Monday, August 6, 2012

Behind the Scenes at the Olympics

By Evelyn David

I'm a proud Momma for lots of reasons. I have been blessed with four wonderful children, two incredible daughters-in-law, and the most enchanting (brilliant, funny, gorgeous, and every other superlative) granddaughter in the world. I count my blessings every single day.

Son number two is a writer. We often talk about the process, the ups and downs of the business, the exhilaration of a piece well-composed, the depression when you can't even find the words to construct a shopping list. Sam is, without a question, my favorite writer. I say that as his mother, of course, but also as a pretty discerning reader who recognizes smart, insightful, funny, emotionally-connecting writing when I see it.

The news that Sam would be part of The New York Times Olympic coverage was exciting. But it meant being away from home for more than a month, which gave him pause. As he asked, would Riley, now age two, be driving by the time he came home? This is the age where the changes are coming at breakneck speed and he doesn't want to miss a one.

For Sam, his favorite sports writing is never about the score, it's about the people. Take this piece on the twist of fate that propelled Mariel Zagunis to be the American flag bearer at the Olympics, and the intertwining lost dreams of Nigerian Jacqueline Esimaje-Heath.  

Or the challenges that Muslim athletes are facing at the Olympics as they balance the rules of Ramadan and the physical demands of training and playing.

What struck me is that, like Sam, mystery writers never know when a supporting character will suddenly step up and take over the page. When we first began writing Murder Off the Books, Rhonda and I had a clear idea of whodunnit. We wrote an elaborate backstory for the character that only stopped short of suggesting that the individual was not all that different from Hannibel Lecter (Silence of the Lambs). And then we started writing our book. The character morphed into someone we liked so much that the backstory was trashed and the killer became someone else.

Writers always have to be on the alert for the "sleeper" – be it the athlete who seems to emerge out of nowhere or the murderer who leaps out of the pages, to everyone's surprise.

Sam will be in London for another few weeks. We're following his stories closely, beaming with pride, and considering a murder mystery set at the Olympics!

 Marian, the Northern half of Evelyn David

Brianna Sullivan Mysteries - e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Lottawatah Twister - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Missing in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Summer Lightning in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

The Ghosts of Lottawatah - trade paperback collection of the Brianna e-books
Book 1 - I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries (includes the first four Brianna e-books)
Book 2 - A Haunting in Lottawatah (includes the 5th, 6th, and 7th Brianna e-books)

Sullivan Investigations Mystery
Murder Off the Books Kindle - Nook - Smashwords - Trade Paperback
Murder Takes the Cake KindleTrade Paperback  (exclusive to Amazon for 90 days)
Riley Come Home (short story)- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

Love Lessons - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords


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  2. Marian, kudos to your son, Sam, for his fine sports journalism! I know that has to warm your heart to see your son succeeding in another area of your own profession.

    I had to laugh when reading about your murderer who turned into someone you liked so much that you had to make someone else the murderer. That's happened to me twice now. The first time, the character is a bad guy of sorts, but with redeeming qualities and not a murderer. The second time, almost halfway through the book, I decided this person couldn't be the killer, went back and developed another, better killer, went back and redeveloped the first character the way that person wanted to go, and that character became one of the good guys. We're just these characters' emanuensis, it seems. :-)

    1. Thanks Linda. I am very proud of Sam and have such fun when we chat about the writing process.

      Despite our best-laid plans, characters take on lives of their own and we are best served when we follow their directions :-)