By Kassandra Lamb
I bore easily, which isn’t always a good thing.
About a third of my closet is full of impulse buys that I liked because they were “something different,” but then only wore a few times. They varied a little too much from my normal style.
This tendency to bore easily is part of why I love mysteries, both reading and writing them. So many different ways a story can twist and turn…Bwahahaha.
But in my writing, even more than in my wardrobe, this trait has led me away from my comfort zone.
My first series, the Kate Huntington Mysteries were traditional mysteries, with a psychotherapist amateur sleuth, which is what I did for a living for 20 years (psychotherapy, not sleuthing). This was comfortable, since I knew that profession. But also challenging enough to keep my interest, as I figured out different messes Kate might find herself in as she tried to help her clients.
Inevitably, however, I became bored. I’d experimented with shorter, cozy-mystery-type reads in a parallel series of novellas called the Kate on Vacation Mysteries. I enjoyed the cozy style so much, I decided to write a cozy series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy Mysteries.
To raise consciousness about the mental health issues of veterans, and because I love dogs, I made my protagonist a young woman who trains service dogs for military veterans with PTSD.
But now I was no longer following the comfortable edict of “write what you know.” My protagonist was a Millennial, divorced, commitment phobic, and a dog trainer. And I am none of those things.
I had to do a lot of research with this series, which I enjoyed more than I thought I would. It’s hard to be bored when you’re researching tasks service dogs can do, the inner workings of the various branches of the military, and different ways that combat soldiers might be injured, physically and/or mentally.
But now the dog-trainer series has almost run its course. Marcia (pronounced Mar-see-a, not Marsha) has grown from a somewhat flaky young woman to a mature married lady. (Well, “lady” may be an exaggeration). I’m currently writing the last novel in that series, and then her “character arc”—as we authors call it—will be completed.
So the bored part of me got a hare-brained idea. Why not write a police procedural series? There was a police detective character in the Kate books I’d grown fond of. Why not give her a series all her own?
Well, I may have changed things up a bit too much this time. I’ve moved way, way out of my comfort zone.
The only things I have in common with this protagonist—we’re both female and recovering Northerners now living in Florida.
But I’m certainly not bored!
I’m discovering that the “police procedure” we see on TV is often quite different from reality. Lots and lots of research is happening now, and I even got a chance recently to see the jury selection process up close and personal.
And the totally cool thing about police procedurals—there’s LOTS of variety in the crimes we homo sapiens commit. (Okay, maybe only a mystery writer would see that as cool.)
It may take a bit longer than usual for me to become bored with this series!
In her youth, Kassandra Lamb had two great passions—psychology and writing. Advised that writers need day jobs and being partial to eating, she studied psychology. Now retired from a career as a psychotherapist—which taught her much about resilience, perseverance, and the healing power of laughter—she spends most of her time in an alternate universe populated by her fictional characters. The portal to this universe (aka her computer) is located in Florida where her husband and dog catch occasional glimpses of her.
Lethal Assumptions, A C.o.P. on the Scene Mystery
Judith Anderson’s no-nonsense attitude and confidence served her well in her climb to homicide lieutenant in the Baltimore County PD, but that confidence is shaken when she finds herself one step behind a serial killer—just eight days into her new job as Chief of Police in a small Florida city.
With a leak in her department, she doesn’t know whom to trust. If she makes the wrong assumption, the wrong decision, it may be her last. In a race to save lives, she’ll draw on every talent and instinct that made her a star in Baltimore. But will that be enough this time?
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