Minnie and her rescue cat Eddie can often be found out and about in their bookmobile near Chilson, Michigan, delivering great reads to grateful patrons all over the county. But they always brake for trouble, and when Minnie sees a car speeding away down the road, and soon comes upon a dead bicyclist, she assumes she just missed seeing a hit-and-run.
Minnie is determined to discover who was behind the wheel, but it soon turns out that things are far more complicated than they seem and there's more to this case than meets the eye. Luckily, this librarian is ready to read the killer his rights.
On Writing What You Know
By Laurie Cass
Every writer I’ve ever known has a complicated love-hate relationship with research. I am no exception. In my hazy fantasy future, when I’ve retired from my day job, I’ll have time for the research I want to do. I’ll dive deep into the pre-Revolutionary War era, because someday I’d love to write historical mysteries set in that time. And I’ll immerse myself in the world of funeral homes, because that’s what it will take to get a handle on a book idea that’s been bouncing around in my head for years. And I’ll spend time traveling, because I have an unfinished manuscript that takes place in a fascinating location, but I can’t finish it until I spend time there.
But until that fantasy comes reality, what I mostly do is avoid writing anything that requires research. “Write what you know,” is one of the most basic lessons of writing, and I take that lesson to heart every time I turn to the keyboard. However, my interpretation of that rule sometimes comes out as an inverse: Don’t write about stuff you don’t know anything about.
How does this manifest itself? One prime example is cars. I know very little about the things, other than that I have to put gas in mine when it yells at me and that, every few months, I have to convince my husband to change its oil. Consequently, I rarely identify vehicle makes and models in my books.
Another example is how the poor victims in my books are killed. I know basically nothing about poison and even less about guns. Ergo, if any of my victims are killed that way, you won’t find much detail about the exact methodology.
And then there are the physical descriptions. For better or worse, I do not typically notice what people are wearing. Or their haircuts. Or what jewelry they might have on. And so Minnie, my main character, doesn’t tend to notice things like that, either. [This actually saves me a lot of time. Because if Minnie did notice that stuff, I’d have to keep track of it all, and do I really want to do that? I do not.]
What was that writing rule? “Write what you know”?Exactly.
With every book I read in the Bookmobile Cat Mysteries, I more and more want to drive a bookmobile, with my Chiweenie, Emma as my copilot. Of course, I would prefer not to run across any dead bodies.
CHECKING OUT CRIME was a fast moving mystery that grabbed me at the start. Each time I thought Winnie was on the right track, she hit another bump in the road. Each twist and turn, hill and valley left me lost as to whodunit.
Each new volume shows the growth in author Laurie Cass’ writing. Not that she wasn’t good from the start! I can just see subtle changes that have added so much to her storytelling. She’s who knows what she’s doing, and knows what her readers love.CHECKING OUT CRIME is the purrfect (Yes, I did the purrfect thing, as I am sure I have done before. But come on!) addition to this delightful series.
Laurie Cass grew up in Michigan and to date she still lives there with her family. From her own descriptions she never took up writing early but after moving jobs she felt unchallenged and not too mightily motivated by her responsibilities and decided to try something more challenging, writing was that challenge. In her research before she seriously started her career in writing, she says that she read a ton of books on the art of writing but one sentence spurred her on to actually go through with her dream of writing, “what’s it going to be, reasons or results?” she says that that particular phrase struck such a cord with her that she decided to seriously immerse herself in her writing. She says that the possibility of dying without doing what she really wanted which was writing made her make up her mind and a few years later she was published.
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