Often people ask authors where do you start when writing?
In her own words, Diane explains:
“An idea pops in my head, usually right before I fall asleep—a scene that comes out of nowhere. Or when I’m in a difficult spot in my work-in-progress. It’s so much more fun to write something new, fresh, exciting than a story that is giving me fits. So I don’t forget this powerful image, I’ll open a new file and write. Just for a few minutes. Then, I return to my WIP. When I’m ready to start a new project, I have plenty of ideas to choose from.”
I’m not a plotter. I like taking the idea and running with it. In my mind, I know where the story will go, a couple of key scenes, and the conclusion. Since the idea is fluid, and the characters have minds of their own (LOL), the story may change as I write. When I need info, I research on the fly. Too many times, though, the topic has interesting-sounding side links. Clicking on them is so easy, and before I know it, I forget that I should be writing instead of researching.
In The Case of the Meddling Mama, a secondary character thinks his buddy is involved with drugs. Since I know little about street drugs (just what I hear on TV and read in the newspaper), I hit several sites on drugs. I found it scary that messages kept popping up with offers of help for drug addiction. Though I amassed a tremendous amount of material, I could only use about ten percent, if that, and had to find places in the story where I could add that information without making it read like an info drop.
Here’s an excerpt that demonstrates what I mean. Alex is having dinner with friends. The husband is a teacher at the local high school.
“I have a question, Steve. It’s about drugs at the high school.”
For a moment, he looked startled, then his countenance turned dark. “You’d think in a small town like this we could keep out drugs and the dealers.” He cocked his head. “Have you heard something?”
Not wanting to betray Todd’s confidence, I hedged. “Just what was in the paper about the girl dying of an overdose.”
“Yeah, that was bad. The parents are in denial, of course. Considering what I know of Julie, I think it was accidental. She might have flirted with the drug then discovered the hard way she couldn’t tolerate it.” He shrugged. “When will kids realize they aren’t danger-proof?”
Laraine leaned over and patted his arm. “Weren’t we like that back then? Nothing could hurt us. We were invincible.”
“Is this some new kind of drug?” I asked.
“We’re seeing an increase in opioid addiction,” Steve said. “A parent, or grandparent, is prescribed an opioid for pain, and the kid sneaks a couple just to try it out. Likes the feeling and wants more. When that isn’t enough, they look for a dealer.”
Laraine looked at me earnestly. “My dad says something new is being sent to kids via the mail.” Being Far Haven’s police chief, her dad would know. “It was on the news a while back. It’s stronger than heroin and more deadly.”
“Pink.” Steve heaved a sigh. “We hope to God it doesn’t come here.”
“How do you stop this drug invasion?” I asked.
“Invasion. Good description.” Steve shook his head. “We help the kids with counseling, recommend rehab for them to the parents, and try to find the dealer. But if kids won’t give him or her up . . . our hands are tied.”
Blurb:Once again, Alex O’Hara is up to her ears in mysteries. After surviving an attempted murder, all she wants is R&R time with Nick Palzetti. But his mother leaving his father (“that horse’s patoot”) and moving in with Alex puts a crimp in their plans. Then Nick leaves on assignment, and the teen she rescued from an abusive father believes his buddy is doing drugs. Meanwhile, Alex has two easy cases to take her mind off her shaky relationship with Nick—a philandering husband and a background check on a client’s boyfriend. Piece of cake.
The Case of the Meddling Mama: An Alex O’Hara Novel is available at:
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
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