Across the books and in person.

Welcome! Since I write two English mystery series, I thought it would be fun to chat about that. And about England. Specifically, Derbyshire, since that is the county I know the best. If you have questions about my books, about mysteries or your own writing, or want to know something about England -- perhaps you're planning a visit -- I'd love to talk with you. Let's start chatting, shall we?

Derbyshire VIllage

Derbyshire VIllage

Monday, November 1, 2010

More Information Than I'll Probably Ever Need

That's one cool thing about writing: you gather all sorts of info for your books.  It used to be the stock phrase that you could drop brilliant bits of knowledge at cocktail parties.  Well, not being a drinker or much of a party-goer, I have no idea if cocktail parties still exist.  I assume they don't.  So perhaps blogs and social networking pages make up for that.  Whatever, the dissemination of this info is pretty important.  I began accumulating this while researching and writing the current McLaren novel.  It's book three, if anyone is keeping count....or reading them....or reading this.  I've found out about accelerants, motives for arson, what injuries it's possible to find on a burnt corpse, the status of all of Derbyshire's fire stations (whole time staffing, retained staffing or day staffing), response times of fire crews, sunset times in September, and that an employee of the Matlock fire station lives next to where I've located my fictitious village (I'll send him a book when it's published).  All interesting stuff.  Well, at least to me.  But it's the stuff that the book will be made of, and I'm liking the plot very much.  Just written sixty pages, which may not seem like a lot since I began it on October 18, but it's slow goin' at the start.  I've got to get used to my characters, figure out how McLaren will solve this mess, decide what chapters he will tell and what chapters some other characters will tell....  Now that I'm ankle deep in it, it's coming easier.  And quicker.  And you've got to remember that I lost nearly an entire day trying to get my newly acquired Kindle to accept the downloaded ebooks I bought....

I changed my computer monitor's wallpaper last weekend.  I changed it to a photo of McLaren.  I thought a job aid might help me remember his personality.  Perhaps I'm under Taylor & Graham's influence....I nearly made a mistake in this McLaren book, having him go by the rules.  Nope.  One of the things that makes McLaren so endearing to the victims who hire him: principles and scruples are not words in his dictionary.  Ignore the rules and regulations.  So he is now staring at me, reminding me that he's his own man and has his own investigative methods.  I knew those photos would really come in handy....

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