My novel Thin Luck started as a confluence of three things: my first mystery conference, Bouchercon in Albany, NY, my first attempt at National Novel Writing Month, and reading Stephen King’s On Writing. At Bouchercon, I attended a ton of panels and talks. My head was buzzing during the three-day marathon. Since I hadn’t planned on going until the last minute, I didn’t get a hotel room, and I was commuting every day from my in-law’s place an hour north of Albany. That time turned out to be an excellent opportunity to decompress and let my mind wander over all that I’d learned. On the last day, with a hole in my schedule, I went to the Noir panel. I was inspired. I knew right then that I wanted to write a Noir. I didn’t even know what Noir was when I walked through the door.
A few weeks after Bouchercon, while reading some of the Noir that was recommended by the panel including You Play the Black and the Red Comes Up by Eric Knight and The Postman Always Rings Twice by James Cain, I saw something on Sisters in Crime about National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo). For those of you that haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo, it’s a challenge to write the first draft of a novel (at least 50,000 words of it) in November. I was certainly intrigued. It took me almost a year, mostly over the weekends, to write my previous novel, Northern Deceit. Granted there were a few things like moving to another country and breaking my first bone in there, but I was fascinated by the idea of writing a novel in a month. I read through the posts about NaNoWriMo. I had the Noir ideas swarming around me, and I was struck by a thought I’d had reading On Writing.
I don’t know how many of you have read Stephen King’s On Writing. It’s a great overview of the craft. I can’t recommend it enough. I have passages highlighted on my eBook copy. Sometimes I read through those passages to get inspired. In there he puts forth a writing prompt. He sets up a situation where a woman is home alone when she finds out that her husband has recently been let out of prison, and then he says to gender swap it.
As with all of the writing prompts I’ve ever written to, I didn’t exactly stick to the letter of the prompt. In my story, Robyn Hughes is let out of prison to allow her to snitch on her cellmate. She goes home to find that her husband has left town with her baby, born behind bars. What follows is her journey to get her son back, and for the reader to find out why she can’t go to the police.
My first NaNoWriMo was a great success. I had a lot of fun writing it. Of course, NaNoWriMo was only the start of the journey. It took a lot of revisions and some professional editing to get it into shape.
I hope you enjoy reading it. If so, drop me a line and let me know what you firstname.lastname@example.org
After snitching on her cellmate, former investigative journalist Robyn Hughes is released from prison two years into her five-year sentence for vehicular assault. She looks forward to getting to know her son, born behind bars and handed over to her husband, Nick, hours after his birth. There’s just one problem: Nick took their child to San Francisco. In an attempt to rescue the boy from his father’s manipulative clutches, she leaves a trail of felonies in her wake. From computer crimes in Connecticut, fleeing police in Ohio, and assault with a deadly weapon in Illinois, she will stop at nothing to get her son back.