Easter Eggs, Allusions, Hidden Messages – How Authors Wink at Their Readers

Years ago, I was at a talk by someone who worked for Bravo, and he was talking about the Real Housewives franchise. The network knew its stars were ridiculous. More importantly, he revealed, the stars themselves knew they would be portrayed in a way that was ridiculous. The executive explained that they tried to ensure every ridiculous, affluent-and-whiny-beyond-reason moment was followed by a “Bravo wink”: someone looking at the camera to acknowledge the madness or the editing pausing or otherwise alerting the viewer that, “Hey, we know this is nuts. That’s the fun of it.”

I’ve thought a lot about the Bravo wink over the years. As a novelist, there are similar ways I can acknowledge moments in which readers might want to make sure I know what I’m doing. Similarly, novelists can give readers a quick meta-moment – a reference to something outside the book, a hidden message for readers of their previous books, an “Easter egg” that only savvy readers will find.

For the Bold Strokes Books blog, I wrote about this phenomenon and how I used it in The Queen Has a Cold. Check it out and let me know what you think!

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