Michele: Welcome Arlene Kay to Miss Demeanors until you see how far Arlene takes her research! Make sure you click on the video for some scary stuff.
Former Federal Executive Arlene Kay was an unconventional public servant who renounced her bureaucratic ways to pen mystery novels that are sly, slightly snarky, and filled with clever clues. She is the published author of three stand-alone mysteries, and two series featuring smart, sassy heroines with a yen for justice and an eye for adventure. Her latest mystery, The Mascara Murders, will be released shortly.
Readers often ask, “Where do your ideas come from?” In my case, they’ve been inspired from a number of sources including current events, news accounts, and my own bright ideas. When writing my latest novel. THE ACOLYTE, I resolved to avoid the typical saccharine cliches about Cape Cod life and probe its darker side. A cursory search of the internet gave me pause: who knew that Cape Cod once housed a serial killer responsible for the grisly murders of at least 7 women?
Since my creative juices were flowing freely, I tracked down the GROTTO where this monster dispatched his victims. (It still stands in an isolated cemetery in Truro). Then in casual conversation (at the spa and hair salon) I encountered several women who actually knew or interacted with him. They thought he was personable, believe it or not, but “strange”. No kidding!! Be alert and listen closely. You never know what will emerge.
Writers ask the question “What if” then set their imagination free. Suppose for instance that a modern-day acolyte of this killer still roamed about? I created a scenario that combined that possibility with a murder eerily similar to the famous Christa Worthington murder and voila, a plot emerged.
Naturally mystery writers have a suspicious turn of mind. There are no accidental deaths even those that are seemingly innocuous. Miss Marple proved that time and again. An account in the New York Times of a young woman banker who plunged to her death from a rooftop was labeled a suicide. Not so fast! I moved it to Boston, fashioned a murder and created Swann Dive.
Good writers are also keen observers of human nature. I enjoy crafting characters who are seldom what they seem to be. You’ll find that Inspiration abounds when you ask the question: What if?