Anybody who’s already a writer knows the answer to that question. There are probably as many answers as there are writers. As for the genre…I write what I love to read.
I’ve always loved mysteries, starting with Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and the Hardy Boys. Then I graduated to Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy Sayers. I know, I’m dating myself here. Now there’s Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell.
People always compare me to that other pathologist who writes, now what’s her name? I say I don’t know, because I don’t know of any other mystery series written by a pathologist. But I know they’re thinking of Patricia Cornwell, who isn’t a pathologist, but a reporter. I suspect that Kay Scarpetta is based on Marcella Fierro, the real chief medical examiner in Richmond VA.
What I want is for those people to be thinking of me when they ask that question.
But I digress.
I can’t say exactly when I started wanting to write. I imagine I thought it would be something to keep me busy after I retired. Doctors have a way of working well into their seventies, and then when they retire they die. I don’t want to work into my seventies, and I don’t want to die, either.
I didn’t actually start writing until my husband gave me a word processor in 1992. I started writing Murder Under the Microscope then. I finished it in 2002, and sent it to an agent I had met at Murder in the Grove in Boise that year. She liked it, but said she couldn’t sell it. She said it needed a subplot. So I put in a subplot (Robbie) and sent it back. No dice. She chewed me out for making Toni such a wimp. So I fixed that and sent it back. Still no dice. I gave up.
In 2007, I had been divorced for 3 years and was introduced to a gentleman with whom I’m still keeping company today. He nagged me unmercifully until I went online, picked a publisher by the close-your-eyes -and-point method, and sent them Murder Under the Microscope.
And here we are. There are now 2 Toni Day mysteries out there, one more in the final stages of publication, and a 4th one in the works. I’m addicted. I never travel without my laptop. I look at every adventure as a possible plot for a mystery. The fifth Toni Day mystery may very well take place on a cruise ship.
Friends are always giving me suggestions for plots. My 4th book is called Death by Autopsy because my BFF said I had to write a book with that title, and I had to come up with a plot that fits it. It was a challenge; actually it still is. I really don’t know where it’s going, and probably won’t until it gets there.
Exciting, isn’t it?
And that’s why I write mysteries.