By Gayle Carline
Author of Mysteries and More!
Whoever said timing is everything deserves to be my next murder victim, because he's right and I hate him for it.
While I was writing From the Horse's Mouth, I was thinking about what kind of adventure to send my series character, Peri, to chase. I'm not a cookie-cutter author, so I had to have something happening in her personal life that would collide with her professional one.
That's the way Peri rolls.
I couldn't think of a damn thing, but I did get an idea for a mystery with new characters. Horse shows are interesting places, because everything looks healthy and happy on the outside, and there is a web of backstabbing and illegal practices underneath. Not in my barn, but I've heard rumors.
So I decided to not only write a standalone mystery, set at an AQHA horse show in Burbank, but to throw in some romantic suspense. Mostly this was because I wanted the heroine in this book to be kind of the anti-Peri. She's younger, a sleuth, and unattached. 'Unattached' is the code word for let's hook her up with someone.
(Between you and me, I also kept thinking of cowboys, which fueled the whole romance thing.)
NOW THEN, I could have made it a straightforward mystery with a dash of romance between my sleuth and a handsome cowboy. But NOOOOO, that would be too easy. That would enable me to actually write this book in a timely fashion. Why would I want that, when instead, I could give the cowboy a rival, set up an entire herd of murder suspects, let everyone think the murderer is one person, then reveal it to be another one in a spectacular twist?
Are there no drugs I can take for this desire to be difficult?
I currently have two strong rivals for Willie's affections - such strong men that I don't know how she will chose one of them. I also have a crime with a dozen suspects to corral. In addition, I'm getting the sneaking suspicion that "romantic suspense" as a genre comes with a set of rules I haven't read.
Hey, I read all the directions on every gizmo in our house. Is there a Big Book of Genre Guidelines out there to download to my Kindle?
Oh, and to make it interesting, I'm halfway through writing this book and I suddenly figured out what to do with Peri next. Had I waited, I'd be writing another Peri book. Now I keep chasing her story out of my brain so I can finish this one.
In honor of my penchant for swimming upstream (holding a bowling ball), here's a little Jim Croce song that sums up my life:
Anyone else feel this way?