New Book Release! => "In the Clutches of the Wicked"
RETURNING TO THE SCENE OF THE CRIME
Nothing is more gratifying to a mystery writer than to hear readers say, "I really liked your characters, but I wish I knew what happened to them after the story ended. Would you ever consider writing another mystery with the same characters?"
When I heard this from readers of Enter by the Narrow Gate: A Christopher Worthy/Father Fortis Mystery
(Coffeetown Press, 2016), my first response was to assure them that Christopher Worthy and Father Fortis would be in every mystery of the series.
Some readers weren't satisfied with that. "No, I want to know what happened to Lieutenant Sera Lacey, the monks at the New Mexican monastery, and some of the other characters in the mystery," they explained. To that, my instinct was to respond, "I think it's better if I leave that to your imagination."
To my surprise, when I finished the third mystery in the Christopher Worthy and Father Fortis series (Let These Bones Live Again
, Coffeetown Press, 2018), I found that my mind had changed. I too wanted to set another mystery in New Mexico with many of the same characters who were in the first mystery.
One factor influencing my decision was my love of New Mexico-I love going there in person when I can and through my imagination when I can't. Visually, New Mexico richly deserves the motto "The Land of Enchantment." For good reason, the light, the different climes (river valley, desert, high desert, pine and pinon forests, and snowy mountain peaks), and the stunning and varied rock formations have inspired artists from prehistoric times to the present.
A second factor that drew me back to New Mexico relates to the spirituality component in my mysteries. New Mexico is a perfect match for this undercurrent, as visitors interested in spirituality find New Mexico endlessly fascinating. There are the beliefs and practices of the Native Puebloan peoples with their deep connections to the holiness of nature. In addition, there is the strong presence of Hispanic Catholicism, a faith brought originally by the conquistadors and flourishing to the present day. Islam, Judaism, Protestant and Orthodox Christianity, and New Age religions have all found New Mexico a welcoming home.
The third factor encouraging me to return to New Mexico was one of the questions readers of the first mystery had asked. The more I thought about their question, the more I realized it was both a good question and one I couldn't answer. Here is what they said: "I thought while reading Enter by the Narrow Gate
that Sera Lacey and Christopher Worthy might have a romantic relationship. I know this doesn't happen in your mystery, but did you mean your readers to wonder if the two of them could someday get together?" The more I pondered this question from readers, the more I realized I wanted an answer to it as well.
In the end, then, readers convinced me to bring Christopher Worthy and Father Fortis back to New Mexico to assist Lieutenant Sera Lacey in a case that affects her own family. But this time, my writing process was different. In writing Enter by the Narrow Gate
, I knew the basic ending of the mystery all along. In writing In the Clutches of the Wicked
(Coffeetown Press, 2019), I knew only two things: the characters and the New Mexican setting. In other words, I didn't know how the mystery would unfold. I didn't know if there would be a romance between Christopher Worthy and Sera Lacey, and I certainly didn't know how the mystery would end.
My process was simply to trust my characters and the power of the imagination. I also learned to trust the instincts of my readers.
I hope readers of In the Clutches of the Wicked
enjoy returning to New Mexico as much as I did.
of this Book at the BOOKS Page