Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Guest Blog: M.S. Spencer: The Kaleidoscope Effect
The truth is somewhere in between. Most writers store their memories and experiences and thoughts in little cubbies in their heads, to be trotted out when relevant or appropriate to a story. I consider the period before I became a serious—aka published—writer, my percolation period. Since it covers some forty years, I accumulated a lot of coffee grounds. In my pre-marital life I filled my mental database with all kinds of travel and adventure. Memories of my life in Turkey, in Egypt and the Middle East, in France and traveling throughout Europe, in Mexico and the Caribbean, are like snapshots I use to fill out a story—to give it authenticity. The ensuing marital life of babies, teachable moments, herding cats, domestic puttering (I used to garden and make jarred foodstuffs) lent substance and humor to my characters.
Still, no character or action is an exact replica of any memory. The process is more like a writer cutting up little pieces of colored images, popping them into a kaleidoscope, and shaking it up to create an entirely new world. With luck the source is recognizable only to the writer.
For example, in my latest release, Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders, the heroine’s best friend is a Torpedo Factory sculptress, a Russian with wild black hair and red-painted mouth, resonant of voice and larger than life. There is such a woman, but she’s not Russian, and she doesn’t have a studio at the Torpedo Factory. And she doesn’t wear lipstick. Other than that…You’d find another example in my second novel, Lost and Found. Picture the scene: the heroine is asleep in a room on Mt. Kineo, Maine. She’s awakened by scratching and, thinking it’s a raccoon, bangs on her window to scare it away. Instead of a small cowed mammal, she finds herself face to face with an indignant bear. Now that actually happened to me, but not in Mt. Kineo, and I only heard the bear (and believe me, the growl alone was enough to scare anyone). Oh, and I didn’t get to be comforted by a brawny, macho hero of a Maine guide. Sigh.
Latest Release: M. S. Spencer’s latest release takes place in Old Town Alexandria, an historic cobblestoned city on the Potomac River in Virginia. It follows the adventures of several artists at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. An old munitions factory on the waterfront, it lay abandoned after World War II until the 1970s, when an intrepid band of local ladies convinced the City of Alexandria to lease it to them for an art center.
Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders, by M. S. Spencer. April 2012, Secret Cravings Publishing, eBook, 65,000 words, ISBN: 978-1-61885-250-2. Contemporary romantic suspense/Murder mystery, M/F, 2 flames
Waiting out the rain, Milo Everhart takes stock of her widowhood and the handsome man standing in the door to the bar. Little does she know she will meet that man again and again under both passionate and terrifying circumstances.
Tristram Brody waits for his date, too conscious of the beautiful woman sitting by the door. Little does he know that she will hate him for trying to destroy her beloved art center, and even suspect him of murder. Nor that she will be drawn inevitably into his arms.
Little does either of them suspect they will be embroiled in not one, but two murders, in which the fate of the Torpedo Factory, an art center housed in an old munitions factory on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria, will be decided.
Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled on five continents, the last 30 years have been spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, birdwatcher, Congressional staff, speechwriter, editor, volunteer, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and “domestic engineer.” Ms. Spencer has two fabulous grown children. She has only one cat (down from three, plus a dog, a snake and two hamsters), but since her study window looks on a park and river there is plenty of wildlife to distract her from her writing.
M. S. Spencer has published five contemporary romantic suspense novels, Lost in His Arms and Lost and Found (http://www.redrosepublishing.com/books), Losers Keepers and Triptych (Secret Cravings Publishing, http://www.secretcravingspublishing.com/), and Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders, released April 24, 2012 by Secret Cravings.
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/M.S.SpencerAuthor
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/M.S.-Spencer/e/B002ZOEUC8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1277387999&sr=1-2-ent
Posted by Marianne Stephens at 12:01 AM