Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Shadows and Secrets: My Outsiders Series

Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Mary. It’s an honor to be here and to talk about my writing. My new novel, In the Shadows: An Outsiders Mystery, is an unusual mystery novel because it has two mysteries. If you read many books in the genre, you’ll know that most mysteries begin with a murder (or kidnapping) Mine does not. It begins with a young woman, who is trying to find a job in Paris, France, while keeping her identity hidden. In the second chapter, a half-American/half-French man, Dave, is trying to deal with his sneaky grandmother who lied to him to get him to visit her in France. The characters are complicated, and the setting is most definitely unusual. The main setting is a fictitious hillside village riddled with caves and troglodyte cave-dwellings, known locally as troglos. What I tried to do was tie together the setting, the characters, and their situation, at least in some ways. The story is about trust, belonging, facades, and murder.

The original version of the book was one of my early books. The main female character, Maura, was the protagonist. But even back then, I knew instinctively that the male lead, Dave, was the better choice as protagonist. At the time, like many new authors, I had difficulty creating believable protagonists of the opposite sex. I decided to set that book aside while I studied and practiced the writing craft.

Several years later, once I was a more experience writer, I began work on a sequel to that book. But this time I wanted to create a more traditional mystery plot. The sequel would take off where the first one ended, or a while after. When I started writing it, I wasn’t sure what I would do with these two books. Maybe publish the second book, I thought. Then if people liked it, I could rewrite the first book and publish it as a prequel. Well, that second book was a breeze to write. It took about three months. After a quick edit with an editor friend, I sent it out to agents and publishers. It drew interest and was snapped up.

Flash forward a year. By now, I had decided to go the indie route for publishing. I’d completely rewritten the first book, making Dave the protagonist. Those years of hard work—and a couple of mentors—had taught me a lot. It probably helped that I had two editors who were male. I published In the Shadows at the end of October and it’s received 6 five-star reviews so far. Now I’m preparing the second book for publishing. That book will be titled Where Secrets Reside: An Outsiders Mystery. I made sure that I carried forward any changes from the first book and then I did a line edit. Now someone is reading that book. He’s only read three chapters so far and he says he really likes it. The sequel is slightly shorter than the first book, and it is very fast paced. It’s more complicated, too, with more than a dozen point of view characters. It has flashbacks, multiple story-lines, and more scenes inside the caves and troglos. I loved working on both books. I hope people will love reading them, too.

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