Please welcome my guest author, Gayle Roper.
A while ago I was talking with my editor about my next book, and she said, “We’re loaded with small town settings. How about an urban locale for your next book?”
Yikes, I thought. I am so not urban! I live in the middle of Amish country.
“Sure,” I said. “Urban. Why not?”
Why not indeed. Urban people think differently than we suburban guys. They live differently. How could I wrote with any authenticity about living in a city? I knew my city would be Philadelphia because it’s about 30-40 miles from my home. It’s where I go when I go to a ball game or attend a play or concert. But there’s a big difference between running in and out for an event and living there.
I wanted to honor my contract, so I started praying about how I could write urban with my limited expertise. In the meantime my husband and I went to Philadelphia to see Les Miserables. We got there early and were walking around, gawking like the tourists we were, when we stumbled on a lovely little cul de sac of Colonial era homes.
For those of you familiar with Elfreth’s Alley in the historical section of Philadelphia, the homes we stumbled on looked just like that famous street, narrow attached three story houses lining both sides of the street, all meticulously kept with flower boxes and shiny doors and shutters.
“It’s a neighborhood,” I told Chuck.
“Yes, it is,” he agreed.
I grinned. “I can do a neighborhood. We have them in the suburbs.”
So I had my setting. There was still the issue of that urban mindset.
Aha! My main characters won’t be urban. So how do I get my non-urban characters into one of those lovely row homes? A legacy! Instead of a crumbling manor house on the Cornwall coast, it’s a lovely historic home in center city Philadelphia.
And I had overcome my greatest obstacles—until my editor asked, “How are you going to set this book apart and make it unique?”
Apparently the setting itself wasn’t enough.
Unique, I thought as I pulled out my New York Times Crossword puzzle book and began my hours long quest to fill in all the blanks, which I actually do sometimes. And the unique piece fell into place. The clues to the mystery would be in the form of crossword puzzles.
I had great fun creating the puzzles, none of them anywhere near the sophistication of the Times but fun for those who like puzzles. For those who don’t, the answers are not only revealed in the text but the puzzles are filled in in the back of the book. Best of both worlds.
And thus Fatal Deduction began. Soon I had twins, the good one and the bad one, who had to live together in their deceased aunt’s home for six months if they wanted to profit from the legacy. If either left, the legacy was lost to both.
Then come the threats. And of course there’s a handsome hero who is a Ben Franklin authority who spouts Ben Franklin quotes at odd times. There’s the little old lady who lives across the street and two teenaged girls and a bi-polar ex and….
I have two copies of Fatal Deduction I’d be happy to give away to people who like puzzles or who don’t. It doesn’t matter so long as you like the story. Just leave a comment with your email or contact information within the next week. USA only.
Gayle Roper has authored more than 45 books. She has won a Carol Award, the RITA Award and finaled repeatedly in the Christys. She has won the Holt Medallion three times and twice her titles have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Several writers conferences including Mount Hermon have cited her for her contributions to the training of writers. She has been chair of the MM mentoring program since its inception. You may visit her website at www.gayleroper.com.
Congratulations to Jody R. and Lee Ellen H! Each won a copy of my guest Patrick E. Craig’s novel, the Road Home!