Location has always been important to me. It's more than just mentioning the name of a place. I like to include
descriptions of what it looks like and the feeling of the place. Even though I have lived in L.A. longer than I
did in Chicago, since I grew up in the Midwestern city it still feels like home. Setting the Writer for Hire mysteries
there made me look at the city and my old neighborhood with a fresh eye. I took a new look at places that had been
like background scenery. It was interesting how different things looked when I really examined them. I'd always
noticed that the El train that runs above Wabash threw a shadow over the street, but I'd never really looked at the
structure. Only then did I see that the legs holding up the tracks and station suspended above the street resembled
giant insect legs.
The idea of Veronica Blackstone being a writer for hire came from my own life. My father was a writer for hire.
Along with writing a number of non-fiction books, he wrote entries for encyclopedias, magazine pieces and some love
letters. A friend of his was courting a wealthy woman he hoped to marry. All I remember of the whole episode was
that she had a limousine. The letters apparently worked and they got married. After which my father's friend forgot
he'd ever known him.
Both my parents worked, so my father had to take my brother and me along on some of his writer's meetings. There was
a story about my brother being under the table at a restaurant, tying my father's and the person he was meeting's
shoelaces in knots. My one memory is going to the studio of an artist who was designing a book jacket. There was a
white flower floating in the bowl of murky water he used to clean his brushes.
After writing a successful mystery, Veronica Blackstone has come to a standstill in writing the sequel. For now all
her efforts are going into running a writers' group with some quirky characters and working as a writer for hire.
She will write whatever her clients need whether it's love letters, a celebration of life for a funeral, wedding vows,
publicity pieces for businesses or even just a letter terminating a lease. All of which gets her in the middle of her
clients lives and their deaths.
"Plenty of plot twists and an appealing heroine with a reluctant love interest. What's not to like?"
"A sympathetic heroine coping with her own losses and colorful characters from a writer's group combine
nicely with an intriguing plot involving class and abuse. Readers will look forward to future installments."
Read an excerpt
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