Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oh no! What have I done?

What was I thinking?  I should have given some thought to where I live before I let my mind get carried away.  Can I continue to live here or will I have to move.  Where can I hide?  Maybe I shouldn't take the complete blame for my fear and the fear I have incited in all my neighbors.  The fear that is spreading like a prairie fire to all rural communities first and then to the cities and finally around the world.  

I'm not entirely to blame you know.  I think my good friend and suspense writer, Alex Kava, should share the blame.  After all it all stemmed from her idea.  Yeah, Alex, it's all your fault....well, you didn't exactly put those words in my mind that came out on paper that started this terror, but you did make the initial suggestion that started it all.

Almost two years ago while spending Thanksgiving at Alex Kava's Florida home, she suggested we write a short story together for an anthology.  We casually discussed it.  I suggested that her sleuth Agent Maggie O'Dell meet my sleuth, the living, breathing Detective Glen Karst from my Elusive Clue Series.  

When I returned home, I realized I had never written a short story before, I had only written full length mystery/suspense novels.  How could I condense my writing to 5,000 words or fifteen pages.  I told her I would work on the project with her.  How could I tell her I didn't really think I could do it?

So, one day I sat down at my computer after tossing around a story line in my mind.  My fingers typed faster and faster as my heart rate increased.  After a couple of hours I sat back and looked at my first short story, CORNSTALKED.  

I did it.  I wrote a short story.  Not bad, I thought.  I gave it to my husband to read.  "Whoa, good stuff," he said.  "That's a keeper, it really makes you think."

I sent it to other family members and friends and the consensus was the same.  It totally freaked them out.  

Alex and I went on to write A BREATH OF HOT AIR, for the anthology and later it was released as a stand alone short story on kindle.

CORNSTALKED couldn't leave my mind.  I couldn't let it rest.  My husband suggested I expand it into a full length novel.  

"But it's a thriller," I said.  "I can't write a thriller."
"You just did," he replied.

So I set out on the task to expand it from 5,000 words to over 50,000 words.  Typically, when I write I have a general plot idea and the story unfolds before my eyes and I type what I see.  But this was different, this story had a beginning, middle, and end.  I needed to expand.  I struggled like I've never struggled before to find the right words to increase page count without jeopardizing the story or making it read like it had filler.  

I designed my book cover,  I actually took the photograph used for the front cover.  My cover designer made my vision come to life.  CORNSTALKED  was released in July, 2011.

I did it.  Along the way I expanded on the character named Bruce.  He was an abusive husband, a banker with an ego so huge it's a wonder his head didn't explode holding it in.  

The story takes three hunters into a Nebraska cornfield where they are stalked for five hours in freezing temperatures.  I write about the cold, the pain, the fear, the stalker.  He gets closer and closer and they slip away, only to find him still trailing them.  I can't give away too much of the plot here, but for years I found pleasure in the sight and sound of a cornfield in the fall.  The rustling of the leaves, the color, the uniformity of the rows.  

This year, the neighboring farmer planted a cornfield 100 feet from my home.  I need only look out my office window and there it stands.  Only now my eyes are constantly searching, my ears are keyed for the sound of gunshot.  I look into the cornfield and feel the fear my characters felt.  

As readers have purchased and read this book, they agree it might just be the best thing I've written, but will they ever go into a corn maze again?  Several readers say they can never eat beef again....or chili.  Guess you'll have to read it to find out why?

I'm making a donation to domestic abuse programs for every copy sold from my website