As many of you have seen, I teamed up with Sourcebooks, to be a part of the Blog Tour for “A Deadly Affection” by Cuyler Overholt. Part of the Blog Tour was the Giveaway, And a guest blog post from Cuyler. I was given the opportunity to ask her a question of two and she answered me back today! I love her response to both of my questions, and the second book in the series sounds incredible! If you guys haven’t yet, you really need to at least add this book to your TBR.
The Pages in Between,
How did I come up with this story? and do I have more books coming out in the future?
Coming up with an idea for a story is, for me, three parts work and one part magic. For my debut historical mystery, A Deadly Affection, which takes place in New York City in 1907, I started by reading books, newspaper articles and magazines from the era to identify hot topics of the day. “Dollar Princesses”, the daughters of American millionaires who married European aristocrats, were one subject I frequently came across. Harry Thaw’s murder of architect Stanford White for his affair with Thaw’s wife was another. The entry of women into the medical profession, record-breaking levels of immigration, the unsettled stock market, new concepts in psychotherapy, and some puzzling illnesses were other topics I came across in my research.
After reading up on the things I found most intriguing, I let the information I’d absorbed simmer in my mind for a while, and waited to see what connections would pop up. This was the hardest part of the process for my husband, for I was constantly leaping out of bed in the middle of the night to write down ideas as they emerged. Exactly where those ideas and connections came from, I have to say, is a mystery to me. It was almost as if they came from somewhere outside of me, rather than from my own mental catalogue. I provided the raw material, to be sure—but how that material arranged itself into a plot I can only ascribe to magic.
Of course, trying to turn the thread of a plot into a story that will come alive in the minds of readers takes lots of plain old hard work and revision. Since it was a mystery, certain things had to be pretty much in place from the beginning—like who committed the crime, and why, and what clues would lead my psychiatrist protagonist to the resolution. In the process of fleshing out the storyline, however, I found myself adding red herrings and plot twists galore. Certain characters also asserted themselves more forcefully that I had expected, requiring me to give them additional space. Even after the major elements were in place, the story had to be constantly tweaked to make sure everything came together properly. While most of this occurred through conscious effort, I still received magical nudges from time to time. They didn’t always arrive as quickly or as clearly as I would have liked, but I was always grateful for the help.
I used the same process to come up with the plot for the second book in my Dr. Genevieve Summerford mystery series, which is scheduled for release in August 2017. In that book, I weave together the “white slave trade”—which involved the forced prostitution of girls and women, often young immigrants who were lured to the city with false offers of marriage or employment—and the emergence of Italian organized crime in New York, in the form of the “Black Hand”. These were two enormous challenges facing the citizens of New York in the summer of 1907, and gave me plenty to work with. As that book goes into final edits, it’s time to start thinking about book #3 in the series. I can’t wait to see what pops up this time!