Partners in Crime

New England Crime Bake

I spent a fun weekend at the New England Crime Bake, the annual conference of the local chapter of Sisters in Crime. Saw some old friends, met a few new ones. So many of the people there have written 30 books or more. I have a lot of catching up to do. Working hard to get Dead Drop ready to go.

Sat in on a panel discussion on turning books into movies. Heard that if a story takes place in Boston they usually film it in New Orleans. Who knew?

Interviews, News

Portsmouth Review Interview

1.     Tell me a little bit about who you are and where you live. – I taught high school French in the 1970s then worked for 30 years in the insurance industry. I grew up in Abington MA and now live in North Easton MA, a charming little town with an interesting history. I’ve been writing since I was 5 years old. I’m retired and recently widowed.

2.     Are there any favorite local spots you like to visit, ones that inspire your creativity? – If we’re talking truly local, I’d have to say my back deck. It looks out onto a quiet side street and a lot of trees. If one could be paid for deck-sitting, I’d be extremely wealthy. If we can expand local to include a larger portion of the planet, then my answer would be Paris, Key West and Woods Hole.

3.      Wow us with shock value.  Is there anything about you that would surprise readers? – I was once a card-carrying member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. Tip O’Neill once took me to dinner. I attended Star Fleet Academy.

4.      What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as neurosurgeon? – It truly wasn’t much of a choice. Basically, the Universe chose me and to me I had to write. Anything else I did was really just to pay the bills.

5. If you could spend a day with any author, living or dead – who would it be and why? – I know I should probably say Edgar Allen Poe or Agatha Christie, bit I have to go with Jeremiah Healy. Besides being a wonderful mystery writer, he was also a good friend. We met when I worked in Cambridge in the 1980s and used to handle his insurance. Once I learned what he did, I picked his brain on a regular basis. We became friends and remained so even after he moved to Florida. He was always happy to look over a manuscript for me and make helpful suggestions. He killed himself a few years ago. I miss him.

6.     Does the area in which you live provide influence in your writing?  How so? – All of my books (4 to date, though 3 still in the development stage) are set in places I know well and generally love – So far, I’ve got Key West, Paris, Woods Hole and Dorchester (which I don’t actually love, but it can get interesting).

7.      What is the most critical piece of advice you would give to new authors? – Never give up. Some people will love your work, others will hate it, but it doesn’t matter. Accept criticism, critique and feedback for what it is and always keep on writing.

8.      Coming up with a title can be difficult.  Tell me how you came up with yours. – My first title, Dead Drop, just came to me naturally (that is my second book, coming out some time next year). For some unknown reason, I decided at that time that I liked two-word titles with the letter D in them, hence Deep Secrets, Direct Elimination and Sweet Dreams, Sweet Death (which is not 4 words; it’s 2 words repeated.

9.     Are there more books coming from you in the future?  Do tell! – There are indeed. Dead Drop is in the final editing stage. Deep Secrets is undergoing some major rewrites and Direct Elimination was recently plotted and outlined. Should keep me busy for a while.

10.  Where can people find more information on you and your projects? – I am on Facebook at P K Norton. My website is PKNorton.com.

 

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Partners in Crime

Cape Cod Writers Conference

This summer’s Cape Cod Writers Conference was, as usual, both enjoyable and informative. For me, the highlight was the presentation by the Chief Forensic Investigator for the state of Connecticut. After all, if you’re going to write about gruesome things, it’s important to get the details right! The most important things I learned are:

  1. Always wear steel-toed boots to a crime scene.
  2. Despite what you see on TV, never apply Vaseline under your nose to help deal with unpleasant odors. Vaseline actually opens your nasal passages, so the effect of the odor is worse.
  3. DNA results can take as much as a year to be processed. Somebody tell CSI!

 

 

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Partners in Crime

Partners in Crime – Part 1

In the Beginning

 

I’ve been a writer all my life. I only recently became an author. The necessary step to go from writer to author is actually being published. That took me 25 years.

In junior high and high school, I wrote short stories that nobody ever read – nor would want to. In college, I wrote really bad poetry a la Rod Mckuen. I always intended to write a novel or two but became an expert at finding excuses not to.

I actually began to write seriously when my late husband Jack shamed me into it. I had recently acquired my first computer, thus had word processing ability. I couldn’t use that as an excuse anymore.

Jack and I were in Nantucket, having cocktails on the patio of the Brotherhood of Thieves. He told me in no uncertain terms that it was time for me to stop talking and start writing.

I couldn’t argue. He was right.

We talked about what to write. I decided to do mysteries. I’d always enjoyed reading them. It sounded like fun.

We had another drink and discussed various ways to commit murder.

Thus, Amy Lynch was born.