Thanks for inviting me to blog with Femme Fatales.
Between being a plotting pantser (which means the story develops as I write it) and having a touch of ADHD, sometimes, I’m a mess.
I can be rocking the word count in a story and have something stop me cold. Usually, it’s because I need to know something. I may not know what it is I need to know. That’s where I’m at now with writing the latest Tourist Trap Mystery. Sure, I can make excuses about what’s going on, but I’ve played this mind game before with me. I need to nail down how the scuzzy, charming banker really dies before I go on.
So I’m researching methods of murder and hoping the FBI’s computer bots don’t flag me as a potential serial killer. I’m probably okay, because I have NO go to murder method in my searches and serial killers usually have a pattern. At least that’s what I tell myself.
I love researching. To research for an article for a non-fiction class I took a few years ago, I visited an old mining town in Idaho to learn more about the residents. I visited the dive bars (three), found the old churches (two) and finally found myself walking the overgrown cemetery. I found one special gravesite in the small, ancient plots that called to me. The husband had written his deceased wife a poem about how their lives would join in the afterlife. He went on to be the mayor of Boise, remarried, and raised a bunch of kids. She stayed in Idaho City’s cemetery where they’d started their life together.
I went home and started researching for any mention of ‘The Other Mary.’ (Yes, his second wife was named Mary too.) Most of the information I found was on the husband. Reading more about his early years, I went back to Idaho City. I walked the dirt streets and found the building where they lived above his general store. And the Mason temple where he was a member, no women allowed. I even tried to tip toe to see in the meeting room, like I’d imagined my Mary would have to see where her husband disappeared too, once a month.
My professor loved the story. With one caveat. She believed it held too much fiction in what really happened to my Mary to be a true non-fiction piece. She was right, but I’d like to think I got the story straight.
When I started writing the Tourist Trap mysteries, I loved the idea of sprinkling in history in the story. Not to the point it took over the book, but just enough to show my love for wandering through old cemeteries and wondering about the lives people lived in years past.
If you’re familiar with the central California coastal area, you may think you know where South Cove is located. Or at least where the little town lives in my memory of the area. Adding in the historical touches gave my characters something to play with as they’re trying to solve the latest murder.
Researching the history gives me an excuse to Google unusual search terms. Like deaths caused by stun guns. Or Spanish explorers on the California coast. Or the value of old coins.
You never know where an internet search will take you.
A Mission to Murder, second book in Lynn's Tourist Trap series, is published by eKensington and is available as an ebook on Amazon, Nook, and Kobo.