By Vicki Delany
From a single idea how does an entire book grow?
What a great question. It’s appropriate for me right now as I am at the very beginning stages of working out the details of the next Constable Molly Smith book (which will follow the already completed A COLD WHITE SUN, due out in August).
And I have a single idea.
The idea is this: When I was in Turks and Caicos a couple of weeks ago, I had a very minor altercation at the airport. A man in his thirties attempted to cut into the line to exit the customs area ahead of me. I called him on it. He and his friend then turned verbally abusive (in a mild but still upsetting way) as they followed me out in to the taxi area. I got into my taxi, left and that was the end of that. Except for most of the next day when I was sort of peeking over my shoulder.
Anyway, as I said, that was the end of that. But it might not have been. Now Lucky Smith, Molly’s mother, is a very forceful woman (considerable more than normally mild-mannered me) and I could imagine her being involved in a similar situation.
What might happen, if that hadn’t been the end of that?
And that is the premise of the book.
Time now to expand on the premise:
1) Where is this all to take place? I’ve been thinking for a while, and my editor is encouraging me, to take Molly et. al. out of town for a while. So, Lucky will be on a weekend escape with her paramour, Paul Keller, when this happens. How about Banff? A great location, and I’ll settle them all in at the luxurious Banff Springs Hotel .
2) Who is this rude person? I have never given Paul Keller (the Chief Constable of Trafalgar) any family background except to mention that he has grown children but never anything more than that. Hum, how convenient. Perhaps this rude man will be Keller’s estranged son. And, said son is up to nefarious deeds.
3) Being up to nefarious deeds means he has friends and acquaintances who might want to see him dead, or at least incapacitated.
4) Why is Keller’s son in Banff at the same time? Too much of a coincidence to have him just drop by. So, let’s make it Thanksgiving weekend and hey, Keller’s ex-wife lives in Calgary (that has been stated before), which is very near Banff. So the wife is attempting to have a family vacation being unaware that Keller is there also. Not a stretch to make Banff a favourite of both parts of the divorced couple.
5) Meanwhile back at the ranch? I have to bring Molly Smith and John Winters into the plot somehow. Easy enough with Molly. When she hears that her mom is in trouble (being suspected of killing the abovementioned young man) she heads straight for Banff and begins nosing around. Winters? Well, he can be back in Trafalgar working the phones on Molly’s behalf.
And so it all grows. I need a subplot of some sort involving Winters. Something that sort of parallels what is going on in Banff, but I am confident that I will come up with something.