KITTENS saving NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli?
No Way! I don’t write cozy mysteries. Corelli is a kickass detective. No crafts, dogs or kittens allowed.
Yet it happened. And I wrote it. How the hell did that happen?
Well, in the writing world I’m what’s called a pantser, someone who flies by the seat of her pants, someone who does little or no planning. While I might have a character, a scene, a snippet of dialogue, an image or a voice in my head, when I sit down in front of a blank screen I have no idea where I’m headed story wise or how I’m going to get there. Everything flows from the connections my brain makes as my characters and I create the scenes that build the story.
When I started The Blood Runs Cold, the second NYPD Chiara Corelli mystery, I knew the main characters and the supporting cast and I had the image of a handsome bare-chested dead guy posed on a sofa holding a rosary. The rest was totally unknown.
Of course Corelli and Parker investigate the murder so suddenly they’re in the image standing in the doorway staring at the body posed by the murderer. I’m there with them but these detectives are so real to me that they take over and do all the work. I see the scene through their eyes, hear the music, smell the incense. They look around and they ask questions. Who was the victim? Why was he posed that way? Who found him? As the scene unfolds in my imagination, characters show up, things happen, and the words describing it all appear on the computer screen in front of me. Because I follow the characters and the story, I discover the story as I write. And I’m constantly surprised. As I was when the kittens saved Corelli. The kittens are the heroes. Not possible. But there they are.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had a huge surprise when writing. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that when I was writing A Matter of Blood, the first in the series, I thought Corelli was straight but when her love interest showed up for the first time it was a woman with the name I’d chosen for what I thought was a male character. I was shocked then too.
There were other surprises for me as I wrote The Blood Runs Cold. I hope you’ll read it and be surprised too.