Location, Location, Location
I’ve puzzled over the last year or so why is it taking me so long to write CASTLE KILLING, book seven in the Jill Quint series. I’ve been at it off and on for over a year. In fact, I released two Damian Green books while trying to work on CASTLE KILLING. I wondered if the Jill Quint series had run its course as I couldn't ponder a storyline beyond the first two chapters.
I’ve decided it’s Location, Location, Location, as real estate agents say.
Every book that I have written so far has a main story location that I’ve visited in the past five years. Since I’m English and Irish by my DNA, and I’ve visited London more than any other International city, I thought a book set in the United Kingdom would come easily to me.
Regrettably, my imagination took me in the wrong direction. Instead of being set in London, I started off the story in Cardiff, Wales. In fact, it starts with Nick Brouwer, who you met in book 2 (Chocolate Diamonds), being pushed off the Castle Wall in Cardiff. A famous author once said you have to kill your darlings and he was the only character I could tolerate killing, even in fiction.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been to Wales or Scotland in over twenty years and my memory isn’t as clear as I expected. All I remembered about Wales was how magical it seemed. The castles, the landscape, and the weather combined to give me a feeling of magic creatures in the mist (and this was before I aspired to be a writer). I expected to capture that wizardly feeling in this book, but magical creatures are more suited to a Young Adult story, rather than a contemporary murder mystery.
Fortunately, the next several books in the Jill Quint series are lined up to be located in places I'll have visited within two years of writing the book – New Orleans, Toronto, and Southern Italy. I’ve learned that vague, but pleasant memories of vacations long past do not give me enough material to write from.
Or maybe it’s the whole magical atmosphere that interferes with my writing. One of my favorite European cities is Venice. I love the narrow and twisty streets that still look like a Canaletto painting from 1700. Again, it gives me an atmosphere of intrigue and centuries of secrets, but I’ve never fell inclined to set a murder there as I would need to go back and refresh my imagination.
CASTLE KILLING is more than half done and I still expect a spring release, but on my third try at writing the story, I'm not going to dilute my attention by starting another book. I have the framework of a story set in New Orleans and the hook to get Jill Quint there investigating a murder that's anxious to be written, but I'm staying focused on Scotland and Estonia, the locations of the story I'm working on. Hopefully, all of those story line teasers will excite you to read CASTLE KILLING once I finish it.