Some of you know how this murder came to be, but a lot of you don’t. Even my co-author Amanda A. Allen doesn’t know everything.
You might wonder how a murder mystery that might be more comedy than anything else could be a life affirming, friendship building type of project.
If you are dying to know, I’ll tell you. It’s kind of cool story.
I have this super amazing friend who is fostering to adopt her babies. I can’t get into a lot of details because, well, reasons, but in February of 2014 the babies had to start spending weekends with biological family that had some, uh, issues. My friend (and co-author Amanda A. Allen) was understandably an emotional ball of hot mess at the prospect of being away from her babes for a weekend.
I had experience (unfortunately) sending my baby away to someone with issues (albeit different ones) by virtue of a court order. There is no situation so terrible and no woman so powerless as a mother who has no actual choice in who is taking care of her children. Who is forced by a court to hand over her heart to someone she’s not sure is up to the task. So we bonded in our miserable past, present, and future. We talked together and we cried together (only for second) and then we did what we always do. We channeled our angst and decided to commit a murder.
One that we could get away with.
We knew that if we threw our overwhelming emotions into a book, we would be okay. Because there is something healing about writing. We thought, hey, let’s see if we can write a whole book (a small one, but still a book) in one weekend. In addition to being a little emotional, we are in fact, certifiable. Just so you know.
So we sat ourselves down at Tommy O’s in Vancouver, ordered a table full of Hawaiian food and multiple rounds of Dr. Pepper. We spread out our notebooks and our “how to write a mystery” templates and guidebooks and we plotted the pants off this mystery. Then we started writing. We wrote all weekend. We didn’t finish that weekend, but the next time the kids had to leave, we wrote some more. Then we started writing in that story even when the kids weren’t away. It turned into more fun than should be allowed. We laughed, we cackled, we fantasized about murdering those people who bothered us. It was a super long list, hence a series of murders is now planned. (Side note: Don’t make us angry. We’ll fictionalize you and then end you.)
And then we set to work creating and then maiming and killing fictional characters. Like I said. Writing is therapy. Or preparation for a life of crime. Either way. Cathartic.
The book took more than a year–so much for a weekend!– to write, edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite, etc. But we finally finished it. And it was glorious. Today I’m holding this book in my hand and it was worth every second.
Victory was ours!
Writing that book, Inconvenient Murder, saved us from our own personal angst. But it did more than that.
I haven’t even relayed this next part to my co-author. She doesn’t know about the next level of comfort that this book provided for me.
You see, when Amanda and I started this book, in addition to a love of writing and drinking Dr. Pepper, we had another thing in common. Our chosen faith. A few months after we started this
murder *cough* book project, I went a completely different direction in terms of my personal beliefs. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with a religious rant here.
This might not seem like a big deal to some of you, but some of you will know that when a person chooses to walk away from their religion, many people in that faith don’t know what to do with you anymore. Just seeing you around makes them uncomfortable. Often people just melt into the woodwork, not because they are mean and heartless, but because they don’t want to be mean and aren’t sure what to say or do so they say and do nothing. Some of my friends did that. Some of my friends doubled their efforts and went out of their way to make sure I knew I was loved. Some people responded with a “I could never do that” and were obviously so distressed by my choices that even conversing with me on the most casual was too much for them. That’s a whole different book. Someday I’ll write it. When I’m done fictitiously slaying all those who annoy me. So it’s gonna be a bit.
But Amanda did something different than the rest of my friends in that faith. That is to say, she didn’t change anything about our relationship. (There are several friends actually who did that: Summer, Heather, etc. You know who you are but I’m just talking about Amanda right now. Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten you!) I knew my choices didn’t thrill Amanda and worried that my sudden break from something so important would put strain on our co-author status.
But she continued to treat me the same as she always had. And this book helped, I think.
We were able to come together in this place where we shared a common love (and hatred for jackassery) and continue to bond as friends despite our differences. We chose, together, to focus on our similarities rather than obsess about our differences.
All we need is love, right? And fake murder. Obviously.
So, for me, Inconvenient Murder will always have a special place in my heart. It’s the proof that someone loved me unconditionally even when they wanted to punch me and couldn’t understand my choices. It’s likely she’ll write a book someday and name a character Auburn and murder her in a very cruel way. But when she does, I know it will be out of love.
(Fun fact: In our very first solo projects published in 2013, Amanda and I named our villains after each other. My bad guy is Jonas Allen and her bad guy is Dr. Seal. I made her a super evil professor and I wanted to be a doctor at least in make-believe land so she happily obliged.)
We’ve always had an underpinning of evil genius in our work. Well, maybe not the genius, but we sure do try.
There you have it. The gory truth behind the murder of a fictional ex-hushand and how it saved a friendship. Both the fictional one in the book and a real one.
Whoever said violence doesn’t pay, clearly has never been angry before. Or had the inclination to write that shit down. Because it works man. It totally works.
Now, don’t go do something crazy like violence in real life. You’ll only get arrested and then start sending me hate mail. Then I’ll have to put you into a book and murder you in terrible ways. Because I despise hate mail. And real life violence. I mean, honestly, we aren’t animals.
Peace and love, people. Peace and love. Mostly.