This is has been quite a year and as we near its end, I can’t help but look back at all that has occurred over the past eleven months. Part of me feels like this year has been one or two very long months because I’ve spent the bulk of my time at home. One of the best things to come out of 2020 is that I’ve gotten back to counting my blessings. I wake up in the morning and think about all the good things in my life. At the core, I have all I need and there is no lack.
December is upon us, and I’m wrapping up the very last book of 2020! I’m very excited to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I spent the first seven months of the year distracted and a bit down about the way things seemed to be unfolding in the world, but in late July, I perked up and got moving. So glad I snapped out of the doldrums!
2021 And A Question…
2021 will bring the resolution of one ongoing mystery and more travels for Sylvia and Martin. I have four books in the Sylvia Wilcox series planned for 2021. You can expect a new mystery in February, May, August, and October. We will see Sylvia come to more realizations about herself and the world.
The third book of the Sylvia Wilcox series, Fracture, is NOT about a murder. This has led to some readers disliking the book because they want to read about a murder. Sylvia Wilcox is a private detective. While P.I.’s take on murder cases at times, they often work non-violent cases because private detectives are private citizens-not police officers. Sure, they will pick up cold case murders, but it is perfectly reasonable to think that a private detective will take on a missing person case.
So, here’s the question I’ve been pondering this week. Is murder a requirement of a mystery book for some readers? Is it okay to write about a missing person case, or financial crimes in a mystery? I think so, but I could be alone in that thought. I recently read an article, “Why The Serial Killer Novel Is The New Feminist Fiction,” and the author presented and interesting idea. She discusses how she enjoys watching the show Snapped, and asks what if a woman kills a man and she doesn’t feel bad about it? My response is that if any person kills another human and doesn’t feel bad about it, I’m not able to frame that as a victory just because the killer is a woman. I’m not on board with thinking that murder is a feminist act in and of itself. I tend to shy away from gruesome crime fiction because I don’t have the ability to completely disconnect from the extreme act of taking a life, even in a fictional context.
I’m not sure if most people think a murder must be included in a mystery, but Sylvia Wilcox will be investigating murders and other situations that may, or may not be crimes. Sylvia will have murders to solve, but there will be deeper, more complex mysteries to examine as well. The mysteries of the heart and human behavior are the things that keep us up at night. Surely, those things deserve investigating as well.
What do you think? Can a mystery series examine more than murder?
Road to Nowhere
Road to Nowhere will be off to the editor in early January. Newsletter subscribers will receive the prologue in January, and the ebook preorder is already available. If all goes well, there will be a preorder for paperback copies in mid-January. I plan to take a few days off after I finish my literary fiction novel, but I’ll be back at it soon after the New Year. Road to Nowhere will be released February 19, 2021 and a description of the book is included below. !
A young man disappears during an impromptu cross-country road trip. Initially, it appears that Anson didn’t have a destination or a reason to drive from Michigan to California, but when Sylvia Wilcox starts to examine the mystery, she finds that Anson had a reason to be driving the backroads and interstates of America.
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I’m writing Road to Nowhere, the fifth novel in the Sylvia Wilcox mystery series, this month. November is National Novel Writing Month, and the goal is to write at least 50,000 words. Today I have a little over 46,000 words. I expect to reach 50,000 words by Sunday. Now that a lot of the first draft is done, time has been freed up time for me to do some research. This is excellent because Sylvia and Martin will be traveling to several U.S. states this time around.
I was born and raised in Detroit, but I’ve always had a fixation with the Old West. There’s just something enchanting about deserts, Old West towns, and mountains. I’ll never forget my first train ride through the Rocky Mountains. I’d purchased a one-way train ticket because I didn’t know where I’d end up. Initially, I thought New Mexico or Colorado would be my final destination, but I ended up staying in Utah. Once I was settled in, I started taking road trips to the national parks and surrounding states. Before I married, most of my traveling was done alone, and while some roads were interesting, dangerous, or full of sites to see, many of them were just roads through scrub brush or foothills. I made up stories to pass the time, and now that I’m mostly at home, those stories have come back to dance around in my head.
Road to Nowhere was inspired by a trip we took in 2019. We took our time meandering around Wyoming, looking for cool sites to see. We spent a night in Laramie and explored the town the next morning, but all the other exploring we did took place on empty, isolated roads. This idea thatWriting this story is a great reminder of how much fun road trips are! This is the first year in over a decade that I haven’t taken a road trip anywhere. Spending time recalling memories of previous journeys has helped keep me upbeat and happy this year.
A Sylvia Wilcox Christmas was released today. I am very excited to have a holiday-themed book in the series! The story will tie up a few loose ends from the previous books, so if you haven’t read Who She Was or Displacement, A Sylvia Wilcox Christmas will be SO much more fun if you read those two books first. Remember, Who She Was is free, so if you haven’t given it a read, now is the perfect time time to pick it up.
The Sylvia Wilcox series deals with mysteries but there are other themes that can be found in all of the stories. One major theme is identity. Who we are, the labels we wear, and the way that we live are inspired by our experiences and who we’ve been told to be. This theme has always fascinated me and it keeps popping up in my stories. Why are you the person you are right now? Have you changed over time? Or do you view yourself as the same person you were a year ago? Ten years ago?