Thursday, December 17, 2015

On The Road To St. Louis

By Linda Thorne

My husband and I drove from our Nashville home to St. Louis, Missouri last Friday for an early mini-Christmas with some of our kids and grandkids. Here we are at the pre-holiday get together:

Ever since I began writing, any time my husband and I took a road trip, we’d toss ideas back and forth along the way on whatever I was writing. Our most successful trip happened when we lived in the Central Valley of California and drove to Las Vegas. We spent hours trying to come up with the right clue for my protagonist to find to solve the murders. Every time we thought we had it, we’d realize it was either too obvious or something about it wouldn’t work. On the return trip from Vegas we hit pay dirt when my husband remembered a gadget from his past. The clue would initially send my protagonist in the wrong direction, but then lead her directly where she needed to go.

With my book now published, this time on the road to St. Louis we reflected on additions I’d made to my book because of history or family. A minor character in one scene had come to the Mississippi Gulf Coast from Denver. The city was chosen because we’d lived in Denver fifteen years, our son and his family still there. I gave Minneapolis for the hometown of another character who’d moved to my setting on the Mississippi Gulf Coast because our oldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids lived there at the time.

We also talked about things changed or altered in my book because of history or family. I’d been able to keep my establishments and landmarks status quo by setting it in pre-Katrina time (see last month’s post), but some changes just happened. For example, one of my characters had come to the Mississippi Gulf Coast from St. Louis, a city I'd picked at random, one where no one we knew ever lived. Throughout the book, this character yearns to return to his St. Louis hometown. Then from out of the blue came a job opportunity for my Minneapolis son-in-law in of all places St. Louis, and our oldest and her family made the move.

A coincidence, but then came another requiring me to make a change. Our single daughter became engaged to a man with the same name as my St. Louis character. The last names identical, the first names sounding alike and differing by a single letter. I’d become attached to my character's long, unusual name, but before I submitted my book to the next publisher, I felt I had to swap it out for one less favorable. Good thing too. The publisher, Black Opal Books, chose to publish my book and our daughter married the man with my character’s original name and they now have a baby, also with that name.
Instead of simply reflecting on a book now published, perhaps we should’ve spent our road time batting around ideas needed for my second book. Then again, I’d toted a finished, but unpublished Just Another Termination around for years and thought I deserved a little reveling in this, the year it was finally published.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to all!

My book is set on the Mississippi Gulf Coast pre-Katrina and tells the story of Judy Kenagy, the first career human resources manager to turn sleuth. At long last, she lands a job with a good employer, but the trouble is just beginning…
Judy hopes her days of running from bad bosses and guilt -ridden memories are over. But alas, she’s barely settled in when a young female employee is found shot to death, spinning her new workplace into turmoil. Small-town police chief, Carl Bombardier solicits Judy’s help in her role as the company’s HR Manager. While working with Judy, he shares his fanatical interest in a twenty-five-year-old double homicide he believes is linked to her last and worst bad boss. To make matters worse, the trusted assistant of her monster ex-boss starts showing up, keeping the unwanted connection going. When the pesky trusted assistant turns up murdered, Judy learns there’s a connection with the shooting death of the employee. She starts sleuthing at the crime scene and stumbles upon an
important piece of evidence. Can she solve all of the murders with this single find? If she does, will she finally be freed from the demons of her past? Or are things not as they seem?
Twitter:  @lindamthorne


Morgan Mandel said...

Yes, Life is stranger than fiction. Good thing you changed that character's name!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I agree, changing the name was the only thing that made sense. Although someday he may ask to have a character named after him.

authorlindathorne said...

Like I did. Yeah, Marilyn, it was fun to win a contest and have a character named after me in your book, Not As It Seems. This was a lot different since it was our daughter's first marriage and her husband carried some demographic information very close to my character's, so it might look like I got that information because of his history. Also, my character in the book was naïve, geeky, and he stuttered, which are not anything like my son-in-law. Then they had the baby, who I could just picture ten years from now saying something like, "Grandma, why did you name this silly character after my Daddy?" I had to lose the name even though I had it first. (: