A couple years ago I applied for a part-time job as a tour guide at a historic cemetery not far from where I live. Why? Well, aside from the fact that the job would force me to step away from my computer and remind me that there was a life beyond writing (even in a place where just about everybody was dead), I love cemeteries.
No, really. I mean it. I really love cemeteries.
Think about it. A cemetery--I mean a really good old cemetery, not these new ďmemorial parksĒ where every headstone is flat to the ground and every one of them looks the same--is really a museum without walls. Take a peek into any cemetery thatís more than sixty or so years old and youíre bound to see interesting architecture, sculpture and art. There are stories, too, everywhere you look. One memorial can give you a glimpse into generations of a familyís history. Another might suggest tragedy. Still others speak of undying love and precious memories.
Is it any wonder that a writerís imagination is bound to take flight in a cemetery? Thatís exactly what happened to me. I didnít get the job, by the way, but as I drove home from the interview, I did get the idea for Pepper Martin, a cemetery tour guide whose enthusiasm for cemeteries does not rival my own. After all, what could be more perfect that an amateur sleuth surrounded by dead people? And if she just so happened to be able and see and talk to some of them, all the better!
I learned to love mysteries early thanks to my dad, a Cleveland Police detective who enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes stories and spent his days off searching for stolen cars. Often on those trips, I was in the back seat and to this day, I have Dad to thank for my knowledge of some less-than-savory parts of the city. Later, I read my way through every mystery story I could get my hands on. Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle are still among my favorites.
I have a degree in English, experience as a journalist and writing teacher, and lots of ideas for more Pepper Martin mysteries. When Iím not writing, Iím usually with my family and our two dogs, Ernie, an adorable Airedale pup, and Oscar, a rescued Jack Russell who spends far too much time watching TV. I enjoy knitting, gardening and of course, stomping through cemeteries in search of history, stories and inspiration.
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