People often ask me how I write. Do I draw my characters from real life? The Lockwood Legacy books made people from my past nervous. “Is that me?” someone would ask, or “That person sure sounds like Mr. So-and-So.”
Since my new book Descendants of the Rose debuted on the Amazon supernatural mystery bestseller list this morning, I’d like to take a few minutes and talk about the series protagonist, Selby Jensen.
It may seem like this book just came out of nowhere. I mean, heck, I’ve been writing about three sisters on a ranch in Texas and now I’ve jumped over to the paranormal. The leap actually is just a tiny step in my mind.
Creating strong women characters is my primary interest. I don’t want to be confined to or defined by any genre. My goal is to put my characters in interesting, challenging, and often painful situations and explore how they cope — or don’t cope — and wade through the fallout and triumphs with them.
Selby has actually been sitting on my desk for more than a year. She’s been watching while I developed The Lockwood Legacy, and laughed with me when I switched gears and began cozy Study Club Mysteries. Then, on a Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago, she told me in no uncertain terms that she’d had enough. She wanted out in the world.
I spent the weekend with her finishing Descendants of the Rose, which went out to my beta readers and proofreader Monday morning. When they recovered from their shock, they were enthusiastic about Selby and the cover designer came into the mix.
From the first page of this book, you’ll meet a woman in pain over a tragic loss in her life. Selby prefers the company of the dead, reasoning that she can’t lose them again. But what I love about this hurting woman is that her commitment to protecting and improving the world of the living is her passion. That’s what gets Selby Jensen up every day, no matter how much tequila she’s had the night before.
Yes, there is a murder that is solved in the pages of this book, but Selby’s journey is only starting. I have a plot map on my desk right now for book two of this series, Lost in Room 636 that centers around a grisly murder that occurred in San Antonio, Texas on February 8, 1965. In fact, it’s so grisly, I have trouble doing the research at night and then sleeping without the lights on!
San Antonio is one of the most haunted cities in America and it’s also Selby Jensen’s stomping grounds, but you may be surprised where destiny leads this woman over the series arc I have planned. Yes, Selby jumped to the head of the line in my project planning, but she’s been an integral part of my creative vision for some time.
Don’t think for one minute I’ve made my last genre hop. There’s another woman sitting on the other corner of my desk. A concert pianist surviving in a post-apocalyptic world filled with the walking dead. Yes, you’ll be meeting her before long, too because Vic, like Selby, doesn’t appreciate being ignored.
You may think that these women are very different from the sisters on the Rocking L in the Lockwood books, but they’re really not. All the women I write are the ones you want by your side in a fight, whether it’s in a bar or in a dark moment of the soul. They’ve come into my life and made me stronger for knowing them. I hope they’ll do the same for you.