It's my pleasure to welcome author Jennifer Moss to my spot on The LadyKillers this week. Jennifer's debut mystery, Town Red, is out this month from Black Opal Books. A California resident, she enjoys a variety of creative outlets--song writing, web design, photography, and writing--and she is the founder and CEO of the noted parenting website BabyNames.com. Her first book, The One-in-a-Million Baby Name Book, was published in 2008 by Perigee Press and has sold over 20,000 copies. You can visit her on the web at jennifermoss.com.
Welcome, Jennifer, to The LadyKillers. -- Margaret Lucke
The definition of inspiration is to be emotionally moved to create. A writer can be inspired by real people and events, or fictional elements such as stories, art, and myth. For my first novel, I was inspired by both reality and fiction.
A crime writer has to be careful about divulging her inspiration for writing a murder mystery. After all, we get a perverse pleasure out of creating characters we can fictionally kill. The inspiration for my debut mystery, Town Red, came from hearing so many of my friends recount their experiences with “horrible bosses” and dysfunctional workplaces. I found that to be the perfect premise: the murder of two abusive bosses.
Now that I had my victims, I needed the perfect crime. I’ve always been fascinated with all things metaphysical, and wanted to include it in my plot. What if a person were so psychically powerful that her thoughts could create reality? What if both victims just keeled over, simultaneously, of natural causes—in different locations? Whoa! I had just created my plot and my prime suspect: an ex-employee with powerful psychic abilities.
The next step was to create my protagonist. One of my favorite police dramas of all time, Hill Street Blues, was one of the first television shows to portray cops as rounded human beings—on the job and at home. Tough, but vulnerable. Heroic, yet fallible. Hill Street Blues was a groundbreaking series and completely riveting. We cared for the characters, rooted for them. We loved them, even for their faults.
With a self-analysis of the stories and characters that I love, I patterned my novel on the same concept. My detective would be portrayed both at home and at work. There will be two sides to him, professional and personal. And when he falls for the prime suspect, those two worlds will collide.
I write what I’d like to read. What I’d like to watch. What intrigues me, makes me laugh, cry and enrages me. And I hope that when my story is released to the world it will emotionally move someone else, too.