Prepare to do without me for a while
Those of you who know me know that I participate in National Novel Writing Month
every year. This is an exercise in simply cranking out the words – 50,000 of them in 30 days.
I have been participating in NaNo since 2004. Since 2005, I have written a murder mystery every year, focusing on Hannah Montgomery, a community college English instructor who has a Jessica Fletcher-like habit of stumbling upon dead bodies everywhere she goes. The series’ inspiration was an unusually stubborn malfunctioning photocopier in the faculty workroom at the community college where I teach. It gave me the idea to write a mystery using a photocopier as a murder weapon, and presto, Murder at the Community College was born! In that mystery, a particularly unlikeable faculty member was offed by a booby trap set at the point in the copier’s paper path that always jammed.
Since then, Hannah has solved murders at the yacht club (vice commodore killed by an unusual subspecies of venomous snake), a family reunion (obnoxious great-aunt stabbed with a Sikh knife at Hannah’s fiancé’s family’s lake house), the little theater (the actor playing Sir Lionel in Camelot didn’t come back to life the way he was supposed to after the joust), and the sports desk of the local newspaper (an intrusive photographer clobbered to death with a hockey stick). Along the way, Hannah has fallen in love with a police detective, suffered a traumatic brain injury, been involved in a race riot, developed a fascination with racing sailboats, performed on a low-budget recording that went viral on the Internet, been raped, and met all sorts of interesting people.
So what’s next for Hannah? As she and fiancé Harry O’Malley plan their upcoming wedding, where will the next body turn up? I’m open to suggestions.
Labels: boats, fiction, fun, geeks, journalism, music, nanowrimo, racing, sailing, teaching, writing