Journey of Discovery
By Susan Boles
Writing novels is a unique and personal experience to each author. I've discussed process with many authors and most seem to have their own system worked out. My very first novel was an historical women's fiction called Kate's Pride. It's out of print now, but it was based very loosely on one of my own great great grandmothers. It was a good book and one I'm proud of. Maybe I'll republish it someday.
When I wrote that book, I was a total pantser. I didn't plot out the book at all. I let it flow as I wrote and that worked out just fine for that type of book. For me. I do know authors who write historical fiction novels similar to it and plot out everything.
But this post is about my own journey of discovery. When I decided that I wanted to write the Lily Gayle Lambery Mystery series, I began that same way I'd done with the historical. Writing as I went, having a really good time. But, once I got that first draft finished and went back to do a read through, I realized I'd left out a lot of clues and important information, And I didn't want readers to get to the end of the book and be upset because they clues they would have needed to solve the crime just weren't to be found scattered throughout the story.
And so began a learning experience for me. I went back through Death of a Wolfman half a dozen times to piece in the clues and plot point needed for the conclusion to make sense. As I began writing Book 2, Cherry Cake and a Cadaver, I determined I was not going to make that mistake again.
So, I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased a tri-fold foam core board and marked it off into chapters. Then, I purchased multiple colors of post-it notes and assigned each major character a color. Clues were hot pink – because it seemed like the right color for them. I fiddled around with the post-it notes creating the story line and putting clues in place, but it was a little too bare. Next I purchased multiple colors of index cards which I proceeded to fill out with short scene descriptions that I assigned by number to various chapters so that I would have a clearer picture of everything I wanted to make sure got included in each chapter.
The experience of writing each of these mysteries was totally different. And I think I may have gone just a tad bit overboard with the plot mechanisms for Cherry Cake and a Cadaver. Maybe on the next one I'll come up with a happy medium!.
Cherry Cake and a Cadaver by Susan Boles
Lily Gayle and the gang set out to find a killer after local baker Luxen Natolovich is found dead hours before the grand opening weekend at the new Bed and Breakfast in town, Midnight Dragonfly. As Lily Gayle deciphers the clues around Luxen's death she uncovers a conspiracy of lies and half truths that could very well be tied to a refugee camp in Mississippi during World War II. The deeper Lily Gayle digs, the deeper the conspiracy runs, and the closer she comes to being the killer's next victim.
About the Author
Susan calls McNairy County, TN her home ground even though she has moved away. It was here, at Bethel Springs Junior High School that she began her writing career with two friends. They formed their own little writers group that was so secret they were the only ones who knew it existed. She still has some of the stories they wrote carefully preserved in a loose leaf binder and tucked away for safety.
She has worked in retail management, briefly for the Census Bureau and for many years in the investment/insurance industry in the regulatory compliance arena. All of which are left brain activities. So she exercises her right brain activity with reading and writing…just to keep both sides even.
Reading has been a passion since she was very young. As a toddler, her mother read to her from her 'baby books' and her Mother tells a story about her holding one of them upside down and 'reading' by repeating the story verbatim from memory.
Death of a Wolfman is the first in the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series. Her previously published romantic suspense novel, Fated Love, is a contemporary paranormal romantic suspense (with a twist of paranormal) set in Memphis, TN. Her first novel, Kate's Pride, is a historical women's fiction set in West Tennessee in the aftermath of the Civil War. The novel is loosely based on her own Great Grandmother and published under the pen name Renee Russell.
Life got in the way of writing for many years but now she's come back to her early love.
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