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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Interview with Fiction Character by Fiction Characters – Part 37

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

In order to have a plot, you have to have a conflict, something bad has to happen.

          Mike Judge

In last week’s post, Dana, Fielding, and Hutchinson were interviewing Robin Stuart, brother of the murdered Susan Stuart. Stuart, the artist who painted the abstract in the Thurston Public Library boardroom was murdered in the story “Missing in Action” in Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, Oct. 2012).  Detective Hutchinson arrested her murderer in that story. But now, Susan seems to be “popping up.” Last week Stuart’s picture started vibrating again. This week… read on.

The abstract stops vibrating and a woman’s head appears in the painting. She continues wailing.

Dana covering her ears: Shut up.

Hutchinson, wide-eyed and pale: Susan Stuart? You are dead.

The waiting stops and the woman’s lips switch to a soft feminine voice.

Woman in the picture: My body is dead, but not my soul.

Dana: What have you done with my brother?

Fielding, glaring at Dana: Dana. Let Hutchinson and I ask the questions.

Woman: It’s okay. She has a perfect right to ask. I did not kidnap her brother but shall we say, I extracted him temporarily from this life to protect him. But I wasn’t strong enough and he returned to Thurston and was then kidnapped.

Fielding: Who kidnapped him?

Woman: I thought you had already figured that out.

Hutchinson: Cory Swan?

Woman: Yes. While Sebastian was with me I told him that his story about me and my art was coming back to haunt him (She chuckles a bit) and I was trying to protect him from Cory Swan…

Dana: How did you know all this?

Woman: You mean how would a dead person know this? Well, our spirits can travel freely throughout the universe. And I’ve been keeping tabs on my paintings, where they are exhibited. While doing this I saw Cory Swan had an unusual interest in this painting here. He has made several trips to this room to look at it.

Fielding: We checked with the library’s listing of who used this room and he wasn’t listed.

Woman: He probably snuck in with a group meeting here.

Dana: She’s probably right. Various community groups meet here. Perhaps one was a photographer’s group.

Fielding, pulling out a printed list: Hmm. No photography list here, but the historical society, a ratepayers’ group, a quilting group, and Ms Dana Bowman.

Dana: Well, he certainly didn’t come in when I was here.

Fielding: You haven’t specifically answered why you took an interest in Bast and how did you know he was in danger?

Woman: It was that photo Cory Swan took of my brother, your brother Dana, and me that tipped me off. Like I said, we spirits get around, and I saw Swan packing up his Thurston office. He pulled out a photo – the one I just mentioned – and kept staring at it. He was muttering under his breath something about “that crime reporter, he knows something about her and he’s going to tell me.” At first I was just curious but when I saw him try to break into the Attic Agency and follow Bast around, I knew something bad was up. So because of what happened to me and how Robbie felt afterwards, I decided to try to save Bast. And the only way I knew how was to bring him temporarily into my world. And try to get a message to all of you. But all I could do was play around with my painting. Your son, Dana, caught on that I was here. Children are more receptive and with his situation, he was more so.

Dana: Did it never occur to you that dragging David into this could hurt him?

Woman: I was only trying to help.

Fielding: If what you say is true, why didn’t you try to communicate with us outside this room?

Woman: My spirit powers are limited. While I can move around anywhere, I can’t connect to any of the living except through something of me that remains behind – my painting.

Dana: So where is my brother now?

Woman: I don’t know. He managed to get himself out of my realm and back to earth. Like you, I only found the remains of his presence in Swan’s old Thurston office. But I did see Swan dump an envelope in your Aunt Doris’s mailbox.

Fielding: And the anonymous threatening phone call to Doris Bowman?

Woman: I knew nothing about that until you interviewed her here in this room.

Dana: What about Doris’s next door neighbour.

Woman: Just a nosey neighbour. I checked him out. Look, I’ve told you all I know.

Fielding: Well, I suggest you think harder about why Swan wanted Bast and took that photograph of the three of you while we check out Swan’s new office and residence in Barrie.

Woman: I’m coming with you…in spirit.

Dana: But you can’t communicate with us anywhere but here.

Fielding: That’s why you, Dana will remain here, along with a constable I will assign here.

Dana: But, I need to go to Barrie – it’s my brother; it’s…

Hutchinson: Better listen to Fielding. He and I will go. Keep your cell on and I hate to say this, your eyes on the painting. If…(he points to the face in the painting) she discovers something we don’t see, she can tell you and you can relay it back to us. Let’s go Fielding.

The two police detectives get up and leave. Dana is left staring at the face in the abstract.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.

Also see more of See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

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Interview with Fiction Character by Fiction Characters – Part 36

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short story collection

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is – full of surprises.

