|I wrote Limestone Wall because, for years, I remembered visiting one of my father’s heart patients in her fine old home on Capitol Avenue, across the street from the Missouri State Penitentiary. Even as a girl I knew there was something ludicrous about drinking hot chocolate and playing canasta with a well-dressed elderly lady whose living room windows looked out on the limestone wall of the prison.
I once wrote a short story, imagining an escaped prisoner from across the street breaking into the old lady’s house and kidnapping my little sister, who, of course, would be rescued by heroic me.
My mother was never incarcerated; I want to make that clear. However, since she died when I was a child, I’ve often wished her back, and so Limestone Wall is a bit of wish fulfillment that turned out to be so interesting I couldn’t stop writing it until I reached the end.
COMING NOVEMBER 1, 2014
|The Scoville novellas were not all written at the same time. Far from it.When my editor at Holland House Books asked if I had any fiction for his mystery imprint, Grey Cells Press, I said, “Not really. Just a little booklet I wrote years ago. I’m really a literary novelist, you know.”
“Send me a copy, anyway,” he said.
“Three Blind Mice” was written so long ago that I had to manually transfer the original Selectric typewritten version onto my hard drive.
“If you write two more novellas with the same characters and setting,” he said, “we’d have a book.”
“Oh, I couldn’t do that,” I said. “It’s been years since I’ve lived in Oregon.”
“Try,” he said.
So I closed my eyes and tried to remember the ocean, the foghorn, the seagulls. Most of all I tried to reestablish my relationships with Detective Scoville and Humboldt Denton. Maggie Denton, too, of course.
It was not difficult. They’re still alive for me.
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|Rebecca’s Road These Rebecca stories follow a road trip I once took. In a sense, Rebecca was my companion. I use the same locations, though many of the details are pure fiction. She came to gradual life after I reported a trial in which the defense attorney, an aging woman (like Rebecca, fifty, red-headed, ungainly, easily rattled) was overpowered by a slick young attorney who I thought was representing a dishonest client.Watching the trial, my sympathy was aroused. The red-headed attorney had trapped herself in a prison of immaturities. Gradually she became Rebecca Quint. Her fictional life, it turns out, touches on some of the ways in which I, too, had trapped myself. When you read my fiction, you are hearing the key turn in the lock.
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|I wrote this novel when I was, like Virginia Johnstone, living in a small fishing village in the Pacific Northwest.
And like Virginia, I had turned my world upside-down and was very busy setting it to rights. My characters often disturb their comfortable worlds.
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