I was feeling a little lost after sending Missing the Deadline, no. 7 in my Isabel Long Mystery Series, to my publisher, darkstroke books. Then, I realized I needed to get cracking on another. And so I have. It’s actually a book idea that’s been buzzing inside my brain since The Sacred Dog was published in December. I wanted to write a sequel. And so last week I began The Unforgiving Town.
That’s certainly an ominous title for a book. But if you’ve read The Sacred Dog — and thank you if you did — you will understand what this book could be about. For those of you who haven’t, I am not going to be a spoilsport. What I will say is that one of the characters from the first book returns home after doing time for a despicable crime. The character has nowhere else to go but the same town where it happened. It appears this character learned life lessons while in prison and is a changed person, but is the town willing to accept that? Except for a cousin who reached out, I seriously doubt it, which will set up a lot of tension. Of course, this book is set in the fictional hilltowns of Western Massachusetts like most of my books.
But first I had to do research about sentencing and prison. I reached out to two lawyers who do criminal cases and got no response. But then I remembered I had a valuable resource in my brother, Tony, who worked in the prison system for many years until he retired. Our conversation plus the research I did online gave me such useful information. I was ready to move onto the next step.
The big question in my mind was how far into the future would The Unforgiving Town take place. I decided on fifteen years. The first book took place in 1984. The second would be in 1999, which also works given the uncertainty many people felt about what the turn of the century would bring.
Next, I needed to decide which of my characters would still be alive. How old would they be? What would the characters from the first book be doing although that will play out as I write this book.
Then, I got my paperback copy of The Sacred Dog and put bookmarks in the chapters involving this character in case I need them for reference.
All of the above took place over a couple of days. I was ready. I created a new doc in my laptop with the slug The Unforgiving Town. I wrote the first five hundred words Thursday, April 10. The next day, I did the same, and given that’s my pace for writing, I will continue, with exceptions like a camping trip.
I like what I’ve written so far. The first chapter is called Back Home. It feels right in the telling.
LINK: Curious about The Sacred Dog? Just click on the title and it will send you to Amazon. Thank you if you do.