July’s Round Robin Blog asks the question: What book (or type of book) are you currently working on? Do you have ideas for future books?
All of life is an adventure – at least that’s my motto – and my writing is more of the same. While conventional wisdom is to stick with your genre because you don’t want to disappoint your readers, I am always up and eager for a new challenge. So, while I’ve been published in Mainstream, Time Travel, and Romance (both contemporary and historical) I was eager for something different and decided to try writing a mystery. WOW! What a whole new learning curve this has been.
When I decided my protagonist would be a deputy detective with a local sheriff’s department, I applied for a ride-along with a deputy from St. John’s County. It was a fascinating experience that just touched the tip of the iceberg. So my next move was to register for the Citizen’s Law Enforcement Academy. I learned so much about law enforcement, the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect us and the assets my county has at its disposal. I also came back with tons of great ideas for future books and a whole new appreciation for these men and women. Let’s face it, they never see even the best of us on our best days, but rather the best of us on our worst days and the worst of us on far too many of their days. And yet, they maintain their patient professionalism in the face of controversy, antipathy, outright aggression, stupidity, stubbornness and the most appalling circumstances. Made me glad I’d chosen this new writing challenge because of the glimpse my research gave me into the lives and work of these wonderful people.
So, back to my current project. Jessalyn “Jesse” Quinn grew up admiring her dad who was an officer killed in the line of duty when she was twelve. But she didn’t pursue a career in law enforcement as she would have liked. Instead, she followed her mother’s urging, married and had a family. It wasn’t until she found her husband of 12 years had been cheating on her pretty much the entire time they’d been together and realized living the life someone else ordained for her had not brought happiness, success, or any sense she was making a difference in the world that she signed up for the police academy and became a detective.
When we first meet her, she has been on the force long enough to achieve detective status and has been sent to investigate the murder of a wife of an old friend, a man she had a brief relationship with after her marriage fell apart. Torn by old loyalties and guilt and the conviction that this man did not kill his wife, she is pitted against an angry father ready to hang his dead daughter’s husband, political pressures mounting as election day rolls around and the sheriff’s major supporter is that woman’s angry father, and a conspiracy that appears to go back at least six years.
When a second murder adds to the tangled web of deceit and hidden agendas, Jesse and her partner Jake get little sleep as they race to solve the murder before more bodies pile up.
But Jesse is also a mom with a teen-age son who wholeheartedly supports his mother’s new career, a thirteen going on twenty-one year old daughter who thinks her dad’s new much younger girlfriend is way cooler than Jesse, and her own mother thinks nothing her daughter does is ladylike or acceptable. And, because love makes the world go around, I’ve created Seth Cameron (related to the Camerons of Tide’s Way for my readers who love that family already.) Seth started out as a tutor for Jesse’s son when his anger over the changes in his life threatened to keep him back a year in school, but he took a shine to Jesse and is doing his best to convince her they might have something good going, if she could learn to trust again.
I am hoping Bullseye will just be the first in a series, but learning to write a mystery is a very different adventure. I am what the writing world calls a “pantser.” I create great characters, put them in jeopardy and let them take me with them as they find their way out. But a mystery poses a problem with this method. I need to know “who dun it” before I begin. I still balk at outlining and plotting, but with the advice of a friend have learned to jot down thoughts, ideas and possibilities for the next chapter or three and then write – jot more notes and write again. And so far, it’s working. Look for Bullseye in December.
Stop on over to see what these other great authors are working on:
Dr. Bob Rich
Rhobin L Courtright