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The Heart of Things: Conception

“What are you writing?”

I was sitting at a lunch table at a writer’s conference, and around the table, people had been describing their projects. Several were writing children’s books. One was writing a romance and was wondering about the level of erotica called for. Another was deeply involved in a sci-fi/fantasy novel which was already exceeding lengths that would completely top out my final word count.

“It’s a mystery. An accidental crime-solving mother-daughter duo. They are going about their daily lives when they stumble upon crimes and somehow become involved in solving them. Think, Gilmore Girls meet Stephanie Plum,” I say, and around the table, the feedback is positive.

“Sounds like something I would read,” says one person.

“I like both of those,” another woman tells me.

“All I have to do now,” I say, “Is somehow pull it off.”

While driving with my then twelve-year old daughter, we saw a large, loose dog at a park, and I started creating stories for her of the killing spree this dog perpetrated, and how he had come to the park to bury the bones of his victims. My daughter, at twelve, played along, and soon this creation of fiction from ordinary observations became part of our lives. At some point I realized our quirky mother-daughter relationship would make for good characters in a novel. Mothers would eat it up, I thought. Solving crimes with their teenage daughter? So much better than fighting with them over cleaning up their rooms and wearing clothes that covered up their young ingenue figures!

When I decided to create the book, I tossed around ideas, and ultimately decided to keep that scene from our day at the park, with modifications, and so, my novel starts off with the main character taking her daughter to a soccer practice which is interrupted by a loose dog running thru the game. When the mother takes charge of the dog and attempts to return it to the owners, she finds them gorily murdered in their own backyard.

And, it’s on!

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