          Isaac Bashevis Singer

As Susan Stuart, the abstract painting’s artist is dead (murdered), Detective Sergeant Fielding and Detective Larry Hutchinson have hauled in her brother Robbie Stuart. Dana Bowman, as usual has wangled her way into this interview held in the boardroom of the Thurston Public Library. The three are sitting around the back of the boardroom table right in front of the abstract painting.

All characters  (excluding Mr. Swan) are from the short story collection Beyond The Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, Oct. 2012)

Stuart (looking down at the trio): What’s this? I thought I was coming to see Detective Hutchinson about some wrap-up stuff to my sister’s death.

Hutchinson (pointing to each): Come this way and sit down Mr. Stuart. This is Dana Bowman, one of the PIs who runs The Attic Investigative Agency. And this is Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding who is in charge of the kidnapping of Sebastian Overture, who is Dana’s business partner and also her fraternal twin.

Stuart: So what’s it to do with me?

Hutchinson: First, sit down here.

Stuart shrugs his shoulders, walks to the other end of the room and sits down.

Fielding: Well, first off, this painting behind me was done by your sister Susan…

Stuart: I know that. She did it a couple of years before her death.

Fielding: …and there is this photo. (He shows the photo of Susan, Bast, and Robbie).

Stuart: Yeah, that reporter. He interviewed Susan and I just before she had her art exhibit here. What of it? Oh, I get it. You think I have something to do with his kidnapping.

Fielding: Right now we just want to find out the circumstances surrounding this photo. What exactly did Mr. Overture interview you about?

Stuart: I told you – my sister’s upcoming art show and her artistic talents.

Dana: Oh come on, Mr. Stuart, my brother used to write crime stories, not art stories. So what was he there for?

Stuart: You’re not police. I don’t have to talk to you.

Fielding: Answer the question, Stuart.

Stuart: He asked me about my father.

Dana: You mean Roger Stuart who also disappeared …

Fielding: Dana. I’ll ask the questions.

Dana: Well, ask the right ones. It’s my brother who’s missing. Surely Mr. Stuart can relate to that with his father’s disappearance.

Stuart: Yeah right. My father disappeared many years ago when I was a teenager. He ran off with his secretary and left my mom, sister and myself. It eventually killed my mom.

Hutchinson: Your mother died of cancer.

Stuart (standing): Damn right. And she wouldn’t have gotten it if Dad had stayed with her. And Suzie would still be alive.

Hutchinson: All right. We’ve already covered all this when your sister was murdered. Just answer Detective Fielding’s questions…and Dana Bowman’s too. We just need to know what happened in that interview you and your sister had with Bast Overture.

Stuart: He just asked about Dad disappearing and how it affected us, particularly if that had anything to do with what Suzie drew?

Fielding: And did it?

Stuart: Well, yeah. She painted abstracts because she said she found life, her life, anything but concrete in what happened, so she chose abstracts to show her feelings.

Dana (pointing to the abstract behind her): So, what feelings did Susan show in this painting?

Stuart: I dunno.

Fielding: Come on, come on, you were there when Mr. Overture interviewed your sister. What did he ask you?

Stuart: Just to tell him about Dad’s disappearance.

Fielding: I see. And what did you say about that?

Stuart shrugs his shoulders.

Dana: What can you tell us about the photographer who took this picture?

Stuart: I dunno. He was a photographer – from the newspaper, I guess. He came in midway and took various photos.

Fielding: Anything unusual about him?

Stuart (shrugging his shoulder): I dunno. He’s a photographer. Oh wait a minute. He seemed very interested in Suzie’s painting – that one now up on the wall.

Fielding: In what way?

Stuart: Just what it meant to her – why she painted it?

Fielding: Okay, can you tell us that now?

Stuart: She said it represented a maze – something she felt she lived in because of Dad’s disappearance. Life to her was a maze where people always had to be on high alert for someone coming in and snatching their lives, destroying their lives. If you could figure how to get out of the maze you were home free.

Fielding: And did she say if she knew how to get home free.

Stuart: She said she was working on it.

Fielding: And was that photographer Cory Swan.

Stuart: Yes, that’s him.

Fielding: Was Mr. Swan present when your sister talked about that abstract and mazes.

Stuart: Yes, he was and he seemed very interested. He even stopped shooting photos to listen.

Dana: And yet the photo here doesn’t even show that abstract painting – doesn’t even show any of your sister’s paintings. And why would he take a photo with my brother, who was doing the story interview. Reporters don’t usually put themselves into the story.

