Finally, my publisher has assigned me publicists. Too Much Blood has been out since last July and I got my publicists just last month. To be fair about it, I’m just now getting around to posting the posts they recommended for me, and here goes the first one, entitled How does Too Much Blood build on Murder Under the Microscope?
It was always my intention to create a cast of characters and stick with them, like Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy Sayers. I created Toni Day in my own image, so to speak, and made her even better. I’ve always thought having a Jewish husband would be really neat (think of all the holidays!) so I created one for Toni, Hal Shapiro. I created best friends/next-door neighbors, because in small towns like Twin, people know their neighbors. I gave Toni and Hal a friend who’s a policeman, Pete Vincent. That gives Toni an “in” with the police. I didn’t give Toni children because I don’t have children, and I didn’t think I could write about being a mother convincingly. I gave Toni a British mother because my own mother was British, although she emigrated when she was only 3 years old. So I had Toni do that.
Although my Toni Day mysteries are a series, each one stands alone, with regard to plot. You don’t have to read the first one to understand what’s going on in the second one. Blood contains references to things that happened in Murder, but only in passing. Grievous will contain references to what happened in Blood, and so on.
With each new Toni Day mystery,Toni encounters a completely new situation with which she must cope, amd also acquires new people in her life. While she goes about doing her daily job as a pathologist, coping with whatever problems I decide to throw at her, life goes on. Things happen to Hal, to Pete, to Toni’s mother, which distract her. Like so many women, she must multitask.
So, in Murder, I introduced Toni, Hal, Jodi and Elliott, and Mum. Toni was confronted with the murder of another doctor, one who had given her nothing but grief. Toni was forced to solve that murder to keep herself out of jail. She had to establish credibility with the police. She also had to deal with an old boyfriend who stalked her and threatened Hal.
In Blood, Toni deals with an entirely new problem. The difference is that Toni now has a reputation and some standing with the police. They actually listen to her now. The adversaries she had in Murder are gone. The stalker went to prison. Toni has acquired a partner, so the workload is at least manageable. In Murder, Hal was Toni’s staunchest ally. In Blood, he’s part of the problem.
As the years go by, and the books keep coming, Toni and Hal will grow older and more mature. Toni’s reputation both as a pathologist and as a crime-solver will continue to grow. New people will enter her life. Some will stay, some will go. At some point, I’ll have to have Toni solve a mystery somewhere other than Twin Falls, which will require some on-site research. A cruise, for example. A trip to England to meet her mother’s family. At some point, Toni will retire from pathology. She may even become a writer.The possibilities are endless!