The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.—Mahatma Gandhi
When I write a novel I want to have a theme woven within the plot. A theme could be thought of as the soul of a story. Or maybe the skeleton. A foundation on which you build the structure. People sometime bristle at the idea of having a theme in a thriller. After all a thriller is supposed to be action packed or filled with brooding psychological suspense. A page turner. There’s no time or room for a theme. Think a sudden stoppage of the action for some character to come forward and, with the piety of a preacher about to excoriate his parishioners for their long held sins, tell you, the reader, how you should live, what you should do, or what you must stop doing. Bummer. That’s not how theme works. Particularly in a thriller. And I don’t write like that. A judicious application of make-up should enhance the wearer’s positive features without calling attention to itself. Theme works the same way. It should help propel the story forward in an interesting way without shouting, “This is the theme!” in each chapter. Themes, although not shouted from the rooftops of books, can be very powerful. They can prick the conscience, move the reader to reconsider a belief, or help shore up a long held opinion. The best way to read a thriller with a theme is not to consciously search for the theme but to let it seek you out. Don’t worry over what deep meaning the author is trying to convey. Suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride. In my novel, Lethal Paradise, the theme is articulated best in the above Gandhi quote which also appears in the front-matter of the book. I hope you get a copy, read the quote and store it in the back of your mind, then strap in for a rollicking ride. Later, maybe, recall the quote and theme. It just might change your life.