Woke up at 2 am to find he wasn’t home. I’m developing that firefighter’s wife’s sixth sense. I knew it wasn’t a medical, or a car accident. A call that long? Had to be a fire.
I couldn’t get back to sleep. Times like those, the internet is my salvation, my diversion from worry. 4 am, he came home, his suit covered in soot, reeking of smoke.
Sunday, we drove out to the scene and I took my camera along. There we were, Kevin trying to hold me back from getting the soles of my shoes dirty, and me sharply reminding him that the first scene I photographed for my college paper was a fire.
Kevin’s been in training as a firefighter for over a year, and this year he started his safety codes training. That means he’s qualified to investigate a fire and determine cause. One of the people allowed to go behind the crime scene tape.
And no, none of you other crime writers are allowed to talk to him. Unless you bribe me sufficiently.
Seriously, just by nature of what he does, I end up with so many great ideas. The hardest part for me is holding back from working on new material. I usually wing it, no pre-plotting, and in about six weeks put down a first draft on a manuscript. Mind you, I have no life, but this is why I’ve got three manuscripts ready to hand off to the publisher. Well, two, they already have, actually.
But the third, Ashes and Embers, is one I felt a bit sad about on Sunday. It will be at least 2008 before Ashes and Embers is published. And when I’m standing ankle-deep in ash, shooting pictures of open flame licking the charred rubble because the wind’s picked up and the embers started burning again, I’m envisioning the scene at the beginning of A&E, when Carly arrives at an arson fire and they find…
Oh, ooops, sorry. Got carried away for a second, but I’d better not give away too much.
Seriously, the Canadian noir series is one that just has endless ideas. Book 3 has been gnawing at me for ages, and I’m trying not to start writing anything new until my edits on the first book are done. My creative brain really wants it to be August, when I usually draft my new book for the year, and news stories like this, about two fourteen-year-olds and a thirteen-year-old facing multiple bank robbery charges right in BC’s lower mainland, where my Canadian noir series is set, have me struggling to restrain myself.
People ask where you get your ideas. Truthfully, there is no shortage.
I know that the process of editing each book will make me stronger as a writer, and because of that, I think that Ashes and Embers will be a better book for time and experience. It’s just so hard to wait!
Some of you, no doubt, are cursing at me because you’re struggling with book 2 on a deadline.
But while I was thinking about this post, I realized that the elements have all featured in some way in the first three books.
Suspicious Circumstances has a backdrop of water behind the write-up for a reason. In fact, the original title was Blood In the Water, which turned out to be terribly unoriginal.
Echoes and Dust is about roots and the things some would rather leave buried, and not just crimes.
And Ashes and Embers has several strands weaving through it, but central to all is a series of arson fires that may or may not be connected to…the other stuff going on.
I never planned this element theme. Fire and water seem strangely appropriate. Fire should be obvious, with Kevin’s interests, but also my grandparent’s house burned down years ago. My one aunt, at the age of 13 I believe she was, actually rescued her youngest sister from the building. Any my friend Steve logs on to read jokes from the New Westminster Fire Department when he’s at work, fighting fires and saving the public.
Water. I grew up near the shores of Lake Muskoka, and I almost drowned at the age of 10. Not at the lake, but on a family camping trip. To this day I don’t like going into the water alone.
It isn’t like I planned this, but Kevin has suggested the next book be Death on the Hindenburg II. (Not likely!)
Where do you get your ideas from? And how do you decide what projects to write next?
Now, I must run along and check out what the enigmatic Cornelia Read is blogging about today. Bet you it’s the release of her book on Monday and how she sold 10 zillion copies and is swamped answering fan mail from incredibly famous people like Bono and Duane Swierczynski.
But first, I’m running over to Goody’s to read his weekly Darwin award-winners post, which always cracks me up and reassures me there are people dumber than I am out there.
At least until they become an entry on James’s fantastic blog. I hope there’s a healthy supply of stupid people so I don’t end up on there. At least, not because of a ridiculous death.
But before you go, check out Making Mom Proud
Seriously, this is pretty funny, so enjoy! I wanted you all to have it in time for Mother’s Day. And if you have brothers, or sons, you’ll really enjoy this.
Not so sure I like this, but it seemed fitting today…
|In the dark ages, how would Sandra Ruttan die?|
|You would be burned as a heretic. At least you would go out in a blaze of glory ... or just a blaze. It all depends on how you spin it.|
|'How would you die in the dark ages?' at QuizGalaxy.com|