Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies

 by Tracy Kiely

To fabricate or not to fabricate; that is the question.
Quite literally, it seems!
            At the risk of sounding like I’m trying to avoid a twelve-step program (“Hello, I’m Tracy and I fabricate.”) I answer with this – sometimes, but I can quit anytime.
            My first book, Murder at Longbourn, is set in a quaint town on Cape Cod. I specifically did not name the town because – as I told anyone who would listen – I did not want to get “tons of letters” from people telling me that I got some small geographical detail wrong.
            (HA! “Tons of letters.” What was I thinking? I’d be thrilled with tons of people doing anything with my book.)
            For my second book, Murder on the Bride’s Side, the setting was in Richmond, Virginia; however, much of the “action” took place in a house outside of the city. It was a lovely, large house that overlooked the James River and was a hodgepodge of various real plantation homes I’d seen in a book aptly titled Virginia Plantation Homes. I created similar realities for my other books as well. I placed my heroine, Elizabeth, in real cities (Georgetown and Bath), but the house or hotel she stayed in was of my own creation.

Stanley Ford in action

I know some authors painstakingly research every detail of a location before placing their characters in it, like Jack Lemon’s character Stanley Ford did in How to Murder Your Wife. Remember the elaborate dry run he would go through before he drew his comic strip? Remember the gloppitta-gloppitta machine? (Oh, please tell me someone remembers the gloppitta-gloppitta machine!) Well, I don’t do any of that, although I think it would be hysterical to see my neighbors’ faces if I ran around town and staged a dry-run of my murders. Oh, that would be awesome; especially as I live next door to a real life Mrs. Kravitz. Nothing gets past that woman. I can just imagine her reaction if I scampered across my back yard brandishing a gun and looking suspicious.

"Frank! I'm getting one of my sick headaches!"

 Sorry, I got carried away. Where was I? Oh, yes. Fabrications.       
            There is a certain element of it in all mystery novels – there has to be or else there would be a horrific number of bodies strewn about the world all in the name of “research.” In my books, I try to create a certain atmosphere – and that atmosphere is usually housed in a building of my own creation, where I can control the action without the prying eyes of Mrs. Kravitz.  
            But dear God, it really would be hysterical to see her face.  


Meredith Cole said...

Very funny, Tracey! Does everyone have a nosy neighbor, I wonder? Mine would be calling 911 in less than a minute if she saw me doing anything remotely suspicious...

TracyK said...

I think under the guidelines of most community zoning laws, there must be at least one Mrs. Kravitz for every 20 houses. Are you going to B'con?

Meredith Cole said...

I'm not going to make it to Cleveland this year... Will miss seeing everyone!