Dana Bowman may be short in stature but she is long in persistence – the latter a necessary quality for a private investigator. She is also divorced with a son, David. I, too, am short, stubborn , divorced, and have a son (now grown-up) but here the resemblance between myself and one of my fictional characters ends. Dana drives a car and carts around her cell phone; I do neither. Dana is a computer Luddite; I’m somewhere between smart-dummy and average computer literate. Dana has a fraternal twin, Bast. I grew up an only child and that may have a lot to do with why I write mystery fiction. Reading Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie and watching the Perry Mason TV series filled some of the void of not having any brothers and sisters to play and fight with. But that combo of only child, voracious reader and TV viewer also spawned something else – an overactive imagination.
Somewhere around age 11 I started to write. First it was non-fiction and ten years later I dived into writing short stories. But I soon switched over to writing non-fiction articles for newspapers and magazines because I got published faster. And I was paid. I started teaching writing and then I did the nasty – I climbed to the other side of the fence and became a book editor. Now, among other things, I am Writer in Residence for the Canadian Authors Association Toronto Branch.
But my overactive imagination started spewing out characters that solved or committed murder, went missing or hunted for the missing, were assaulted or committed the assault. They also lived messy lives with dysfunctional families, wacky controlling friends, children who had gone through the unthinkable and often had it follow them around as an adult. Throw in a few explosions, a suicide, gambling, poisonings, last wills and testaments, and warring friends and you have an interesting stew.
Many of these characters have ended up in the 13 stories in my first collection of short stories. Beyond the Tripping Point, published by Blue Denim Press www.bluedenimpress.com coming out in October 2012. In this blog’s postings, I will not only talk about the characters in this book, but I will delve into more characters that erupt in my imagination, as well as the future of some of the Tripping Point characters – the ones that are still alive after their stories. Using these characters and their chaotic lives, I will sidetrack into some of the ins and outs of plotting, character development, point of view, setting, voice and style.
I’ll leave the mechanics (grammar, punctuation, and spelling) to the editor in me. Maybe I can “wake her up” for a few blog posts.
Happy reading and writing.
Sharon A. Crawford