Today I am honored to have Jackie Fullerton stop by and tell us about her new book, Revenge Served Cold. So please help me in giving her a warm welcome as she visits with us.
Years ago I read something that continues to motivate me. I don’t remember who said it or where I read it, but it has been my guiding principle ever since. Simply put, if you are truly a writer, then set aside one hour each day and write.
It’s amazing what can happen when you adhere to that discipline. It doesn’t make any difference if you are working on a novel or writing blogs, just write. I set my time in the morning. Some days the hour is painstakingly long and seems to never end, especially when writing dialogue—I hate writing dialogue. Other days, the words seem to flow and four hours pass before I realize it.
Having something to write about is another issue. I love mysteries. I am a problem solver by nature, so creating a murder and lining up the usual subjects is fun for me. I love dreaming up ways to keep the reader guessing or how to throw in a twist at the end. During the writing of my second Anne Marshall book, Revenge Served Cold, I woke up at 3:00 in the morning and realized I had the wrong killer. Don’t be afraid to go back and rewrite your book, no matter how far you are in the process.
For me, creating the characters is the easiest part. My characters come from personal experiences. People I know, either intimately such as friends and family, or casually like the lunatic who works in the pod next to me. I might change the color of hair, or even the gender, but the basic personality is the same.
My protagonist, Anne Marshall, is me—or my alter ego. Alright, Anne is young and I’m in my 60s; Anne is slim and in shape while I am overweight and find exercise hazardous to my health; and, Anne has dark hair and dark eyes where I am a blond with blue eyes. Other than those minor differences, we are one in the same. We share the same experiences of balancing work, school and relationships while attending law school at night. We have the same deep friendships with study group members, and the same need to continually fix other people’s problems.
For Anne’s trusty sidekick, it made sense that it should be her father. Their relationship was unique and extraordinary; I just didn’t realize he was dead until I was halfway through the book. This was another one of those 3:00 in the morning realizations. By making Anne’s father a ghost, I was able to give Anne the superhuman qualities an amateur sleuth needs, while exploring their father daughter relationship in a way I could not if he were alive. As all authors know, stories take on a life of their own.
Writing is not easy. We all encounter writer’s block and procrastination. But, for me, adhering to the one hour a day rule gets me over the rough spots. Whoever it was that gave that advice, thank you.