You are all invited to a virtual brunch, to meet with authors you might never hear about. Today’s nosh will be store bought but next week we’ll have more time to plan, and I can post the recipe on Tuesdays. For now it will be carb free, but I can promise a LOT of yummy flavors.
Our guest this week is mystery writer Ryder Islington, who will be sharing her story of growing up writing, and the support she had from her wonderful husband. I forgot to ask if she wants coffee or tea, so we’ll be sipping hot cocoa today. Enjoy! Mona
Doesn’t just make you crazy when a child get a case of the ‘whys’? It’s just one question after the other. I wasn’t allowed to do that as a child, at least not out loud. But I did crave knowledge and saw everything as a mystery.
Alas, life took its time teaching me that I could be a writer. And then it took some more time to teach me I could solve mysteries. Putting the two together took a lot more than just knowledge.
As a child, I loved to write and draw, but by the time I was a teen, there had been too much loss. I was brainwashed into believing I would never be anything, that I would never do anything. I had given up all those fanciful dreams and resigned myself to the perpetual cycle of marriage and children and staying home, powerless and unhappy.
Then I met someone who heard me speak a dream out loud. He drove me to the local college and walked me in to register. I was shaking in my boots, giving every excuse there could be for why this wouldn’t work. But he patiently led me to financial aid and to the counselor’s office.
I couldn’t believe it. They were going to find out I was just a poor, dumb girl and kick me out. That first quarter, I took English 101, where I was required to write essays and short stories. I took all of the classes they’d let me take in one quarter. I loved learning. And when that first report card came and I got straight A’s, landing on the Dean’s list, I was totally shocked. I actually had a brain! I devoured knowledge, but my imagination had gotten lost. I used the knowledge in the real world, going on to the University, and law school, and into law enforcement.
Years passed during which I learned forensics, and met every kind of criminal. When I left the department for a job that was a lot easier on my body, I found that there were times when I had nothing to do. By this time I had met a woman who became my best friend. She was a reader and reminded me of how much I loved to read and write as a kid. She and I started our own book club, and my imagination was ignited.
A month later I told my husband (that wonderful man who took me to college) that if I had a laptop, I thought maybe I could write. That week a man walked into the office where I worked and said he had a used laptop for sale. As soon as my hubby heard about it, he pulled out his savings and gave it to me.
It took another four years before I put the obvious together. I had an education and experience in criminal justice, yet I tried to write everything but. When I stumbled onto the idea of actually writing what I really knew, it was like one of Oprah’s light bulb moments. Hey, I never said I was smart.
My debut novel, Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, took me a few years. Now I’m working on book two in the series, and my imagination has gone wild.
Now that I’ve found my place, I’ve learned so much about the art of writing, that I feel I can write in other genres and do well. All those stories I’ve held back on, I can now give voice to. Of course, they will have to wait until I get the Trey Fontaine Mysteries up and running. But stay tuned. Other authors learn to write two books a year, or more, and in different genres. I just have to get my process streamlined and then I’ll be ready to tackle those characters running around in my head. At least I hope they’re just characters.
Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery is receiving rave reviews from readers. http://www.ll-publications.com/ultimatejustice.html
The small town of Raven Bayou, Louisiana explodes as old money meets racial tension, and tortured children turn the table on abusive men. FBI Special Agent Trey Fontaine returns home to find the town turned upside down with mutilated bodies. Working with local homicide detectives, Trey is determined to get to the truth. A believer in empirical evidence, Trey ignores his instincts until he stares into the face of the impossible, and has to choose between what he wants to believe and the ugly truth.
A graduate of the University of California and former officer for a large sheriff’s department, RYDER ISLINGTON is now retired and doing what she loves: reading, writing, and gardening. She lives in Louisiana with her family, including a very large English Chocolate Lab, a very small Chinese pug, and a houseful of demanding cats. She can be contacted at RyderIslington@yahoo.com or visit her blog at http://ryderislington.wordpress.com