Tag Archive | mystery

Writers: We shouldn’t always say what we think

Today my guest is Linda Shenton Matchett, an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry (of Star Spangled Banner fame) and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She volunteers as a docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and as a trustee for her local public library.

I’m not going to ruin it, so I’m not going to say too much because the topic of this post kind of says it all. Here’s what Linda has shared with us.

Last month I attended Crimebake, a mystery writing conference held outside Boston which is about a two hour drive from where I live. My husband and I currently own only one car, which is not usually a problem because we work walking distance from our home. But when either of us goes out of town for an extended period of time, we rent a car so the other person isn’t stranded.

Being the “frugal” person that I am, I typically rent the compact (read: cheapest) car option. Not typically a problem. However, this year I was in charge of the conference game for the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime. We decided on a twisted version of “Pin the tail on the donkey” called “Pin the wound on the corpse.” I purchased a 4’X2’ piece of foam insulation, wrapped it in gray fabric that was supposed to look like pavement, and had a friend of mine who is an artist draw the chalk outline of the victim.

Fast forward to the day I was leaving. My husband drove me to the rental car agency in our SUV. (Can you see where this is going yet?). The representative offered me a couple of vehicles to choose from, one of which was a Kia Soul. Not familiar with the car, I looked at my husband and blurted, “Do you think the corpse will fit in the back?”

The woman gasped, and her hands froze above the computer keyboard for a fraction of a second before she cleared her throat and continued to type. Even after my explanation, she looked skeptical and perhaps a tad bit nervous. Or maybe that was my imagination.

Next time, I’ll keep my question to myself.

Yeah, she sure had me, gotta love it.  Here’s some links I hope you will check out.

Website: http://www.LindaShentonMatchett.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/LindaShentonMatchettAuthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lindasmatchett

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lindasmatchett

Newsletter signup (receive a free short story for signing up): https://mailchi.mp/74bb7b34c9c2/lindashentonmatchettnewsletter


Murder of Convenience Purchase Link: www.amazon.com/dp/B07JVT42FW

This Book Is Based On A True Story

I’ve always wondered, when I read the phrase “based on a true story” how much exactly in there is true.  The answer is, maybe a little, maybe a lot, but probably somewhere in the middle.

While a writer needs to write based on reality, unless you’re writing a fantasy where you’ve completely made up the world and/or universe in which your story resides, we need to make the story sound like it could be real. Most of the time that means using real places and real people. But at the same time, if a character does something bad or stupid, we can’t be too true that someone would recognize themself and sue the author and/or publisher. Yet we can’t completely make something up and claim it’s true to get more sales, and then be nothing more than a well-paid liar.

Sometimes authors make up towns, making weather and geography similar to a real place, but everything else is made up. This can be fun, and I’ve been part of a series by a number of authors where we did this.

My latest release – The Other Neighbor – is based on a true story, as far as the underlying plot. In real life, this situation rocked my husband’s company as once the bad guy was arrested, his company went into bankrupcy and all the money he owed for services rendered had to be written off as a loss, even though wages were paid to the staff, as well as other normal business expenses such as rent, taxes, furniture, etc etc. So the plot to make a bomb and an FBI investigation is real. Aside from that, everything else is pretty much made up.

There are other stories I’ve written where I heard about something real that happened, and used the concept and made up the rest.

The best fiction is making stuff up, and making it sound real. Especially when it is real.