WHERE DO AUTHORS GET THEIR IDEAS?
By V. M. Burns
I’m often asked where I get ideas for my murder mysteries. I generally have two responses. The first is, I get ideas from everywhere. In my newest book, BARK IF IT’S MURDER, Lilly Ann Echosby has to go out of town for work and has to board her dog, Aggie. Lilly finds a high-end pet resort which features pet cameras in each of the “suites,” which allows her to go online and watch her dog. Well, guess what? When I first moved to Tennessee, I ran into a similar situation. When I lived in Indiana, I left my dogs, Coco and Cash with family. In Tennessee, I didn’t know anyone well enough to ask them to keep two pampered, very spoiled toy poodles. So, I boarded them at a fancy pet resort that had pet cameras.
Just like in the book, each kennel was decorated with a theme that included everything from mountain resort to Paris (there was a picture of the Eiffel Tower on the wall). The executive kennels (yes, my dogs stayed in these) featured a television (tuned to Animal Planet), an intercom that I could call and talk so my dogs could hear my voice, private indoor and outdoor space and of course, a pet camera. How much did all of this luxury cost? Don’t ask. It would have been cheaper for me to fly the dogs to San Diego with me and get them their own rooms at the hotel. However, watching them online gave me a certain amount of peace. But, as a mystery writer, I wondered, what would happen if I saw a murder on this camera? Thankfully, the only thing I ever saw murdered while watching my dogs on the pet cam involved the gutting of a stuffed toy, but the seed was planted.
Once I have the setting, my next thing is figuring out the victim. Here’s where my second response to “where I get ideas,” comes into play and it’s a bit more personal. Basically, when people make me angry, my stress reliever involves murdering them in my books. It’s cheap therapy and keeps me out of jail. Here’s how it works. If someone cuts me off in traffic, I don’t get angry. I simply imagine a plot where a rude driver is bludgeoned to death. When I’m tired of telemarketers interrupting my dinner? Strangling is a great way to dispatch them. The best way to get over a broken heart? A lethal dose of poison is the perfect balm to put a smile back on my face. Within the pages of my books, I can mete out revenge, retribution and justice. In the unlikely event that I run low on potential murder victims, a few close friends and family members have given me a few folks to add to my list. At present, I have enough material to last for many years to come.
Bark If It’s Murder (A Dog Club Mystery) by V.M. Burns
About Bark If It's Murder
Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series
Lyrical Underground (August 27, 2019)
Paperback: 162 pages
Lilly Echosby just witnessed a murder on a pet cam. Or did she?
When a last-minute opportunity arises to accompany her boss to an art auction in Atlanta, Lilly throws some money at the problem of where to board her toy poodle Aggie (short for Agatha Christie). Posh Pet Haven offers the most luxurious canine accommodations in all of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The place even provides pet cams so anxious owners can check in on their pampered pooches.
But when Lilly tries to take a peek at her poodle, she gets a terrible shock—she witnesses what she’s sure is a murder. She thinks the victim may be the wealthy co-owner of Pet Haven. The police follow her lead but find no body, no evidence of a crime, and no video record. Starting to feel like the dog owner who cried wolf, Lilly decides to go undercover to catch a killer who may be hiding in plain sight …
About V.M. Burns
V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com
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