On January 5, two hours before departure on a Panama Canal cruise, I dodged a speeding car during my morning walk and rammed into a cement barrier. I broke four toes, sprained my ankle, and bruised a lot of soft tissue. (All of which I discovered 6 hours later from the ship’s doctor’s x-rays).
The doctor assured me I still had time to jump ship and head back to California from Florida. His suggestion raised a dilemma. My son, DIL, husband, and I had planned this trip for a long, long time. What would I do at home in a wheelchair I couldn’t do sailing the ocean blue?
So, I accepted a soft boot, IBUPROFEN, an ice pack, and a wheelchair, agreeing to see an ortho doc in Colon, Colombia two days later. If I needed surgery on the toes, I’d decide to have it there (uh-huh!) or return to California.
The next two nights stretched into at least additional forty-eight hours. My foot looked and felt like an overfed whale. But . . . I stayed in the wheelchair provided by the cruise company, remembered two people I know who have sat in wheelchairs all day for the past twenty years, and dialed back on the whines. And my thoughts turned to murder.
Now, in full disclosure, I’d written my first and second psychological thrillers before leaving the States. I’d planned on reviewing the manuscripts on board. Didn’t happen. Visions of the multiple ways to torture the driver who’d nearly mowed me down hijacked my imagination.
Having written four romance novels (two comedies, two romantic suspense), I was a true believer in the transformative power of love. Forced to stay in a wheelchair from the moment I got up until I went to bed, I kept thinking about murder. I still believed in that transformative power of love, but I started to see where some characters never found true love. Or, they were too damaged to love and be loved.
That thin line between thinking about murder and committing murder niggled at my imagination. (Sort of ridiculous since I was being treated like a princess by my husband and kids and ship’s staff). In addition, many passengers wanted to know what had happened.
My story? I was skiing down Mount Everest blindfolded and hit a mogul. (Yep, that got a laugh). When I told “the truth,” many passengers commiserated with me about the jackass driver who never even slowed down. They agreed he’d escaped justice.
Misfits. Murderers. Justice.
The idea churned my brains while I sat on my balcony and contemplated passing through the Panama Canal. When I came out on the Atlantic side, I’d reached a decision. Writing romance had taught me a lot. Now, I thought I was ready to veer off to another path. (The jungle and heat and strange creatures fuel the imagination).
Back home, walking five miles a day again—though more slowly, trying to accept I have six more months according to my ortho surgeon before I can say I’ve recovered, I am writing the third novel in my trilogy, THE MISfIT. At this point in my life, I like being able to commit murder.
How about you? Are you a dyed-in-the-wool romance reader? Have you ever thought about that thin line between thinking and committing murder? Why do you read romance? Do you read other genres? Why/why not? I will get back to you.
Thanks to Delilah for this opportunity to travel a different path with you. Below is a brief description and excerpt from The Early Years.
OBTW, reading during my forty-five days of wheelchair-confinement, helped more than any medication.
AB Plum, author of THE MISfIT—The Early Years, a novella of psychological suspense
THE MISfIT—The Early Years
You’ve known you were different forever.
Memories of standing on the outside flood your eleven-year-old brain.
Your own parents refuse to look you in the eye.
They refuse to touch you. Talk to you. Express affection.
They lavish your older brother with praise. With acceptance. With love.
He taunts you. Disrespects you. Underestimates you.
You have one friend—and he is different too.
He’s lucky though.
He doesn’t have cold, uncaring parents.
Or a despicable older brother.
Your friend’s happy to help you exact justice.
A Deadly Accident
On January 15, 1976, the plan to kill my older brother came to me fully formed.
Everyone at Hovedbanegård (Copenhagen’s Central Train Station) wore fur-lined boots, coats, gloves, and hats. My brother, shorter than most of the god-tall Danes, stood out because of his squared off torso—an aberrant gene, most likely, from our Finnish mother. The sheer mass of the crowd made pushing him—too close to the edge of the platform—too easy.
BIO: AB lives just off the fast-lane in Silicon Valley with her husband. Reading, hiking, aerobic dancing, and participating in debates about hot-button topics propel her imagination toward murder.