As a writer we are often asked where our ideas come from. I can only speak about myself. The truth is they come from everywhere. I can be sitting in a restaurant, a doctor’s office or out dancing and an idea or story will pop into my head.
With that said, it is only an idea no story represents a real person. Here’s an example. I’m out dancing and while nursing a drink, I spy a couple whose body language tells me fight. From there I fill in the blanks. He’s flirting, she’s pissed. Maybe, he’s dumping her or she him. Or did this guy just try something nasty and she’s putting him in his place. Did she come on to his friend? Or aren’t they a couple at all, maybe he’s dumping her friend and she angry with him.
The couple’s body language did nothing more than engage my imagination. Take a good look around you, now close your eyes. What do you see? Interesting isn’t it? I closed my eyes after looking out at the woods. Immediately after closing my eyes, I saw a woman running for her life. Was she running from a four legged animal or a two legged one? Only I know until I put it on down on the paper. I love that part of writing. The thinking, the imagining, the vivid pictures my mind produces as the story plays out.
What was the most vivid picture your mind conjured up? And did it become a story?
Excerpt from If I Fail, A Jake Carrington Mystery:
On days like this, Jake questioned if there was a God. He held the broken, lifeless body of the infant girl in his arms, tears running down his face. He didn’t try to hide them. Jake’s emotions reflected in the eyes of everyone. His partner Louie turned away and kicked the chair. Jake knew this horror would live with each of them for the rest of their lives.
Keith Amara, the morgue assistant, tapped Jake on the shoulder. “I’ll take her.”
“She didn’t have a chance.” Jake handed her to Keith.
“No, she didn’t.”
He lay the child on the stretcher with such care that Jake’s respect for Keith increased immensely. Jake reached down and pulled the sheet up over the baby to conceal her from the morbid crowd that waited in the street below. He never understood the fascination of the onlookers at each crime scene. He believed they hoped to view the body so they could talk about the gruesome details, get their fifteen minutes of fame. Some would offer up a silent prayer of thanks to God for the safety of their children. Tragedy, even the tragedy of a stranger, affected people—it reaffirmed their zest for life, even here in the slums.
Jake composed himself. Turning to face the suspect, he fisted his hands at his side to contain his fury. The line of the law could be blurred here, Jake understood. Each officer wanted a piece of the creep. Knowing he had to keep a tight rein over the situation, Jake held his voice level when he spoke to Washington. He saw no humanity in the suspect; his act alone proved Washington had none. Looking into Washington’s eyes he observed they were dead, like the child he’d killed. He wore a dirty, wrinkled cotton T-shirt with stained jeans. The front of the jeans showed a large, wet patch where Washington pissed himself. The only thing this creep cared about was his next fix.
Jake walked to the body, reached down and uncovered it, and forced himself to look at the baby again. Her head, crushed in on the left side, reminded Jake of a broken hardboiled egg. He could estimate the amount of force that was required to cause such a wound, yet the baby didn’t die immediately. She had lain there suffering until one of the older children snuck out of the apartment and got a neighbor to call the police.
Now he stood in the doorway of the living room watching the police process the room. A child who knew how to stay out of an adult’s way. Jake guessed his age at nine, though his eyes were those of an old man. They reflected life on the street. No child’s eyes should hold such darkness. He understood the pain on the boy’s face, because every day of his life he dealt with the violent death of his own sister at the age of fifteen. It haunted him, invading his thoughts and dreams at unexpected times. Could he have done something to prevent it?
“Man, you don’t understand. I couldn’t think with all the noise from the kid. She never stopped crying. She cried all day, all night long, she cried all the damned time. I couldn’t take it no more. Her mama shouldn’t have left her here,” Washington rambled, turning to Jake.
Unbelievable. The suspect wanted sympathy. It took all of Jake’s control not to ram his fist in the creep’s face. Instead, he asked, “Where’s her mother, Washington?”
“She went to work,” he slurred. “I gotta sit down, man.” The first officer on scene had thrown him up against the wall, where he remained.
“I told you not to move a muscle. You move, every cop in the room will be on you like flies on crap. They’d like nothing better than to take you down. So stand still and start talking. What’s the mother’s name?”
“Her name’s Sheila Johnson.”
“You shut the hell up, kid, unless I tell you different, you understand?” Washington shouted.
Jake pushed him hard into the wall. Washington let out a groan.
Jake whispered in his ear. “Don’t you dare move or speak, unless you’re spoken to, understand?” Jake waited for him to nod before he spoke again.
“Now apologize to…” Jake jammed the suspect into the wall again, this time digging his elbow into the small of his back.
He was mad at himself because he didn’t bother to get the boy’s name. He’d never asked. Jake looked at the boy. “What’s your name, son?”
“It’s Aaron. Please…” He trembled.
“There’s nothing for you to fear, Aaron, I won’t let this man near you. He’ll be going away for a long time.”
“My…my mom works at the 7-Eleven. She won’t be home before midnight.”
Jake looked at his watch. Seven o’clock. His next visit would change lives. He hated this part of the job: the sadness, the denial, eventually the grief that washed over them and then eased off when a survivor started to accept the news. It’s bad enough when the notification’s for an adult—how do you tell a mother her infant is dead? Murdered by the hand of the child’s father? He motioned the uniform closest to him to take Aaron back to the bedroom with the other kids.
Before he left the room, Aaron turned and spoke to Jake. “Her name’s Keisha.”
“The baby. Her name’s Keisha.” Aaron cried for the first time since Jake arrived on the scene.
“We’ll make sure Keisha’s taken care of, Aaron.”
He nodded and left the room.
“Tough kid,” Louie said.
“He’ll need to be,” Jake responded.
Marian born and raised in Brooklyn, New York is the seventh child of ten. At the age of sixteen her family moved from New York to New England. As a typical teenager, she felt her life was ruined and took to journalizing her feeling and this new life. The journal helped her realize how easily she had adapted to the change. Although, she did miss her cherished friends terribly; she’s thankful, they are still friends today. The four of them refer to each other as the cradle to the grave friends.
Unbeknown to her parents, at the age of five she started reading the New York Daily News story about the murdered nurses in Chicago and the investigation. Marian followed the story every day as authorities rushed to solve the brutal crime. It had caught her attention and her imagination. To this day she stills checks her closet before going to sleep. Marian thinks it was on that day the mystery lover was created.
At the age of eight she wrote every day, whether it be a poem, a short story or in her journal. An eighth grade assignment got her published. Though she failed the assignment, the nun was impressed with her poem. It was supposed to be a four line poem, but she couldn’t still her pen. The Beach her first official published work is still her favorite though much longer than four lines. It was the nun who submitted the poem for her to the local paper. Thus, the writer was born.
Marian’s first book If I Fail, A Jake Carrington Mystery released in September2012; and will be followed up in January 2013 with the second book in the series, Burn in Hell, A Jake Carrington Mystery. Each book’s a mystery with romantic elements, because to quote Marian, “Life is both mysterious and romantic.”
Marian resides in New England with her husband.
Please click HERE for a full list of Marian Lanouette’s books and links to buy from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com