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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Standing Alone - a Thing of the Past?

For years, people have asked me to write a series. But I'm one of those people who needs to envision things 100 steps ahead of where I am now before I make a move in that direction.

When Kickback came out, people clamored for more of Sheila Carpenter, so I wrote Ricochet and she made a "guest appearance" in Exit 22 ... But no real series.

When I wrote Songbirds are Free, I had enough material to write a prequel, which turned out to be my award-winning book, River Passage. But still no real series.

So, why now?

First, I did not want to become a "formula" writer. You know the type. The entire series is the same story, just different people murdered. You know what's going to happen and when. I needed a series that could take you, the reader, around the world and through time so you'd never know what's about to happen or which path I'll be leading you down. I wanted to surprise you, enlighten you, engage you.

Second, I needed multi-faceted characters. I needed main characters who were polar opposites but who were tied together through fate or blood. I needed people who could grow and change and be fleshed out over a dozen or more books. People whose pasts rose to haunt them, whose futures were uncertain, and whose presents were totally engaging.

Third, I needed a location that you could feel. One that you could become intimately familiar with, one that would draw you in so you'd feel as if you lived in that house, on that street, in that town.

How did I accomplish this?

Black Swamp Mysteries was inspired by my suspense/thriller, Exit 22, which is my most popular suspense. But it goes far beyond the plot in that book while bringing back the characters we loved, hated and feared.

Vicki's Key will be released in February in eBook format and in March in trade paperback.

It features Vicki Boyd, a CIA psychic spy. Her character is based on a real CIA program and real psychic spies. The side effects she suffers while remote viewing are based on those actually experienced. The detail she is able to describe and sketch is the same level of detail as the best of the best in the psychic program today.

By having a psychic spy as a main character, it allows me to take you around the world - even to remote regions inaccessible by any other means. It will also allow me to take you back in time, as Vicki pieces together events that have occurred in the past but are threatening the world - or her personally - in the present. It allows limitless plots, limitless locales, limitless characters.

But I chose not to have one main character. Brenda Carnegie, Christopher Sandige, and Alec Brodie - all from Exit 22 - have main roles in the Black Swamp Mysteries series also. If you've read Exit 22, you'll remember Brenda as a beautiful but mysterious woman who operates on the wrong side of the law--and who will come toe to toe with Vicki. Chris is a political operative who helps to provide funding for the controversial program - but who also will be involved in some of Vicki's assignments. Alec is Vicki's next door neighbor. Even Joseph Gabucci, the feared assassin, will come face to face with Vicki.

And a new character has emerged as one that reviewers and advance readers alike can't seem to get enough of - Dylan Maguire, an Irishman with a mysterious past whose fate is intertwined in Vicki's.

The locale - the launching point for Vicki's missions - is Lumberton, North Carolina, a real town in the southeastern part of the state. It provides the same level of mystery as the moors of England and the mists of Ireland. The Lumber River winds its way through the county and right through the heart of town. It often overflows its banks, and when the waters recede, it leaves swampland that is almost impenetrable. It's the perfect spot to hide a body... or two.

Stay tuned to future blogs while I tell you more about the main characters and about Lumberton and the mysterious home in which Vicki lives...

And about the murders there.

I hope you'll enjoy Black Swamp Mysteries...

Exit 22 is now on sale on amazon for just 99 cents! Watch the trailer in the upper right corner of this screen.