A Secret No Longer
S.A. Williams, author of the 1940 thriller “Anna’s Secret Legacy,” shares her remarkable story
By Bill Donahue
S.A. Williams’ life has been anything but ordinary, one that fans of suspense fiction might want to read about in a novel … or see come alive on a movie screen.
Although she now resides in the Philadelphia suburbs, Williams is truly a student of the world. She was educated in London, Paris, Rome, Brussels and other bastions of culture throughout Europe, and she has also lived in metropolitan cities throughout New York, Rhode Island and Texas. After completing her formal education, she made a name for herself as both an artist and a prominent businesswoman. She developed an interest in film early on, and in the course of her 20 years as a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), she worked on the sets of Philadelphia-based films such as “The Age of Innocence,” “Rocky Balboa” “The Sixth Sense,” “Philadelphia” and “Silver Linings Playbook”; she also worked on “Franny,” a project starring Richard Gere that is currently in post-production. Along the way, she has forged bonds with heads of state and titans of the silver screen, as well as CEOs of multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical firms, leaders of revered universities and other A-list luminaries.
It should come as no surprise, then, that her first novel, “Anna’s Secret Legacy,” is so imaginative and ambitious. At its heart, “Anna’s Secret Legacy” is a World War II-era love story set in the days leading up to Adolph Hitler’s invasion of Denmark and Norway. This is hardly a typical Harlequin romance novel. Instead, Williams’ story focuses on the molecular discovery of a substance known that comes from sulfur water. In her book, Williams imagines this secret formula that comes from sulfur water as a sort of cure-all with the ability to restore damaged DNA cells, thereby making the human body impervious to disease. In the wrong hands, however, this secret formula, if chemically manipulated, has the potential to wipe out humanity. Historically accurate and scientifically plausible, the book is based on meticulous research—“I read 700 books and thousands of articles over a two-year period,” the author says—and interviews with experts in their respective fields.
“Anna’s Secret Legacy” also explores time-tested themes such as family and romantic love, dissecting the relationship between two people to which love has never come easy. The tension begins when U.S. Navy Reserve pilot Doug Conyers embarks on a confidential mission to gather intelligence in Paris and Copenhagen. When he meets a brilliant, beautiful young woman—Anna, the research scientist who has unraveled the mystery surrounding sulfur water’s startling potential—at a jazz club in Denmark, both of their lives are forever changed. With Doug’s help, Anna must prevent her discovery from becoming a weapon for bioterrorism. As the Germans invade in search of resources to fuel Hitler’s war machine, Anna realizes she must flee to keep her secret hidden, especially if she is to save her severely ill sister, Britta.
“Most people just go about living their lives—surviving vs. achieving,” Williams says. “We’re told to abandon our youthful fantasies, and over time that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Although my story takes place in the 1940s, it speaks to people across all demographics because it deals with the discovery of something that could cure cancer and be a cure for germ warfare. All of us in our lives know someone who has passed away from cancer or some other sickness. My overall message is that we should never stop trying new things and never give up hope.”
Articulate and highly educated, Williams earned her undergraduate degree from Syracuse University. After college, she became credentialed in Global Marketing and Management, Entrepreneurship and The CEO Leadership Program from the renowned Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She also earned Global Marketing and Strategic Management credentials from Harvard Business School. She is equally distinguished in her artistic pursuits. In addition to being a veteran SAG member, she earned bronze, silver and gold medals from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. One might best describe her as a rare breed—equal parts artist and businesswoman, writer and producer, actress and science enthusiast with a keen interest in the works of Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr.
Response to her action-packed novel has been extraordinary, as evidenced by online reviews and the fact that its Facebook page has garnered more than 100,000 “likes” since the book’s publication in July 2010. She has since adapted “Anna’s Secret Legacy” into a screenplay she describes as a 1940 thriller that begins in Copenhagen. Williams is now at work researching, writing and assertively marketing a sequel, “Mackenzie’s Secret,” which she envisions as both a novel and multi-season TV series.
“I originally wanted to do a TV series, and I wanted an intelligent series that would engage people emotionally and intellectually,” she says. “I wanted to do something fun that wasn’t catering to the lowest common denominator. … I’ll work till the sun comes up sometimes because I get so caught up in the story. I think it would make a great TV series or a great film.”
Such optimism appears to be well founded, as Williams suggests a number of notable producers, actors and other Hollywood VIPs have shown significant interest in her project.
“Anna’s Secret Legacy” is available as a hard copy through http://www.amazon.com, http://www.bn.com and other online booksellers or as an e-book for Kindle. For more information on the author and her upcoming projects, visit http://www.annassecretlegacynovel.com or find “Anna’s Secret Legacy” on Facebook.