Marla Miller’s “Deadly Little Secrets” is her first published novel though she’s been writing fiction for years. She makes her living as an editor and writing coach and teaches workshops at Santa Barbara Writers Conference and Southern California Writers’ Conference. For 16 years, she was a journalist in Orange County before becoming founding editor-in-chief of an O.C. lifestyle magazine. Prior to that, Miller was a psychiatric nurse practitioner. It is through this prism that this medical suspense/romance is told.
For more about Marla, visit her website at www.MarlaMiller.com.
What’s your favorite scene in “Deadly Little Secrets” and why?
Any hospital scene is good reading, fast-paced, and authentic. I also loved writing the scenes that featured the teenage characters. They are brave kids.
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Reading “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” to my kids and grandchild. We end up giggling a lot.
If a reader curls up with your book on a cold, winter night, what’s the perfect seasonal beverage you’d recommend?
Any stiff drink will do.
What are you working on next?
My next novel chronicles a middle-age woman’s panic over aging and will appeal to any readers who hear themselves humming “Is that all there is?” Working title “SweetSpot” and
yes, it is about one mid-life woman’s search for hers.
Deadly Little Secrets
By Marla Miller
Two best friends since grade school may not be much longer in this romantic suspense set in an O.C. California coastal community. In the spring of 1985, a school board meeting is held to decide the fate of an AIDS education module faculty at the local high school recommend be added to the curriculum of the school’s sex education program. Only a few people knew that the meeting would turn ugly; protagonist Loretta Casterini was not one of them.
Over the next ten-days – in the middle of which Rock Hudson’s face, more grim reaper than leading man, splashes across newspapers around the world– Loretta not only learns about secrets her best friend Julia has kept but that one of them could have had deadly consequences.
Until this incident happened, Loretta had always held Julia Brooks in the kind of high regard reserved for those women who pushed open those ‘boys only’ clubhouse doors by using their intelligence. That was Julia Brooks. When Stanford Med accepted her in the spring of 1969, days after she had turned twenty, Loretta was not the least bit surprised.
What surprised her was Julia’s reaction at the school board meeting to this public health education issue. Also a shock was watching Julia’s reaction to her former lover, Steven Wilcox, now president of the town’s school board.
The only one at that meeting not surprised- besides the health education teacher parent protesters were trying to malign – was Steve Wilcox’s seventeen year-old son, Mark.
Hours after the meeting, Loretta finds out that Mark’s car crashed over North Canyon Road. Once everyone converges at the hospital, only then does Loretta begin to figure out what was probably always right in front of her, Dr. Julia Brooks didn’t walk on water after all.