Before the end of this year, I will be releasing my first novel. Yay! I thought this would be an event slated for 2013 but serendipitous things happen. I’m still tweaking the official title so this post sounds a bit evasive, which is appropriate to the mystery genre.
This story evolved from a suggestion my Dad made an eon ago. The final form bears no resemblance to that initial spark but in the end, this is the story I wanted to tell. After many faulty starts, the manuscript languished in a desk drawer, ocassionally withdrawn to churn out the occasional chapter to be presented on parental appreciation days. Eventually the story crept inside my head and turned in an entirely new direction. After a burst of intense effort I finished the darn thing and shipped it off. Dad was proud.
“Almost any animal will fit inside a five gallon bucket, given enough weathering time. There’s nothing better than skeletal elements for taxonomic comparison. A man who hauls home roadkill for you…now he’s a keeper.” ~Rose Brashear
A funny thing happened, the story woudn’t stay fixed. The plot poked at my unconscious and the characters whispered in my ear late at night. Finally, I listened and let the story go where it wanted.
Some characters are so potent they wrest control of the keyboard and veer down paths not considered. That’s what happened to me. Savio Mendes kept demanding attention. For a long while I had a shadowy third bad guy in the story but he never developed into a concrete personality. One night this voice said, excuse me, but I am not really a background character. Okay, I thought, I can write him in as a bigger part of the story. Then he said, excuse me, but I am Brazilian and I do not like that name. That’s not a bad idea, I’m not committed to any of these names, so I gave him the one he wanted. Then it was, excuse me, but I am not that BAD of a bad guy. Huh. All right. I’ll get on board with that, but when he said, excuse me, but I think I would not be attracted to….uh….her name is Rose? Ah…perfecto, I knew I had him. Done deal. One glimpse of Rose Brashear and Savio was smitten.
“Every person has a breaking point. Identify their weakness, determine the appropriate course of action and apply pressure accordingly. It works every time. Without fail.” ~Savio Mendes
Savio is the reason this story went from being a generic mystery to more of a romantic suspense. Rose needed a counterpart equally strong-willed, dangerous, and challenging. I think they’re well-matched. Strong personalities vy for screen time and so it became necessary to split the story into a trilogy (so far). Some characters are just so much fun I want to spend more time with them.
Building on personal experience of time and place, people and events, I know that fieldwork often brings unexpected results. Here’s the current blurby bit:
Rose Brashear arrives at Yellowstone National Park prepared to conduct some whirlwind field research. The professional stakes are high but her research focus is derailed when she stumbles across a dead man steaming in a thermal pond, a deer antler protruding from one ear and a salamander perched on one shoulder. The park service cancels all research permits until the cause of death is clarified and the crime scene released, but the body mysteriously disappears. Facing a deadline with the potential to disrupt her career, Rose doesn’t have the time or resources to wait for law enforcement to figure out what’s going on. She sets out to discover what the antler and the bizarre footprints around the crime scene really mean. In the process she comes face-to-face with a dangerously attractive man. Rose is about to discover her boundaries are not where she’s always believed them to be and that some people will kill to keep secrets.
There’s still a lot to do before release day but I’m excited. A final round of edits, selecting a cover design, formatting the manuscript for various platforms, and determining an actual title are all on the “to do” list before this is a sealed deal. Then there’s the challenge of marketing and advertising…but the end feels like it’s in sight. Does the story sound interesting? Got any suggestions or advice? Do share. All input welcome!