Imagine a creature that can take the most traumatic moments of your life and turn them into fuel. Sounds like a villain on Supernatural or Doctor Who, but such creatures actually exist in real life. They are called writers. I am one of them. Today, I’m going to tell you the story of how I did such a thing to a very good friend and former co-worker of mine. Her name is Heather. We spent close to a decade working together in a newsroom and now she is my yoga teacher. Here’s a pic of us after class.
And since I’ve lost more than fifty pounds since that photo was taken four years ago. Here’s a more recent picture of me.
And here’s Heather, killing it at yoga class (follow her Yoga FB page here.)
Since yoga brings us inner peace, there wasn’t much trauma I could steal from that. But there was something that happened back in Heather’s days as an investigative journalist covering everything from the infamous Toledo riot of 2005 to ladies stripping their way through college. Side note, back in my producer days, I made a pretty sweet video for those co-ed strippers. Click play in the video box if you’d like to watch.
While college strippers sound like good mystery novel fodder, I chose something a bit darker and scarier to pluck from Heather’s life. She was in attendance at an execution that did not go as planned. I won’t get into the unpleasant details here but it planted a seed in my mind. What if something like that happened and the condemned man confessed to involvement in other crimes but died before anyone could figure out what he was talking about. That was the seed for the plotline in Something Red, the third book in the Goode-Grace Mysteries. I told Heather about it a few years ago when I began writing the book and even offered her a chance to read before it was published. But she was busy with a husband, two kids, and a major career transition. She also didn’t want to read Something Red until she’d read the first two Goode-Grace books. Heather finally got around to reading Something Red and had declared it my best book yet, which is a relief. If I’m going to steal your trauma, I want you to think I made good use of it.
If you haven’t read the book yet, here’s a brief plot summary:
In the compelling third book of the Goode-Grace Mysteries, Deputy Bobby Grace is just days away from his wedding to Goth-chick farmer, Trinity Goode. But dark reminders of the young girl Bobby failed to save more than a decade ago threaten their happiness. When another girl goes missing, it starts to look as if a predator has struck again, from beyond the grave. Bobby and Trinity race against the clock to unravel the mystery before another innocent life is lost.