I've been slow in writing my latest book OPUS MURDER set in Toronto, Canada. With each book, I do research into a new topic, and with this book, it's all about the world of a classical pianist. I looked at ways pianists are described by the experts, what their training regimen looks like, what the famous piano contests are, junior versus senior competition, and a few articles about present-day pianists and burnout from travel. It's a hard way to make a living, and from what I can tell, there's a very fine line between being 'awesome' and 'greatest piano player of all time'. Added to this, the audience skews older, and it's dying off. There are more pianists with talented fingers than venues and audiences.
OPUS MURDER also reintroduces Jack, Jo's boyfriend, and Hope, Angela's mother. Also for the first time Henrik, our computer wiz from Germany will be inside the story rather than being mostly in off- stage activity for the story. So I'm building these new characters, and at the same time, I'm trying to figure out the motive for the dramatic death of my piano player.
I also have book 4 of the Damian Green series sitting in the wings. It's in line to be written next. Hermione and Jacob (Lily's son) are going to get into some kind of trouble, and at the same time, Damian will have a new cold case to solve.
My writing has slowed down this year in part due to my volunteer work for the National Board of Sisters in Crime. I'm the Chapter Liaison, and it's my duty to support the current chapters and open new ones. I'm enjoying growing an organization I believe in, and I'll have six new chapters in a few months, but it does take away from my writing.
Next year I'll work on a new Jill Quint story. When people hear that you're a mystery author, you get offered lots of ideas for a 'good book'. More often than not, these stories are a single concept and one-dimensional, lacking meat to write a story from. In the past, I've written acquaintances into my stories at their request. Jill Quint #10 may come from a combination of a fan and my first reader who are both on vacation together in England. They are visiting Highclere (used for filming Downton Abbey) and suggested they might find a murder story for me there. I agreed asking them to send me a postcard representing what they saw that would make a great story, and what's the rational for getting Jill Quint to England. That's in addition to what crime has been committed and what's the motive for the crime. It will be interesting to see if and how that translates into a book for me.
Cheers and have a great Labor Day Weekend for those of you in the States,