Guest Author Dawn Tripp

Today I have the honor to introduce you to an award winning author.  Lisa, from Sparkpoint Studio LLC, contacted me and asked if I would read and review Game Of Secrets.  Whenever I get a request, I always ask if the author would stop by and visit, and she agreed.  Please help me welcome Ms. Dawn Tripp!!


Winner of the Massachusetts Book Award, Dawn Tripp’s fiction has earned praise from critics for her “thrilling” storytelling (People Magazine), her “haunting, ethereal” prose (Booklist), and her “marvelous characters” (Orlando Sentinel). She is the author of the novels, Moon Tide, The Season of Open Water, and Game of Secrets, a Boston Globe bestseller. Her essays have appeared on NPR and online at Psychology Today. She teaches workshops on structuring the arc of a novel out of fragments of fact and fiction. She graduated from Harvard College and lives in Massachusetts with her husband, sons, and 80-pound German Shepherd.
You can visit Dawn at her website and on Twitter.



As writers in the midst of a novel, we are often working to pin down what we know so far about our story: about a turn of events; about what’s going to happen next; about where it’s all heading and how it will end; we are working to figure out our characters—who they are, what makes them tick, what they have done, and why.

Faced with uncertainty, I admit, the impulse is often to nail it all down, map out that arc, make that outline. But I have found that the longer I resist that impulse to pin everything into place, the longer I kick around in what I do not yet know, the better the writing becomes. That doesn’t mean the arc of a story isn’t there. It doesn’t mean some dark underside of my mind hasn’t already figured it out. I put my faith in the fact that there is such an order. And then I write to discover it.

My novels start in pieces, on the page for months, bits of character, story, scene. Those pieces might feel intuitively linked; I might have glimpses of the overall structure. But I don’t have it all figured out. In the early stages of a book, I feel like I am writing into a story that already exists. I write what moves me, what I am impelled by. Sometimes I draft a sequence toward the opening, more often I will draft what I sense to be the ending first. There’s a certain opening of mind, a willingness to dwell in possibility. I don’t polish my drafts up too soon. I leave notes in the margins. I leave some passages entirely without punctuation. I leave things untidy, open to change. That openness, I feel, is critical. I find that when I can let myself stay open to what I may not yet have uncovered, when I can let myself be driven by what I do not yet know, the story often turns, deepens, in unexpected, revelatory ways.

As I was writing GAME OF SECRETS, I felt like I was continually being overturned. And I knew in my gut that I had to stay open to that. Again and again, I would discover some new twist that was not in my original vision for the novel, and often in consequence, the story would change, and I would have to let it change. I wrote what I thought was the ending of the story early on. I fell in love with it. It became that kind of horizon a strong ending can be that drives you, day in, day out, to create the 300 pages leading up to that moment. What I did not expect, and could not have foreseen, was that in fact that ending was not the climax. The most powerful revelation was something I was writing toward without even realizing it, until all at once, I did.


In 1957, Jane Weld was eleven years old when her father Luce, a petty thief, disappeared. His skiff was found drifting near the marsh, empty except for his hunting coat and a box of shot-gun shells. No one in his small New England town knew for sure what happened until, three years later, his skull rolled out of a gravel bank by the river, a bullet hole in the temple. There were rumors he had been murdered by the jealous husband of his mistress, Ada Varick. Now, half a century later, Jane is still searching for the truth of her father’s death, a mystery made more urgent by the unexpected romance that her willful daughter, Marne, has struck up with one of Ada’s sons. As their love affair intensifies, Jane and Ada meet for a casual Friday board game that soon transforms into a cat-and-mouse game of words long left unspoken, dark secrets best left untold.


“A combination of thriller, mystery, and literary fiction; the secrets of a murder are revealed through an intense Scrabble game…..An intelligent beach-read.” —The Boston Phoenix

“A gracefully told character study of three intelligent, forbidding women and the men who love them, wrapped up in a taut, suspenseful mystery, Tripp’s third novel builds to a surprising finish” —Booklist

“A page-turning thriller–a game of Scrabble helps two families spell out the history of a small-town murder.” —Better Homes and Gardens

“A brilliant metaphor is at play in the center of Game of Secrets, Dawn Tripp’s extraordinary new novel. In the ongoing play of a board game, in a surprising, hauntingly resonant plot, and in complex, compelling characters, she illuminates deep truths about the way we try to piece the world together into meaning, working with what we are given, struggling with family and fate and desire….This is a truly important work by one of our finest writers.” – Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of A Good Scent From A Strange Mountain

“Lush, perfectly calibrated language that opens doors on every page through which the enchanted reader falls.” —Jenny White, author of The Winter Thief

“Fair warning: Don’t start Game of Secrets unless you’re prepared to finish it in one sitting….because once these characters get into your head they don’t let go.” —Kim Wright, author of Love in Mid-Air



I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.

Related Articles:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.