Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What happens when an idea sparks? Let It Sew.

I told you we'd have a guest.  Hey, help me pick up the magazines and books off the coffee table.  Are the dogs outside?  What about the cat? Who ate the cookies I sat out a few minutes ago...

Okay, now, I think we're ready... my friend, Elizabeth Lynn Casey, aka, Laura Bradford, is here to talk about her latest release in the successful Southern Sewing Circle Mystery series, LET IT SEW.  BTW, I love this cover! But I'll stop fussing and let Elizabeth talk.


Ask a dozen writers what sparks a story and you’ll probably get a dozen answers with a handful of similarities—a news article, a radio snippet (a big one for me), and/or a dream. And most of the time, that’s probably the case. Sometimes though, at least for me, the initial jumping off point comes from a flash of something that, by itself, seems rather meaningless.

Take for example my latest book, LET IT SEW—the 7th book in my Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries. I knew it was going to be a holiday book and that it was to be released in November of 2012, but beyond that, I didn’t really have a plan. Then came the flash, or, rather flashes.

Flash One: A woman with Alzheimer’s and whether their long term memory could remain intact, at least in spurts (the answer, according to my personal neurologist, was yes—hurrah!).

Flash Two: A different woman hell-bent on claiming her spot in a man’s life—his children be damned.

Most non-writers would probably see those flashes as odd thoughts and move on. But for a writer? Game on!

Once I’d confirmed the memory possibilities for my Alzheimer’s patient in the first flash, I began to build outward—using her skill with a sketch pad to slowly unlock a murder. Sketch by sketch this woman releases a chilling secret she’s hidden for nearly five years, a secret she thought she’d been keeping to protect one person only to find out her silence had actually enabled the real perpetrator to pull of the perfect crime.

But will anyone listen? After all, she has Alzheimer’s, doesn’t she?

The holiday aspect of my book grabbed hold of the second flash and spiraled that woman’s evil intent in multiple directions, making her the perfect female Grinch to wreak havoc among the series’ staple characters.

The next thing I knew, my fingers were off and running on my keyboard as my first flash took center stage and the second flash morphed into two different—yet interwoven—subplots.


I love it when that happens, don’t you?


Elizabeth Lynn Casey is the author of the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries with Berkley Prime Crime. LET IT SEW, the 7th book in the series, is now available. Additionally, she is also the author of the new Amish Mysteries (also with Berkley) under her regular name, Laura Bradford. HEARSE AND BUGGY, the 1st book in that series, released in June. When she’s not writing mysteries, Laura occasionally dabbles in romances with her most recent release in that genre, STORYBOOK DAD. To learn more, visit: www.elizabethlynncasey.com or www.laurabradford.com.


Morgan Mandel said...

Great story concept!
Also, I love that cover!

Morgan Mandel

Kaye George said...

Yes, the plot sounds excellent. When my dad descended into Alzheimers, he told me details of his childhood that I'm sure he'd completely forgotten before the illness. That stuff is in there, covered up, for most of us. One of the only benefit of Alz. is the unveiling of those experiences, I think. Love the title!

Elizabeth Lynn Casey said...

Morgan, thank you!

Kathleen, you're right, they are like jewels. Precious jewels.

Kaye, I find it fascinating that Alzheimers' patients can be so clear and accurate with long term memories at times. It was fun to work with that in the book, even if it wasn't on a super deep level.