Guest post by Nancy Cole Silverman, author of Beyond a Doubt
For some people things just seem to happen. By that I mean, unusual things, funny and some not so funny experiences, but all of them memorable and a bit out of the ordinary. The type of things books are written about. I often wonder if this is because writers experience life differently than others might. Perhaps because some writers chronicle their experiences in journals, or enjoy sharing their stories to such a degree that they create some magical energy field around themselves and the unusual is drawn to them like a magnet.
I’m one of those people. I was once the target of a group of rightwing extremists that moved into my home and declared it their own. That was scary. But, on the on the other end of the scale, I’ve also had more than my share of funny, light hearted experiences that beg to written about.
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On the morning of August 28, 2014, I came home to find the perfect story on my doorstep. There wrapped in a plain, white FedEx box, was an unexpected package. It was addressed to me – or at least it had my last name on it – and no return address.
Now I have to say, before I share this story, I was brought up to believe hard work begets rewards. “Mr. Right,” my mother used to tell me, isn’t just going to show up on your doorstep, any more than the right job or anything else you want in life. “You’ve got to go out and make it happen.”
Except on the morning of August 28 – while I didn’t know it right then – the right story had shown up on my doorstep.
I brought the box into the house and asked my husband if he were expecting a delivery.
“No.” He hollered down the hall, from within his home office. “But bring it on in and put it on the couch.” My husband works as an expert witness and depositions arrive all hours of the day. This wasn’t unusual. I placed the box on the couch. Whatever it was, it wasn’t for me. I left the room.
And then, maybe twenty minutes later, I heard him call.
“Nancy!” A wife knows a certain tone in her husband’s voice. It’s the call that cannot be ignored. That call that even after nearly twenty years of marriage, requires an almost immediate response. I couldn’t imagine what was wrong. If it had anything to do with the box it couldn’t possibly concern me. I hadn’t bought anything. I certainly hadn’t ordered anything. What could it possibly be?
I walked into the office.
“Look in the box.” My husband stood across the room from the opened white FedEx package and pointed. I half expected from the look on his face to see a snake slither out from within the box, or perhaps find a dead bird, or something even more sinister. After all, I do write mysteries.
“Why?” I asked, hesitantly.
“Just look inside.”
I took a step closer to the box. My husband urged me on.
“Go ahead. Look.”
With the tips of my fingers I gingerly pulled the edge of the lid farther open and peered inside.
“Ohhhhh…… my god!” I jumped away. I couldn’t believe it. Inside the box was a clear plastic bag full of money. In fact, there were several bags full of money. Three to be exact. Greenbacks. Tens. Twenties and fifties. And lots of them.
“Whooooooo’s it from?” I looked at my husband, my hands on my chest, my heart beating like I needed to hold inside me.
“Is this a joke?” I asked.
Before he could answer there was a pounding on the front door.
Now I have to stop the story here and say that my husband and I live in Southern California. We also live in the heart of movie land and not too far from the Mexican border. That said my mind went immediately to drug money, murder and headless corpses showing up in the desert, while my husband reached for the …
STAY TUNED. The details of this story will show up in a future book.
My point to this little missive is that writers pull from their own real world as much as they do their imaginations. And stories, I believe, appear to find the writers that will write them. It’s a type of kismet. I did nothing to prompt the white FedEx package to show up on my doorstep. Not anymore than the day my husband and I decided to go to an afternoon matinee and he accidentally kidnapped, or drove off with, a black gentleman in the passenger seat thinking it was me.
FYI – I’m a tall white woman.
I don’t know how he mixed us up. In fact, I’m quite certain the gentleman’s wife, whom I was standing next to while we waited for the valet to bring our cars around, didn’t either. Needless to say, her husband, who had been texting on his cellphone, was about alert as my husband as he jumped into the passenger seat and the two took off. Men!
So, is truth better than fiction? Certainly life gives us fodder from which we, as writers, build stories and with the right blend can make for a page-turner. In my series, The Carol Childs Mysteries, with Henery Press, I’ve pulled a lot from my personal life to color my characters and their experiences. I think all writers do. My protagonist, Carol Childs, is a middle-aged, single mom, working for a talk radio station as a reporter. I spent twenty-five years in radio, so I suppose it’s only natural to write about a world I know.
In my new book, Beyond a Doubt, Carol Childs is called to the scene of a body dump that leads her into the investigation of a sex trafficking ring. Pretty dark stuff, but hang on. It’s a fast ride from the dark side to the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, and things around a news station change like the weather.
I hope you’ll tune-in for the July 14th release of Beyond a Doubt, the second of the Carol Childs mysteries.
About the Author
Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in news and talk radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. But it wasn’t until 2001 after she retired from news and copywriting that she was able to sit down and write fiction fulltime. Much of what Silverman writes about today she admits is pulled from events that were reported on from inside some of Los Angeles’ busiest newsrooms where she spent the bulk of her career. In the last ten years she has written numerous short stories and novelettes. Today Silverman lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bruce and two standard poodles.