By Chester Campbell
Many authors use newspapers to find ideas for plots. Mine come from a variety of sources, but I sometimes turn to the news for possibilities. The way it gets twisted during the writing process may depend on lots of factors.
That was my initial plot idea but, of course, it had to involve a murder. So I decided to kill off the crook who ran it. Then I saw a newspaper feature (actually several stories one Sunday) about kids who commit murder and are sent to prison. It told of Nashville's youngest murderer recently released from prison at age twenty-five. He had shot a man during a drug deal at age twelve.
I created a character based on him, having the newly-released prisoner falsely accused of murdering the medical equipment store owner. My PI and his sometimes partner, wealthy ex-cop Jaz LeMieux, are hired by the young man's grandmother to prove his innocence.
The child murderer in the newspaper story was black, and so was my character. To complicate matters for my PI's, I had Jaz facing false accusations of racial harassment in connection with her role as chairman of a chain of travel centers.
Adding another plot twist from the news, I brought in links to a Mexican drug gang. One advantage of using subjects currently in the news is the ability to promote the book as "ripped from the headlines." Okay, maybe not in those words, but you get the idea.
The novel, my second Sid Chance mystery, will be out in the fall.
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