Work in progress

I’ve been speaking to a lot of book clubs this fall. One group was particularly curious about the writing process. Do you outline? Do you set word goals? Do you set mileposts and write to them?

No, no and no. I just jump in. “In fact,” I told them, “I’m 50 pages into my latest book. Not only do I not know whodunit, I don’t even know who the victim is yet.”

They all looked at me like, That’s a book no one’s gonna want to read.

 But a wise woman in the group said, “When you do decide, you’ll have to go back and adjust, won’t you?”

Absolutely. I may have to add a character. I almost certainly will have to add scenes and hints and foreshadowing. Tweak the setting.

This will be the third book in the Branigan Powers series. (The second, The Cover Story, is scheduled for an April 2017 release in the UK, a June release in the U.S.) In the third, I want to explain a little about Malachi’s background, the trauma that led him into homelessness. The story is taking on a life of its own. The characters are telling me where they need to go.

I’d always heard authors explain a similar process when I interviewed them for The Greenville (SC) News years ago. Now I find myself writing the same way.

Branigan’s next case

The second installment of the Branigan Powers mystery series is coming to the UK in April 2017, then the U.S. in June.

The Cover Story starts off with a fatal crash involving two college students heading home for the holidays. But when the surviving girl wakens, she tells a curious story of the vehicle that forced them off the road  —  an old-fashioned, 1950s-style hearse.

Reporter Branigan Powers delves into the mystery that takes her to a college campus and into the dead girl’s family dynamics. Branigan must also uncover why the hearse ended up in a homeless encampment — a puzzle that reunites her with Malachi Ezekiel Martin, who is so adept at seeing what isn’t there rather than what is.