Last week I was talking with a friend about writing and she asked how I decide what characters are good for each story. She was referring to my primary protagonists, Jefferson Chene and Jamie Malone. Both have a tendency to grab my attention and demand inclusion in whatever is in development.
While working on the second Chene book, I wanted to include a pesky reporter, someone who had crossed Chene’s path before and was receptive to a little give and take, the sharing of information that could benefit both parties. As I was mulling this over, it dawned on me that Jamie fit the bill perfectly. This had a sense of symmetry, because Chene makes his first appearance in “Vanishing Act” the second Jamie Richmond mystery.
About the time that I had this idea, I was at a book event with Melissa Keir, whose Inkspell Publishing house is the home for Jamie’s adventures. I mentioned this in passing to Melissa and she was very supportive. She referred to it as a crossover, using characters from one series to appear in another.
Once I got into the process, I realized Jamie was too good (and too stubborn) to appear in just one or two scenes. As the story evolved, she took on a greater role. When it was all said and done, I was pleased with her assistance. (This could be a photo of Jamie.)
I was notified this week that “Your Turn to Die” is a candidate in the March competition on All Authors. The cover art was by RJ Morris. Anyone can vote. Just follow the link below.
Since Jamie appears in the new book, here’s a scene where she and Chene are bantering about Kyle Morrissey, the victim of the homicide.
“Chene, it’s a good thing Malone isn’t the jealous type,” she said as a form of greeting. “Tell me you’re onto something.”
“It may not solve the murder, but it’s a lead on the money. Your research gave me some direction.”
I could hear the excitement building in her voice. “Don’t keep me in suspense. What did you find?”
I laid it out for her. In the background I could hear the clacking of a computer keyboard. She was determined to be right in the thick of it. Quickly I explained the efforts of the others and my expectations.
“I’m not sitting on the sidelines, Chene. You wouldn’t have this without me. There’s gotta be something I can do.”
It was a long shot, but there was a chance she could deliver. “See if you can find any of the remaining family. I think they’re scattered across the country. But they might remember the old place. And there could be stories.”
She hesitated. “Why dump this on me?”
“I’m not dumping. You’re a successful author. People would be more willing to talk with you if they think it’s research for another book. There may be some legends handed down from the earlier generations. Maybe one of those stories is true.”
“What kind of legends?”
There was another hesitation. “Oh, what the hell. I’ll be in touch one way or the other. But if there are family legends about buried treasure, I’m using it in a novel.”
There was a lot of variety on the music front this week. Here's a favorite from the great Michael Jackson.