Stuart: I don’t know. I’ve never seen that photo before. All I know is the photographer stopped taking photos when Suzie spoke and…wait a minute, he aimed his camera at us, and I guess that’s when he did take that shot.

Dana: Do you know if that photo was the one included in the newspaper story?

Stuart: I don’t think so. The photo was one of Suzie holding up one of her paintings. I still have a copy of the story.

Fielding: Where was it published?

Stuart: The Toronto Herald.

Fielding: Back to the photo. Do you remember which photo your sister was holding up?

Stuart: No, some abstract obviously?

Dana (pointing): Was it this abstract.

Stuart shrugs his shoulders.

The abstract painting starts to vibrate and a loud wailing is heard. It seems to be coming from the abstract painting.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.

Sharon A. is teaching Getting Your Memoir off the Ground Workshop, Saturday, February 22, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Details at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/SpeakersBureau.html

Also see more of See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

 

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Fiction Characters Interviewing Fiction Characters – Part 35

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short story collection
Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

Storytelling is about two things; it’s about character and plot.

         –  George Lucas

In this post Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, 2012) scenario, Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding is back from Barrie where he interviewed Doris Bowman’s next door neighbour, Mr. Crankshaw. Cory Swan the photographer was not in his Barrie home. Detective Larry Hutchinson joined Fielding and Cooks Regional Police backup to check out the premises where Bast and Dana had originally looked for office space for The Attic Investigative Agency. Cory Swan, photographer no longer has offices there and the space is vacant. Dana was allowed to enter the building after police gave it the all clear. The three are now meeting at the actual Agency offices at 10 Maitland in Thurston to check out Bast’s published crime stories for any possible connection to his kidnapping. Dana, as usual, is trying to get “police business” information from the two detectives. Aunt Doris has been placed in a safe house with a constable posted outside.

Dana is booting up Bast’s desktop PC. while Fielding and Hutchinson search Bast’s print files of published stories.

Dana: Bast might have this password protected but I’ll see what I can find about his story notes. Meantime, Detective Fielding, I’d like to know what Aunt Doris’ neighbour had to say for himself.

Fielding, rifling through files: Ms Bowman that is police business.

Dana: Oh for Christ’s sake, you let me see that photographer’s former office and I helped you there. I identified the watch on the floor as belonging to Bast so we know he was there and… So now it’s your turn to give me something.

Fielding: We let you into the room. That’s what we gave you.

Dana: Might I remind you that it is my brother, my fraternal twin who is missing. This isn’t the first time somebody in my family was kidnapped. When David was kidnapped, you were shall we say a little moreforthcoming.

Fielding: David is a child.

Dana: So, my brother doesn’t count because he’s an adult?

Fielding: D…Dana that’s not what I’m saying.

Dana: Then why won’t you tell me?

Fielding: Very well. I will tell you this much. Mr. Joseph Crankshaw saw Cory Swan put something into your Aunt Doris’ mailbox within the time frame Doris received that envelop. He also said he doesn’t trust Cory Swan because he’s heard car doors slamming shut at all hours of the night and when he got up he would see a car that wasn’t Swan’s speed out of the driveway.

Dana: Did he actually see a person? And get a licence plate number?

Fielding: No and No. And that’s all I will say.

Dana, gritting her teeth: Fielding …

Hutchinson: I think I found something.

Fielding and Dana join him. Hutchinson holds up a photo of a young man in a hoodie and a young woman sitting at a table on either side of Bast. Bast’s tape recorder rests in front of him. Hutchinson flips the photograph. On the back is stamped Cory Swan Photographer.

Hutchinson: I know the two people with Bast. The fellow in the hoodie is Robbie Stuart. The woman is his sister, Susan Stuart. Susan was murdered and I investigated her homicide.

Dana: Susan Stuart? Isn’t that the name scrawled on that abstract painting in the library boardroom?

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.

Sharon A. is teaching Getting Your Memoir off the Ground Workshop, Saturday, February 22, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Details at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/SpeakersBureau.html

Also see more of See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

 

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Fiction Characters Interviewing Fiction Characters – Part 34

Click on the book cover to go to amazon.com

Click on the book cover to go to amazon.com

A picture is worth a thousand words

          Attributed to various sources from Napoleon Bonaparte to Frederick R. Barnard

Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding has left the Thurston Library boardroom to drive to Barrie to interview Cory Swan the photographer who lives across the road from Aunt Doris and her next-door neighbour, Mr. Crankshaw. Detective Larry Hutchinson remains behind to continue questioning Aunt Doris about the envelope of photos left in her mailbox. Dana hovers nearby trying to get in a word. All but Swan, Crankshaw and Ron Bowman, are characters from Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford.

