I don’t mean those kinds of voices, the ones that get you into trouble or treatment. I am writing about the voices of the characters in my books and the conversations they have with each other whether they are adults or children. As you can see from the stack of books in the photo above, I have been doing that for a while.
Right now, I am working on the seventh in my Isabel Long Mystery Series. This one is called Missing the Deadline. I don’t want to give away too much just yet, but I am way past the half-way mark.
For those who haven’t read the series, it is written in first-person, present-tense so the primary voice in my head is Isabel telling the story. Of course, there are the conversations she has with other people and what she might overhear. There are a number of other characters in the series, many who appear throughout.
Say Isabel is having a conversation with Jack, the owner of the Rooster Bar and her love interest. Part of their thing is a good-natured back and forth, teasing, you might say. Maria, Isabel’s 93-year-old mother, is the level-headed observer who at times pulls parenting rank on her daughter. Annette Waters, who owns a junkyard and garage, lives up to her nickname the Tough Cookie. Gary Beaumont is always bossing around his brother, Larry. Then, there are the Old Farts, those gossipy men who hold court in the backroom of the Conwell General Store.
I guess it all started when I was a kid living a sheltered life, which mean I only left our yard to go to school, church, watch my father’s softball team play, or to visit relatives. My siblings and I were big into pretending games. Plus I was a big reader. I loved getting lost in books.
Later in adulthood, when I no longer lived a sheltered life, I was a newspaper reporter. That experience, reporting on the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, enabled me to listen to how people of all walks of life talked and to write it down. It was great training. Plus it inspired making rural New England the setting for most of my books.
The Sacred Dog, which is not part of the series, is my most recently published novel. That one, a thriller set in rural New England, is written in third-person, past-tense. The Sacred Dog is a country bar where the locals drink and gab, so there is that barroom banter to get right. But I needed to capture what the book’s three main characters would say. Frank Hooker, the owner, hates Al Kitchen, who he wrongfully blames for his brother’s death. Their conversations are terse and tense at best. I “hear” how they relate when Al has the nerve to show up at the bar. The same goes into their dealings with other people, including Frank’s ex-wife Verona, who returns to town with a dark secret, and his young daughter. One of my favorite dialogues happens between Jenny Kitchen, Al’s scratchy grandma, and Frank.
But back to Isabel Long, specifically Missing the Deadline, who has been inside my head lately? My favorites, of course, like Jack, the Old Farts, Annette, the Beaumont brothers, and of course her mother. But Cyrus Nilsson, aka the Big Shot Poet, plays a significant role in that he hires Isabel for her seventh case. Plus, as this case — my lips are sealed — takes Isabel to another place and people of interest, there are new characters to hear. I will be sharing more about Missing the Deadline in the future.
ABOUT THE IMAGE ABOVE: Yes that’s the books I’ve published so far. Darkstroke books published the Isabel Long Mystery Series and The Sacred Dog. I self-published the rest. By the way, the second in the Twin Jinn Series will be published this year.
LINK: Here’s the way to find my books in Kindle and paperback on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Joan-Livingston/author/B01E1HKIDG
The paperback versions of most of my books are also available on Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/