Why I chose a neighborhood setting for The Secret Next Door

Nov 10, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Rebecca Taylor

Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to order it from Amazon.

Setting The Secret Next Door in a neighborhood was an obvious choice for me once all the many story variables began to gel, and it became apparent that this novel was about safety. The safety we crave for ourselves and our loved ones, and our beliefs about where safety can and should be found. And what happens to us, psychologically and emotionally, once the systems we’ve constructed, or moved into, begin to break down and we sense that we are no longer safe.

When we feel our children are no longer safe.

For me, the genesis for new book ideas is an ethereal, fractured cognitive experience that can be tough to pin down, never mind describe. I think the reason is because there are so many pieces that go into the creation of a book (characters, plot, theme, setting, etc) and that each of these pieces have their own conception, and often with individual inspirations. A book isn’t a singular idea that is inspired by one place or event, it is a circus of concepts, feelings, and chance encounters that all swirl together inside a writer’s mind and, hopefully, coalesce into a coherent story.

This mysterious process was no different for The Secret Next Door. When the book first began to take shape in my mind and then on the page, I was thinking about how my own neighborhood had grown divided on its social media page over the potential construction of a Top Golf facility nearby. Watching the arguments unfold for all to read, I was struck by how fast a “good” neighborhood can split apart when conflict is introduced, and individuals feel they have something to lose and nothing to gain.

Rebecca Taylor

And as fascinating, and horrible, as it is to watch your neighbors go after each other over a single topic, this isn’t enough meat for a whole book. Because as a writer you’re not as concerned about the conflict itself, but rather why is this conflict occurring, what is the motivation behind it, and what, truly, do all these characters really want any way?

Given all this, I wanted to explore my main character’s belief that “safe” could be had if she was able to purchase an expensive home within The Enclave. Additionally, what growth would occur for her once she realized that money doesn’t inoculate us from our greatest fears? How could her perception of “safe” shift, and what strength could she find within to meet this need for external security?

For me, the books I write are primarily about the characters, their psychology, emotions, and behaviors. In The Secret Next Door, The Enclave neighborhood is a macro character in and of itself. A character that, in the end, fails to live up to the expectations all my human characters have placed in it.

To enter to win a copy of The Secret Next Door, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “secret,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 20, 2021. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode just went up.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link:

Rebecca Taylor is a Colorado Book Award winner (ASCENDANT, 2014) and a finalist for the RWA RITA Award (AFFECTIVE NEEDS, 2017). HER PERFECT LIFE was a 2021 Colorado Book Award finalist and WFWA STAR award finalist. THE SECRECT NEXT DOOR is Rebecca’s eighth novel and will be published by Sourcebooks Landmark November 9, 2021.
She currently lives in Colorado with her family. Learn more at: www.rebeccataylorbooks.com
@RebeccaAuthor (Twitter)
@RebeccaTaylorPage (Facebook)
@RebeccaTaylorBooks (Instagram)

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Social media probably doesn’t help with the neighborhood problems. Count me in!

  2. This sounds like an engaging and thrilling read.

  3. Safety is a hard commodity to
    come by. No one is guaranteed
    they’ll be safe wherever they are.
    Sounds like an interesting read.

  4. Sounds like a great read. Looking forward to reading the book.



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