 Hutchison: Now, Mrs. Bowman, I want you to look carefully at these three photos and tell me if you recognize anything in them.

Doris: Well, I recognize Dana’s twin, Bast.

Hutchinson: Of course, but anything in the background, does it look familiar?

Doris: Hmm. Give me those photos young man.

Hutchinson: It’s better if you don’t touch them. Fingerprints…

Dana: Oh, stuff it Hutchinson. Fielding already has our fingerprints for elimination. Aunt Doris is an old woman so her eyesight…

Doris: There’s nothing wrong with my eyesight, young lady. I don’t even wear glasses except to drive. And as for calling me an old woman, well, I never.

Dana: But you are and you said so yourself.

Doris: standing up and glaring at Dana: Now listen here… and what Ronald Bowman ever saw in you to marry you I’ll never understand.

Dana: Ron and I are divorced Aunt Doris and he has nothing to do with this.

Hutchinson, raising his hands: Ladies, please. And Mrs. Bowman, will you please sit down. Now I find that interesting about Ronald Bowman, your ex-husband, Ms Bowman. What makes you think he isn’t involved? Wasn’t he arrested for the kidnapping of your son?

Dana: Those charges were never actually laid.

Hutchinson: But he was charged with a B and E and vandalism?

Dana: Yes, but he got off with community service and one year’s probation.

Hutchinson: He still has a record. Do you know where he is?

 Dana: I don’t know. Ask her. (she looks at Doris). He’s her nephew.

Huchinson: Mrs. Bowman, do you know where you nephew is?

Doris: He moved to Orillia Ontario after he finished his probation and community service. He should never have been arrested. Dana, this is all your doing; this is….

Hutchinson: Ladies, we are getting nowhere fast with these photos.

Dana: Fine. Let me look at them. Maybe I can recognize something, besides my brother, of course.

Hutchinson slides the photos over to Dana and she looks from one to the other and to the third. She repeats that a couple of times, looks slyly at Hutchinson, then pushes two away with her fingertips. She keeps the one with Bast sitting in a room.

Dana: I might recognize this room but if it’s where I think it is, it’s not in Barrie, but right here in Thurston.

Doris: What?

Hutchinson, raising his hand at Doris and then looking at Dana: Go on, Ms Bowman.

Dana; Going back a few years when Bast and I were planning to start up our Attic Investigative Agency, we did some looking at places outside the house where we live. One of the places was upstairs over a convenience store on Main Street here in Thurston. The two rooms were bleak looking. The first room which could be used for reception had no windows and the back room, I guess for the office, didn’t have much light, just from a small round window up high. Well, this room Bast is sitting in has the same type of window up high. No, I’d say the same window because the window in the room Bast and I looked at had this big scratch mark embedded in the right top corner. And if you look closely, so does the window in this picture.

Hutchinson and Doris both lean over towards the picture.

Hutchinson: Son of a gun, so it does. Ms Bowman, do you happen to know who or what did move into this room?

Dana: Well, it was awhile ago. Let me think. Wait… I seem to remember Bast mentioning a photographer who the newspaper he used to write for sometimes hired on a freelance basis. I think Bast said the photographer sometimes did the photos for some of his stories.

Hutchinson: And your brother was a crime reporter before he started this private detective business.

Dana: I see where you’re going with this and I have to agree. It could be connected to a story Bast wrote.

Hutchinson: Does your brother keep copies of his published stories?

Dana: Yes, in our office and he has the stories on his computer too.

Hutchinson: Well, Ms. Bowman, I think we better get over to your place and check out these stories.

Doris: What about me? I don’t want to be left alone. Someone sent me anonymous photos and threatened me on the phone.

Hutchinson: Where are you staying now?

Doris: In a hotel, but I’ve been looking over my shoulder, locking my door and putting a heavy chair up against it.

Hutchinson: Well, I’m a Toronto detective; Thurston is out of my jurisdiction except when working with Fielding, but we’ll see what we can do. Let me give Fielding a call.

Hutchinson calls Fielding on his cell. Dana continues looking at the photo.

Dana: Oh for Christ’s sake. The photographer who moved into that room over the convenience store in Thurston? I remember seeing the sign outside that upstairs window blowing in the wind. Detective Hutchinson, I think we have our connection. The sign read C. Swan Photographer – weddings, funerals – which I thought odd – parties and celebrations. I never met the man but I bet Bast did.

A noise came from the other end of the room. All three looked to the far wall as the abstract painting fell to the floor.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.

Sharon A. is teaching Getting Your Memoir off the Ground Workshop, Saturday, February 22, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Details at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/SpeakersBureau.html

Also see more of See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

 

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