By Leslie Tentler
This week’s assignment: Imagine you’re at your high school reunion. Set the scene. How would you describe what you do? How would you answer questions about the gruesome aspects of death or the too interested positing about how to kill a spouse?
As I enter the country club, the location of choice for reunions in my small hometown, I’m trying hard to recognize faces...because I’ve vainly decided not to wear my glasses. I’ve also (equally vainly) decided to wear high heels that I can barely stand up in and oh, yeah, my Spanx are killing me.
Despite my inability to see or walk, I’m quickly drawn into the closest group of reunion-goers. Much laughter and hugging and squinting at nametags ensue (the latter by me), as do the updates on who’s doing what these days. Eventually, the question comes around: “So what do you do?”
Me: “I’m a writer.”
Reunion-goer: “Cool! What do you write?”
Me: “I write romantic thrillers...”
Reunion-goer: “Tell me about your book! What’s it about?”
And this is where it gets weird. In MIDNIGHT CALLER, my debut novel, an FBI agent returns to his hometown of News Orleans in search of a serial killer. A killer known as “The Vampire” because he drains the blood from his victims. As in exsanguination. By cutting their throats. It’s probably more than I need to tell my former classmates, but I’ve downed a couple of glasses of wine and the normally subdued me is becoming chattier.
I probably also reveal that the murders take place in New Orleans’s Goth community. And that “The Vampire” likes to enjoy a little blood cocktail himself after a hard day of exsanguination.
By now, the weaker spirited of my classmates have drifted away. One of them shakes her head and mumbles, “That doesn’t sound very romantic.” One guy remains, however, and even with all the time that’s passed I’m pretty sure he’s the same guy who used to steal the cadaver pigs out of biology dissection class. He’s in insurance sales now, but he’s still interested in the morbid and he has lots of questions – about the stages of rigor mortis, blood lividity and how to poke a thermometer into the liver to determine time of death. Clearly, this guy’s already read the book or he’s way into CSI and wants to prove it. Either way, the conversation is heading even farther into Creepyville, so I excuse myself in search of the ladies’ room.
“Talking shop” isn’t always such a great idea.
Leslie Tentler is a debut author for MIRA Books. Her first novel, Midnight Caller, is available now. For more information, visit www.LeslieTentler.com.