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Thursday, July 26, 2018


I’m working on the tenth book in my Catherine Jewell Mystery Series. Those of you who have read my books know each book goes by the month starting with The Blue Rose which took place in June, followed by Daylilies for Emily in July, and on, and on, and now I’m at book ten in March called Daffodils In March. Several people have asked me what I’ll do when I run out of months. I’ll just start over with another murder in June.

I hadn’t started writing this tenth book for some time and finally started in March the last month so far in my series.  I started with a prologue something I don’t usually do. It takes place with high school seniors at an event center enjoying the music and dancing. A young boy leaves early because he has to return his dad’s car so his dad can get to work and the boy is run off the road deliberately. In chapter one, his body is found murdered after being hit on the head with a rock and shot up with some opioid.

 I’ve never murdered young people before, but in this book I’m writing my topic is about the opioid crisis which is so bad in our area and is responsible for so many deaths. Another boy is found unconscious, but revived in time to save him. He refuses to tell who sold him the drug for fear of being murdered or losing some of his friends..

Both of these boys are high school seniors so I’ve come up with six suspects connected with the high school. The boy who was murdered had apparently seen someone he recognized outside the Event Center where some of the boys had left to smoke cigarettes, and apparently buying drugs. It must have been a man who wasn’t one of the chaperones that he recognized.

So the police chief, whose son Josh is a senior, too, asks his son to list those who work for the high school like teachers, etc. They both decide the villain is not likely to be a female teacher so he gives him the names of two male teachers, a science teacher and a math teacher, and a custodian and three coaches. They decided to eliminate the superintendent and principals because they make enough money not to need to sell the opioids. I’ve already written brief bios for them, but I’ll have to give at least one of them a reason for selling drugs.

This isn't my house or road. I don't take pictures of Amish.

On a much nicer note which will have nothing to do with the opioid crises, I’ve created two Amish families as characters. I’ve been thinking about this for some time because I have Amish families living in my area. The blacksmith for my ponies is Amish and every Sunday morning Amish horses and buggies pass my house going either south or north depending on who is having church service followed by a dinner afterwards. Also, in the evening towards dark a buggy goes north, and I figure it’s a young man or boy in rhumspringa, a time when Amish youth are given more freedom to do what they want, and he’s courting some Amish girl north of me. I hear his buggy returning after I’ve gone to bed. I always worry about him on my road with not only car traffic, but large trucks, too. I’ve also hired Amish workers to put a new roof on my sunroom, too. It’s a rare time when I go to Aldi’s grocery store that I don’t see Amish women with their children shopping especially on a Thursday. They don’t come in buggies. They come in Vans driven by non-Amish called Amish taxis.

I took this picture about ten miles north of me. A fascinating store in Amish country.

And now back to my subject of who to choose to be the murderer. Being a retired teacher I hate to make one of the two a drug dealer although that might be a surprise to a reader. Maybe the night custodian, but then he’s usually in the school working nights. And then there are the three coaches. I’m not a big sports fan so that would be easier for me, but I’m not sure if that wouldn’t be too obvious.
And maybe it’s not anyone who works at the school in any capacity but someone the students recognize, but it has to be someone that the police chief can figure out.

Do you ever have trouble coming up with the villain?
If you have any ideas for me, please let me know.


Shari Randall said...

This book sounds terrific! The opioid crisis impacts so many lives, mine included. I'm glad you're including the Amish in your book as well. I'm fascinated my their way of life.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Good luck, Gloria! The villain will identify himself or herself in good time. Good premise for your book.

KM Rockwood said...

I know one person who writes books without deciding who the kill is going to be. All the characters are presented with cues that it might be that person, which become red herrings when the final decision is made.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes a dealer gets involved in a manner of blackmail, forced to sell drugs. And it could be someone with access to the school who could just hide it somewhere/ exchanging the drugs where a prearranged drop of of cash. Like a delivery person. I always like your books, love the red herrings, and I suspect everybody! I just enjoy the read and don't even try to figure out who-dunnit. Laura

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Sounds like a great cast of characters. Your prolific writing style amazes me --- as do the vast array of characters you create.

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you, Shari. Almost every day I read of someone who has died or came close to it in the newspaper from an opioid problem. Often the obituaries just say they died at home without saying what caused the death. If it's a younger person I think it could be from an opioid overdose.

Margaret, I have introduced one of my suspects to Catherine, my main character in my latest chapter. He's a grumbling complaining old man. Now I need to introduce the others gradually to the readers, too.

KM are you that one person or are you referring to me? It's what I plan on doing. I've already introduced one of the characters and my two critique partners think he might be the person since he's so grumpy.

Laura, that's an idea. I'll think about it. When I read mysteries which is what I read more than anything else, I always try to figure out who dunnit. It's one of the reasons I really enjoy reading mysteries.

Debra, I love creating characters. I write bios for each of them and keep them in a 3 ring binder. Some return all the time and even if they don't I might want to bring them back in another book like the latest chapter I brought back the older men who meet for breakfast at a local diner. I write that group because on all my camping trips with my sisters we often choose to go to a local small town for breakfast rather than cooking it on our camp stove and having to wash dishes afterwards. In every small town diner there is always a table with older mostly retired men sitting there talking.

Warren Bull said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Warren Bull said...

What about a substitute teacher who claims to support education but really only teaches to get close to the students and sell them drugs?

Kait said...

Oh, I love Warren's idea! A substitute teacher solves most of the problems.

I share your pain in coming up with a villain. Although I generally have my final scene written before I begin my book, I find that the events in the book often change the final scene!

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, that is a great idea. thank you.

Kait, I'm afraid that would happen to me if I came up with the final scene before I started writing.