Have you ever wondered what makes some of your favorite characters the people they are in books and movies?
I got my writing start wondering just that. First I played with the original Star Trek characters. Then I moved on to other TV shows and movies. Then Mr. L said, "Hey, why are you wasting your time doing that when you could go pro?" Eleven years later, I finally sold my first novel, Murder On The Mind, the first Jeff Resnick Mystery (which, incidentally is STILL FREE for all e formats).
Writing the first four books in that series was a learning experience--and it was mostly learning who these characters were. I was writing those four books similtaneously, so that if something happened in the 4th book, I could go back to the first to lay the groundwork. (You probably wondered what I was doing during those 11 years, eh?) I tried to understand why Jeff did some of the (rather odd) things he did. I was very unsure of myself as a storyteller, and a number of published writers in my local writing group were generous with their critiques. One of them really stood out. While reading Cheated by Death, I was asked, "How long has this man had an eating disorder?" A what?
And then she went on to point out several areas in the book where clearly Jeff's relationship with food is at odds. It was then I realized it was a thread through the previous books as well--something I hadn't even noticed. The idea fascinated me, and I wrote a short story to explore the issue. I wrote short stories to explore other areas of his past, too. I've told a number of readers about the stories, and they've encouraged me to publish them.
The stories are not mysteries. They're about a boy struggling to grow up, and the very rocky relationship he has with his older brother. They help explain why the two were estranged for eighteen years, and hopefully contain the seeds of their fierce friendship to come.
As I write this, I'm still polishing some of the stories I'd left unfinished. Here are the (tentative) titles and here is the cover (does it make you want to read the stories?):
Leaving On A Jet Plane
The book will be available on Christmas Day. I hope to have a pre-sale button available by December 1st. I'll keep you posted.
Don't forget, tomorrow my writer pal E.J. Copperman regales us with another of his Pet Peeves. Don't miss it!