produced our first novel, State of Innocence, which was published in August of 2021. Australian therapist S.K. Mason and I met on-line through a mutual writing coach. She was trying to write about her own experience of getting through the loss of an infant, at the same time she was beginning her own career as a family therapist. An avid fan of American thrillers, S.K. decided to turn her fictionalize her experiences to explore what the loss of a child can do to struggling families.
Something about S.K.’s story spoke to me: a story of two families, from opposite ends of the social spectrum, both experiencing the loss of a child. There was a mystery involving one of the families. And there was the main plot line about a therapist with her first real case, who comes to realize that she is not yet experienced enough to be able to help her clients – especially their two sweet, innocent girls who were experiencing emotional distress. I loved the idea of a newly-minted professional being plunged into a new career and finding herself “in over her head” in a way that would ultimately create real cracks in the foundation of her own marriage and family. By setting the story in the Hudson Valley, and drawing on all my experiences as a community reporter in Newburgh during my time at the Times Herald Record, I added to her original story, and together we turned her initial idea into a more expansive, richer novel, filled with intrigue, heartache, and suspense.
Debra Scacciaferro is a former newspaper reporter and arts critic for the Times Herald Record of Middletown, and the Daily Record of Morris and Sussex County. She lives in the Hudson Valley of New York, where her first novel "State of Innocence" is set. After leaving the newspaper business, she worked as a researcher and assistant to her husband, bestselling author Jim DeFelice. A member of several writers groups, she wrote three unpublished novels, and began helping other writers polish their books and novels. She is grateful to her dear friend and colleague, Lorraine Ash, author of “Life Touches Life,” for introducing her to her "State of Innocence" co-author S.K. Mason, an Australian therapist and writer who was looking for an American writing partner.