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Confession before I start writing the stories behind the stories for the Detective Delaney Pace novels: it is super hard to avoid spoilers!!! But I promise, I’ll give away less than the Amazon descriptions, so it is safe to read on.
I brainstorm stories with my creative, brilliant husband Eric. He’s not a writer, but he’s a fabulous story partner. The storyboarding process for Delaney took us about six months and included six books. But it was not straightforward, because I wanted to write Delaney as a private investigator and street fighter. Think Spenser for Hire meets Yellowstone, with Beth as the lead.
I wrote a few chapters. My editor loved everything about them… except… Delaney could not be a PI. And, oh yeah, she could be tough as nails, but no mixed martial arts or street fighting, as that was a reader turn off.
Okay, I could see that.
We retooled the original story, in which Delaney—single, childless, and restless—is pulled from ice road trucking to the hometown that haunts her to care for her tween niece Kateena, who has been orphaned. The family bar where she witness her father’s murder comes with the package. She returns to her former job as a deputy with her mentor, the sheriff, but not willingly. She’s still a badass, but not in a competitive capacity.
Green light on Delaney from my editor.
We returned to the original story, which includes a meet-cute with her “partner,” Leo Palmer, and a dead body on her first night back at work. And surprise! The deceased is her sister-in-law, who we already thought was six feet under.
That’s all I can tell you, other than it was still quite a journey learning the story structure my editor was looking for. I read books on it, I studied authors in the genre, and I charted word count percentages by climactic elements. It was interesting and painful.
Another first for me in this series is getting closer to the victim and the criminal. It was important to me that the story not glorify depravity yet satisfy readers hungry for thrills and chills. I hope I pulled back from the scene at the right moment to leave it to the imagination (or not).
This isn’t my first rodeo with trying new things. I embraced dramatic women’s fiction with Michele Lopez Hanson, sexual freedom with Ava Butler (although believe me sexy and erotica are not the same thing—there is very little actual sex or body parts in the books), and a grittier, more wounded protagonist in Maggie Killian. I tried my hand at a married partner romantic suspense in the form of a legal thriller. And most notably I dialed back to do semi-historical adventurous family drama mystery with medical twists (yeah, a lot) in Patrick Flint. You guys have stayed with me through it all. I thank you for being here now.
Get ready for some thrills, chills, twists, turns, and all the feels (you know I always have to deliver all the feels) in Her Silent Bones.
I hope you LOVE Delaney, Leo, Kateena, and the gang as much as I do.
Catch Delany in Her Silent Bones, Her Hidden Grave, and Her Last Cry in ebook, audio, or print, here: https://amzn.to/3Th7dOy