When the brother of a convicted murderer is found shot to death on an unpaved road in the small Vermont town of Holbrook, Detective Sergeant Natalie Dvorak of the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation is notified. Her card has been found on the dead man’s body. The night before, Natalie had met the man and been told that he had proof of his brother’s innocence in the slaying of the convicted man’s wife. Natalie is helped by Holbrook’s one-man police force as she follows the clues from an abandoned farmhouse to a second-rate nursing home. The suspect in the second murder is known only as The Mercury Man based on an eyewitness description. As Natalie starts to close in on the killer at large, a freak springtime blizzard complicates the final chase.
Targeted Age Group:
How is Writing In Your Genre Different from Others?
I set my story in 1982 in part to take advantage of a real-life blizzard that I remember from when I was in college. Also, this eliminates the CSI effect so that the investigation emphasizes interviews and intuition over DNA. Also, the Natalie Dvorak series as it is playing out has an ongoing story about her personal life even as murders are committed and solved. Looking back over the six novels prior to the murder mysteries, I always have had an interest in human relationships of all varieties and see no reason to leave it out in a genre series.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
Everyone seems to say this but I also agree that spending time actually writing more than talking about writing is what gets material produced. I also come up with ideas at all kinds of odd moments and then implement them when it comes to the physical process of getting it down in a file (or on paper, like I did so long ago). One thing that helped me was studying improvisational comedy back in the 90s. Improv did more for my writing than writing did for my improv performances. I learned to create dialogue scenes in which people are doing something specific, like washing dishes or stacking wood. In performance, having something to do with your hands helps the dialogue ideas to flow. If I visualize my characters doing something like that as I write, it also seems to help.
I was born in the Bible Belt almost 50 years ago but grew up in a Massachusetts college town. I have lived in the Northeast, Midwest, Southwest, and Central Europe. Most of my working life has been in customer service, varying between health care and finance. I love spicy food, movies, and travel.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have long been a fan of police investigator stories and recently tried to imagine my favorite heroine from a couple of my other novels as a detective solving murders. At first, I began writing a complex novel in which my protagonist exists in several alternate realities, including one as a Vermont State Police detective. But fantasy genres just aren’t for me as an author so I dropped the original project. Still intrigued with the idea of writing a murder mystery, I changed my lead character into the aunt of the woman already established in the earlier novels. This is consistent with having almost all my novels take place in the same universe with characters crossing over now and then. There have also been mysteries and investigations of one kind or another in my so-called mainstream fiction, especially in “Myself to Blame” and “Stray Kitten”. I enjoyed writing The Mercury Man so much that I wrote and published a sequel, The Singing Shooters, and am currently writing the next installment. I have ideas for a fourth one as well.