Friday, July 10, 2020

WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY AND HOW? Guest Post by Cathy Ace


“Where do you get your ideas from?” It’s a question asked of authors time and time again.

Generally speaking, I can be truthful about when I get ideas, I just can’t be specific about how I get them. It sounds a bit lame to say that they literally just occur to me, but they do. And the ideas appear in different categories, too: a method of murder, a type of victim, a motivation for murder, a character who should be a killer, a specific location for a corpse to be found. I can’t predict when they’ll come to me, so I do my best to note them somehow (for example, if I’m driving or working in the garden I’ll call the house phone from my cellphone and leave myself a message…I’m hopeless at carrying notebooks about everywhere). Then, at some point, I might get around to using one or more of them, but certainly not all.

But that spark, that nugget, does truly arrive unbidden. Then all I need is the rest of the plot, all the characters, the entire story, as well as the location and everything that accompanies it…and I’m sorted (that’s the lengthy “plotting” phase, for me, before I outline, then write).

Quite often I don’t record, or recall, where or when the initial “nugget” has come to me, but for my latest Cait Morgan Mystery I can be unusually precise about it: 1.39 pm August 8th 2015. The metadata attached to a photo I took at the time gives me this valuable information, and the subject of the photograph was my inspiration. I was visiting Tredegar House, near Newport in Wales, with my mother and sister. It was two days before Mum’s 80th birthday – the main reason for my being in Wales – and we were enjoying a day out at the wonderful 17th century ancestral home of the Morgan family, later the Lords Tredegar. High on a wall in a narrow, dimly lit corridor was a portrait of an intense, bewigged young man, in typical 17th century garb. It’s believed to be a likeness of a youthful Henry Morgan, who later became Captain, then Admiral Morgan, and Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica. Some think of him as having been a pirate, though the only proof that exists about his plundering at sea tells us he was a privateer, with a letter of marque from King Charles II.

I saw that portrait, was immediately thrilled (I have a soft spot for many things piratical) and leaped to the conclusion I had to write a book where my sleuthing professor of criminology, Cait Morgan, would become caught up in a case that would somehow be linked to her famous, or at least infamous, namesake.

As my sister and Mum nibbled on scones with jam and cream across the table from me in the tea shop at Tredegar House, I was already envisaging how I could bring my love of Jamaica, Cait and Henry Morgan, and a murder plot to fruition. I didn’t know at the time it would take more than four years, and a pandemic, to allow me to get to write the book, but it’s finally here…The Corpse with the Crystal Skull. As you can tell, it took a while for the entire list of who did what to whom, where, when, and why to form around the original nugget of an idea, but I got there in the end!

About the book: Welsh Canadian globetrotting sleuth, and professor of criminal psychology, Cait Morgan, is supposed to be “celebrating” her fiftieth birthday in Jamaica with her ex-cop husband Bud Anderson. But when the body of the luxury estate’s owner is discovered locked inside an inaccessible tower, Cait and her fellow guests must work out who might have killed him – even if his murder seems impossible. Could the death of the man who hosted parties in the 1960s attended by Ian Fleming and Noël Coward be somehow linked to treasure the legendary Captain Henry Morgan might have buried at the estate? Or to the mission Bud and his secret service colleagues have been sent to the island to undertake?

 ISBN: 9781999223052 paperback
ISBN: 9781999223069 electronic book
Published by Four Tails Publishing Ltd. June 29th 2020

Twitter: @AceCathy

1 comment:

Cathy Ace said...

Thanks ever so much for inviting me along to talk about my inspiration for this book, Janet. It was fun!