In November 2009, she was outside her house preparing to walk the dogs when her agent called. Would Ms. Williams give up her dog-walking business and develop Keye Street into a series? If so, a contract promised $1 million if the book hit sales targets.
Ms. Williams hung up the phone and, she recalled, began sobbing on her porch. When a neighbor asked if she was all right, she replied: “Yes. Yes, I’m fine.”
The first book, “The Stranger You Seek” (2011), was well-received and translated into seven languages It followed the tale of Keye Street as she helped a small-town sheriff solve a mystery that began with the discovery of two murdered teenage girls.
“Williams handles crime scene procedures with assurance, uses forthright language to portray a frightful killer and isn’t above injecting a bit of Southern humor into a grim situation,” Marilyn Stasio wrote in 2011 in The New York Times Book Review.
She wrote two sequels, “Stranger in the Room,” which was published in 2012, and “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” published in 2014. That year, Ms. Williams learned she had stage three endometrial cancer, which begins in the uterus. She later teamed with a photographer to publish an online essay about her cancer struggle titled “Bald.”
Ms. Williams’s survivors include her father; her stepmother, Betty Williams; her brother, Parkhill Scott Williams; and her sister, Heather Brianna Williams.
Ms. Williams often said that dyslexia was the most beautiful word she had ever heard.
“I lived in that undiagnosed, unsupported world for many years,” she said. “When you grow up feeling less than, feeling dumb, being told you’re not trying or not smart enough to do what is asked of you in school, it marks you. It just does.”
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