Novelist Ann Bridges has worked among Silicon Valley’s corporate elite. Her work aims to reinvent the suspense genre with challenging plot twists and a sobering look at financial realities otherwise concealed.

Much of your new novel Private Offerings takes place in Silicon Valley. What is it about this place that people should know?

Even when the hills are brown, we see golden opportunities everywhere. Call it historical naiveté, call it dreaming—it fuels the entrepreneurial spirit.

Who do you love to read, and if you could steal one of their powers, what would it be?

Hemingway’s pithiness inspires me, as perfectly exemplified by his six-word story: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.” Readers fill in the blanks from his emotional imagery, rather than the novelist writing it all out for them.

Stephen King said, “Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.” Your thoughts?

Suspense requires stoking the reader’s curiosity with tiny details, enticing him or her to discover what happens next. If the details are too scant or unbelievable, it breaks the pact the author makes with the reader to embrace the plot and characters’ foibles and consider future possibilities. I add a little twist at the end of my novels to challenge the reader’s premise and encourage future open-mindedness about their own prejudices and initial conclusions.

What question are you never asked that you want to answer? And what’s the answer?

Why do you focus on business themes in your novels?
Eighty percent-plus of Americans work in a business their entire lives, yet few understand its basic underpinning and goals. I want to demystify its inner workings, and share it with those impacted most. Stories involving China and Silicon Valley’s ongoing influence on our lives provide invaluable lessons and a timely investment in our future. As we encourage women’s business success with Silicon Valley–sized dreams, my novels also provide pragmatic, realistic scenarios of insider experiences with an inspirational touch.

Cocktails in Marin with J. K. Rowling or penniless in London with Shakespeare?

Brunch with Michael Crichton at Buck’s of Woodside talking about the ethics of technology with VCs.

Article originally appeared in Issue 7.5 “Serve”