Friday, February 6, 2015

The Genesis of Stutter Creek - Romantic Suspense

My beautifully covered little suspense novel, STUTTER CREEK, hit Amazon’s bestseller lists back in November of 2014. It went right up to #1 on both the Romantic Suspense list and the regular Suspense list. It was very exciting for me to be on the same list with the big boys—even if it was only for the week of the promotion. Dang.

Since then I’ve had a few folks contact me and tell me their thoughts on the story. I LOVE when this happens. Writing is such a solitary game—okay, the Internet has changed that, a lot—but still, to really get anything done, one has to cut off contact with the outside world for a certain number of hours each and every day. Where was I going with this? Oh yes, I love it when readers contact me and tell me their thoughts about the books and stories I toiled over in my little cave. I especially like it when they want to know more, such as . . .

What gave you the idea for this book?

That’s an easy one. STUTTER CREEK came about because of two things; the first was a news story about an incident that occurred near our small West Texas city. A man threw his four-year-old son out of the car beside the Interstate in the dead of night. The little boy was found wandering along the shoulder of the highway early the next morning covered in cactus spines, four hundred cactus spines to be exact. When his father was located, he was determined to be suffering from schizophrenia. That story haunted me from the day I read it until the day I wrote about a similar—fictionalized—character in STUTTER CREEK.

The second incident that inspired this story was very simple. Each year our family reunion was held in a mountain town in New Mexico where we always stayed at the same set of rustic little cabins. Those were some wonderful reunions. I also included a fictionalized version of that cabin in the story. I did not include the bit about my uncle having to dive into a Dumpster in search of his wife’s dentures. She’d taken them out and wrapped them in a napkin at a restaurant. The napkin was accidentally thrown away—but retrieved by her own Dumpster-diving knight in shining—stinky—armor and we never let another reunion go by without asking her if she had her teeth. (He also carried her big purse for her from time to time, but he said it was all right because it matched his cowboy boots.)

So there you have it, the genesis of STUTTER CREEK. Of course I added lots and lots of different things to make the novel suspenseful because, well, I love tingly suspenseful stories and a writing instructor once told me to “write what you know,” but I took that to mean write what you know you would love to read...

Please, if you have any comments or questions about my books or stories, feel free to email me or leave a comment. I’d love to base the next blog topic on your question.