Two weeks ago, we did a presentation and book signing at Ketchum Community Library in beyootiful Ketchum, Idaho (which is not Sun Valley, Idaho, thank you very much, though it’s where Sun Valley Ski Resort is. Sun Valley is where the Sun Valley Lodge is. Clear?) Anyway, a mahalo nui loa (big thank you) to Lauren Zondag at the Ketchum Community Library, Lynn Mason-Pattnosh of the Concierge Questionnaire and Cheryl Thomas of Chapter One Bookstore (http://www.chapteronebookstore.com/). We talked about what it’s like to write with two heads (er, authors) and various other writing topics, many of which we’ve covered in previous blogs. One of the questions posed by the audience was whether we planned to write a book set in Ketchum.
The upside of doing a series is it allows one (or two, in our case) to develop characters over time. And honestly, if you can get readers hooked on your characters, you’ve a better chance of selling more books (the cocaine effect). The downside, of course, is that you may so get bogged down and bored with your own creation, you feel driven to kill him/her off (such as Sherlock Holmes’ death at Reichenbach Falls, though he was literarily resurrected by Arthur Conan Doyle and lives on in a number of non-Conan Doyle-authored books). Or, your setting becomes limiting. In Cabot Cove, Maine,* that picture-perfect community of 3,000 or so that was the setting for “Murder She Wrote,” hundreds were murdered (usually by other locals) during Jessica Fletcher’s time and the duration of the series. Our theory is that Jessica Fletcher spent more time in New York City as the series wore on because there weren’t enough potential victims left alive in Cabot Cove. Or, she was banished as she, Typhoid Mary-like, left a trail of corpses in her wake. (Or is that “wakes in her wake?”)
A writer friend (Cathy Wiley) chose Baltimore for the setting of her books because it consistently ranks as one of the top five (though “top” seems an exceptionally poor word choice) cities based on its murder rate. We note Baltimore has a much larger population than Cabot Cove so her series could go on indefinitely: the pool of potential corpses is quite large.
As an IT consultant, Emma has the opportunity travel to a variety of assignments so she can trip over bodies in different locales. As we’ve blogged previously, book number three takes place in Hawai’i. (Hmm, we’re due for another research trip to Waikīkī. Tough job but someone has to do it.) We’ve considered Washington, DC as another location. We’ve all had murderous thoughts towards various government agencies (who really likes the IRS, for example?). So why not Ketchum? Or Vancouver, BC? Or some other great place for a research trip?
Emma’s assignments will allow us to introduce new characters, include GD Consultants from previous assignments, and of course, continue developing her relationship with her family, friends, and “potentials” (Keoni and Huw). It will also allow us…er, her…to enjoy surfing, frou-frou coffee, chocolate and the endless quirkiness of so many fascinating locales. The fact that you can buy makeup, ammunition and dry flies in the same store in Ketchum (what more would any woman want, I ask you?)
Another question posed by the audience was whether we had considered doing an audio book. The questioner pointed out that some “readers” almost exclusively use audio books, since their only “free” time was during the commute. Our answer: no, we’d never considered it. But, we’ve since looked into it and discovered the minimum cost for a decent production is $5k and a typical sales cost for the DVDs is $20 plus. To save on costs, one of us volunteered to make the sound effects if the other read the book. However, the method of replicating the thwack of a cricket bat against flesh provoked a major disagreement. Mostly because one of us objected to being the guinea pig…er…target.
So if you’d like our series to be available on tape, encourage your friends, family, co-workers, team members and complete strangers to purchase our books. (Or convince the West Coast member of our team to take a bat to the body for the sake of her art). Otherwise, we’ll wait until we reach best-seller territory to pay professionals to record our book. Until then, you’ll have to content yourselves with the printed and digital versions.
Thanks to those friends who came to our Ketchum book signing and we look forward to seeing more fans at the next reading (I mean, non “coopted into being a fan because they are family members and we know where the bodies are buried and will tell Mom”). Our next gig in Old Town Kensington (Howard Avenue) Maryland celebrating the Day of the Book on Sunday, April 22nd. Diane will be there between 11am and 4pm to show, sell and discuss our books. Hope to see you then.
*Though “Maine” as filmed in the series was actually Mendocino, California. Who knew?