Thursday, January 3, 2013

A new year, a new story

By Gayle Carline

The first rule of any self-published writer is, if you want to sell more books, write more books. So even though I would like to stop and be all Proud Mama about my latest (buy it, seriously, it's uber-good) mystery, I can’t just sit around promoting. I have to write another book.

I could write another Peri mystery (and I will) but I started thinking about a new mystery with new characters. This idea hit me from two directions.

One was that many people ask me, given the fact that I own two horses, give riding lessons and compete in shows, why don’t I write any horse-centric fiction?

The other was that one morning at a horse show, I was walking to our barn and observed the pile of used horse bedding at the end of the aisle. Suddenly I could envision a pair of cowboy boots sticking out from under the used shavings—boots with feet in them.

Me and Snoopy, aka My Flashy Investment
And that’s how mysteries are born.

I’ve got the basic plot written out and will start outlining soon. Before I do that, I must have my cast. So now I’m creating the characters who will commit the crime, who will solve the crime, who will hang around the outskirts looking guilty or friendly or interesting.

I’m spending some time writing a few journals in my characters’ voices. They tell me their life stories in their words. Sometimes they have a lot to say and sometimes a little. But in the writing, I get used to hearing how they sound, what word choices they make, how they think of themselves and their lives so far.
It makes the storytelling easier.

My main characters are Wilhelmina (Willie) Adams, a 30-something widow who is new to horses and riding, and Tyler Ransome, a 40-something divorced horse trainer. Yes, there will be some romance in this one. And lots of boots and spurs.
Frostie, aka One Zip in Time (Snoopy's mom)
I’m also using Pinterest to create a board of things I will be using for my novel. People who I use as inspiration for my characters. Settings. Things like that.

The trick to this new story will be to lure in readers who are uninterested in horses but love a good mystery. If readers love it, I’ll write more. If the response is lukewarm, at least I can say I wrote a novel with horses in it, and move on.

But the important thing is to keep writing.


  1. Thanks for another interesting post, Gayle! It's neat to see inside the head of a writer as she plans a new story! Good luck with it!

  2. It sounds like you'll have fun with it! And the subject should open up new markets to sell in. Good luck with it!

    I'm starting a new series too. I introduced the character in my last Jackson book and I'm writing about her in a standalone thriller.

  3. For weird people like me who love Westerns and mysteries, your next novel sounds like a winner!

  4. Good luck with your new series, Gayle! And because you have a passion for your subject, I can't imagine it will be anything less than dynamite.

    After I finish this third sort-of-stand-alone (all based in the same town with a certain amount of character cross-over), I'm ready to write a series. What a commitment that is!

  5. I have a good friend who also owns a couple horses. He competes (and does very well for a man in his 50s - a great guy!). So I'm sure there's an audience. And there have been some great mysteries with horses - Silver Blaze, of course - and horses with mysteries - Mr. Ed.

    Good luck with it!

  6. The world needs more horse-oriented mysteries. Glad to hear you'll be working on one, Gayle, and can't wait to read it.

    There is something kind of magical, kind of horrifying about setting out on a new writing adventure. Like you, since I've just completed my current novel, I'm once again starting the journey and trying to decide if I want to continue my series or go standalone. It is exciting imagining new worlds with new characters and new mysteries to explore.

  7. Gayle, good for you! I love seeing writers take on the horse world in their work. It's a fun place to work and I've enjoyed modest success with it. Look forward to seeing your new book, and welcome to Pinterest!


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