There’s a new internet game making the rounds – no, not souped up versions of Jewel Blitz or Words with Friends. It’s called “Blog Tag,” and I was tagged by Donna Fletcher Crow to be “it” this week, and to write about my Next Big Thing.
Donna is the author of thirty-eight books, including the Monastery Murders, among other series. Last February, she and I wrote on each other’s blogs about “Clerical Mysteries: What and Why.” (Scroll way down on this page to read her blog, and go to http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/articles.php?id=107 to see mine.)
Donna’s Next Big Thing is the latest soon-to-be-released book in her Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series: A Tincture of Murder. To quote Donna, “As with all the Lord Danvers books, A Tincture of Murder recounts a true crime from Victorian England with a fictional murder woven around it.” Read more at: http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/articles.php?id=147
And my Next Big Thing? No, not the release this week of Unleavened Dead. Not even my Book Launch Party on Sunday, December 9, at 4:30 PM (yes, after the Eagles game, for those of you die-hard fans who haven’t given up on them yet), at the Barnes and Noble on Rte. 70 in Marlton, NJ. No, my Next Big Thing is the 3rd Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mystery, Yom Killer. (Kudos to my younger son, Ari, for coming up with the name a couple of years ago when we were brainstorming title ideas for future adventures of Rabbi Aviva Cohen.)
I actually began work on Yom Killer shortly after I finished the first draft of Unleavened Dead. I wrote three pages. Then I put it aside to revise and shop Unleavened Dead. Then I looked at those three pages, decided they didn’t work, and rewrote them. Then I auctioned and sold off naming rights for characters as a fund-raiser for Congregation Beth Tikvah (http://www.btikvah.org). I knew at that point that I was committed to getting beyond three pages – there’s no way I could introduce all the new characters in that small a space. And it would make for a very confusing and boring – and short – novel. So I reread what I had rewritten, didn’t like it, and rewrote it. And there it sits. Until now. Or soon. As soon as I finish all the guest blogs I’ve promised to write. As soon as I finish all the PR and marketing I need to do to give Unleavened Dead a good launch. As soon as real life stops interrupting what I really want to do.
I’m not a planner: I don’t outline my books. I’m a pantser: I write by the seat of my pants. Of course, I have some idea what will be happening in my books, but mostly I let my characters tell me what they want to do and what is happening. In Yom Killer, I know that Aviva’s elderly mother has suffered a stroke – maybe – and has been hospitalized, despite her express, written orders that she does not want to be. And ignoring advanced directives is not the only problem Aviva uncovers at the assisted living facility her mother has called home for several years. The new owners have converted it from a non-profit to a for-profit facility, and will no longer accept residents who rely on Medicare or Medicaid (I’ll figure out which is which eventually) payments to pay their fees. And the residents who have lived there under the old rules are supposed to be “grandfathered” in, but seem to be dying in alarming numbers, even for the elderly. Of course, Aviva can’t ignore what she suspects is going on, especially when she finds out her mother (with her granddaughter’s help) had hacked into the owners’ financial records and uncovered some suspicious bookkeeping practices. And especially when a medical resident at the hospital wonders out loud why Aviva’s mother, who fell forward and hit her head on the sink, has a bruise not just on her forehead (as expected), but on the back of her head. A bruise that looks as though it could have been caused by the proverbial blunt instrument. Now it’s personal.
All I have left to do is figure out how to get from Point A (the beginning) to Point Z (the end). And not have the obvious bad guy be the bad guy. But at least I know the bad guy’s name: he paid the highest amount at the character name auction.
Next week, check out Denise Weeks’ NEXT BIG THING at: http://deniseweeks.blogspot.com