FAIRFIELD — Friends of the Fairfield Public Library held their annual membership meeting celebrating the installation of the 2019-2020 officers with a special guest author and book signing event.

The Friends of the Library have a mission to enhance the partnership between the Fairfield Public Library and the community, while advocating for quality library services benefitting Fairfield residents. One such service includes promoting the use and enjoyment of the library as a center for lifelong learning and a community hub and another support services, programs and frequent community events such as author appearances and book signings.

“Friends President Jacqui Coghlan presented a $10,000 check to the Town Librarian, Helene Murtha, to fund the Library’s Museum Pass Program for the year, and the proposed slate of 2019-2020 Board of Directors was voted on unanimously,” said Danielle Sharp, Director of Development.

Immediately following the meeting, accomplished guest speaker, Author Wendy Walker stepped up to the podium presenting her latest hit novel, “The Night Before” which was released in May 2019 and follows “All Is Not Forgotten,” (2016) and “Emma in the Night,” (2017).

Sharp contiued, “We are delighted to welcome Wendy Walker back to Fairfield to talk about her new book, ‘The Night Before.’ The book has been described as a ‘dazzling hall of mirrors,’ and a ‘hair-raising chiller,’ ‘twisty’ and ‘tightly coiled and perfectly plotted.’ Wendy is such a dynamic speaker. Wendy was our guest at the annual meeting in 2016 when her first psychological thriller, ‘All is Not Forgotten,’ was published. Fairfield University Bookstore is with us tonight selling copies of Wendy’s books.”

Walker earned her J.D. magna cum laude at Georgetown University, her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University and attended The London School of Economics and Political Science as part of her undergraduate studies. Prior to her legal career, Walker was a Financial Analyst at Goldman Sachs and began her writing career (while at home raising her three sons) writing women’s fiction before deciding to change her genre and write psychological thrillers.

“The initial concept for the book really came from the deception that is inherent in internet dating and app dating,” explained Walker. “I wanted to somehow capture in this book this feeling of deception, it’s so intimate, when you are in a dating environment, and we expect some deception — they lie about their height or posted an old picture and there’s disappointment when you meet someone when they aren’t what they said they are, but then there are the deeper levels when people lie about meeting married, they lie about their situation with their former spouse or with their children or their job or even who they really are, at their core.”

“That type of deception and the use of the internet or app dating to lure people into an intimate relationship that they know is not going to last and they know they’re misrepresenting their intentions is what I wanted to get at,” said Walker. “At the same time I didn’t want it to be a damsel in distress story or a fatal attraction story. I wanted it to be a situation where someone has lied to the wrong person who has a backstory that makes her a tinderbox for a man that lies to her.”

“The way I approach my thrillers is first with what is the premise and the premise of this internet dating got to be so prevalent I feel like its all people were talking about. It’s become a virtual candy store,” said Walker.

When asked where she draws her inspiration for each novel Walker explained, “The ability to write is very different than inspiration for me. I’m not person that goes to sit beside the ocean to be inspired by a setting. I write when my kids are at school and I need my coffee and my slippers and my quiet,” she laughed. “I had been writing women’s fiction and got two books published years ago but they didn’t sell very well and then I went back to practicing law.”

“A few things came together that brought me into the thriller genre, the first is that I was practicing family law and was learning all about psychology. I trained to be a Guardian Ad Litem and learned all about the disorders on the Axis 2 Spectrum and those make for a good psychological thriller. The second is I found a new agent who recognized a spot in the market that was heating up around the Gone Girl phenomenon and encouraged me to switch genres and reinvent myself.

“The third was that there were pieces of my childhood that were not ordinary. I trained in Colorado at age 13-16 as a young girl to become a competitive figure skater and lived in a dorm with skaters of different ages. There were a lot of experiences there that at the time I didn’t think of as traumatic but recently with all the publicity that’s happened with the gymnasts and sexual misconduct, I started recalling all of the things I had seen and experienced there in the ‘80’s that were really disturbing. When people ask me — how do you put yourself in the mindset of the characters, I think a lot of it comes from then when I was exposed to so much. From that time on I have been fascinated by events that happen to people that damage them, and affect them and inform them. My characters tend to have backstories of trauma and things that happened to them in their childhood that then create these psychological illnesses or dispositions that play into their thoughts.”

“We should think about the damage that can be caused by deception and also from destructive or subtly destructive relationships,” Walker said. We are drawn to things that feel familiar even if they’re damaging and to also fix and repair in our adult lives what we couldn’t in our childhood,” added Walker. “The next book is called, “Don’t Look for Me,” and is due out in September of 2020. It’s about a woman who disappears while she is driving back from visiting her son in upstate Connecticut and is held captive!”