The month of August at my blog is all about where writers write. During these next thirty-one days, I’ll be featuring those wonderful places where your favourite authors create their works of fiction (besides the usual blog posts). Today, I have Carol A Guy in the interview chair. We’re discussing her special writing spot.
1. Why did you choose this particular writing spot to draft your novel?
Carol: Really I didn’t have much choice. I live in a one-bedroom apartment so the bedroom was the logical place. It’s quiet, since it is at the back of the apartment.
2. Share a story (funny or serious) that occurred at your favourite writing spot.
Carol: Like I said, my writing space is quiet. That is essential for me most of the time. But if I’m trying to devise a murder or a climactic final scene for a book I sometimes get up and move around and “talk it out” as I’m pacing. At times I can get a little emotional as I begin to see that scene play out in my mind. I have two cats, who are usually very quiet. On one of those days when I was pacing and plotting, all of a sudden they came running into the room and began chasing each other around. Just like a bolt out of the blue, I realized that a chase scene was what the book needed. Check out Dig Two Graves…it’s in there.
3. Can you only write at this certain spot? Or is there another place that you like to write?
Carol: I get ideas just about anywhere, but I stick to my writing spot when it is time to get down to business.
4. How about the atmosphere. Do you need certain lighting, perhaps music, or silence? Do you lock the door to keep out the kids? Share what goes on while you’re writing.
Carol: No music. I like quiet. I have certain memorabilia on the wall in front of my desk…an oil painting my son did in high school, a photo I took when I worked for a newspaper in Myrtle Beach (that photo later got published in a magazine also) and in an easy chair beside my desk is a stuffed Koala bear given to me by a friend who passed away a few years ago. Also on the wall hanging hear the ceiling (not visible in the picture of my work space) is a black feather fan-dancer’s fan. But, that’s a story for another time. Let’s just say that I like to surround myself with things that mean something to me.
Revenge is a dish best never served at all.
Blurb: Crescent Fall’s most famous amateur sleuth, Adelaide McBride, is shocked to spot wanted criminal Ed Lucas. Adelaide and her beaux Vernon are in Columbus on a pleasure trip when she spies Lucas, in disguise and working as a security guard. Naturally, she informs her son, Chief of Police Daniel McBride, and Daniel is not happy at this development.
Drama seems to abound within the Crescent Falls police department. Officer Sharon Baker has apparently set her cap for Second-in-Command, Luke Fagan, to the consternation of Luke’s wife, Betty, who is also Adelaide’s best friend. It’s bad enough Betty is suffering from MS without this added stress. The idea that Ed Lucas might be back in town is unsettling to many people, many of whom he has wronged. Local reporter Gary Bowman’s continual nosing around has people on edge, considering many think him to be nothing more than a tabloid journalist trying to profit from their misery.
Everyone is jumpy, especially as accidents begin to happen to some of the citizens of Crescent Falls. Fingers are pointing everywhere, and no one knows who to trust. Daniel has his hands full. He needs more police officers, but that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. Can he take care of the current situation before the whole town explodes?
Daniel was more than a little disturbed by his mother’s phone message. Ed Lucas. In Columbus? Under another name? I wonder why he didn’t leave the state…or even the country?
His call to Secure Initiatives netted him several mechanical clicks in his ear before he heard a male voice tinged with impatience say hello.
“Is this Secure Initiatives?”
“Yeah. Who’s this?” The tone was abrupt, the voice a deep baritone.
Someone was having a bad day. “This is Daniel McBride, chief of police in Crescent Falls. Who am I speaking to?”
A heavy sigh came over the line, then, “Sorry. The office phones are forwarding to my cell today, since it’s Saturday. What can I do for you…Chief McBride, is it? I’m Judd Claven, the owner.”
“You have an employee named Todd Bishop, is that correct?”
After several seconds, Claven replied, “We do. What is this about?”
“How long has he been employed by you, Mr. Claven?”
“Since March of this year. Again, Chief McBride, I’d like to know what this is about.”
Daniel decided to be evasive for now. “His name came up during an investigation.”
“What kind of…investigation?” Claven’s tone now had a harder edge.
“I’m not at liberty to say. It would help us a lot, though, if you could send me a copy of his personnel file.” Daniel knew in all likelihood this wouldn’t fly, but he had to try.
A laugh that sounded more like a snort reached his ear. “Not a chance without a warrant. You got a warrant?”
“Are you aware that Todd Bishop didn’t show up for his shift at the Columbus Arts Festival today?”
“How did you know—”
“How extensive was your background check on this employee, Mr. Claven? After all, you are a security firm.” Maybe needling him would work.
“My HR director handles that. Besides, our hiring practices are none of your business. Are we finished?”
Daniel took a calming breath. “No. Tell me, Mr. Claven, does the name Ed Lucas mean anything to you?”
Again a few seconds of silence before Claven said, “Never heard of him. If you get that warrant to examine our personnel files, Chief, let me know.”
Before Daniel could reply or argue further, the line went dead. He logged onto the computer in the squad room and did a search for Secure Initiatives. He found lots of information, but nothing that indicated there was anything hinky about the company. In fact, for a fairly new security firm, in existence only since 2015, the business seemed to be gaining a decent reputation. He Googled Judd Claven and found he had Twitter and Facebook accounts. He ran him through the system, but only found three paid parking tickets, all received in Columbus. Nothing jumped out that said criminal. Yet the man’s nervousness was almost palpable, even over the phone.
Now that Judd Claven had completely aroused his suspicions because of his uncooperative attitude, Daniel ran the name Todd Bishop through the system but found nothing of interest. A check of the motor vehicles department netted a copy of Bishop’s driver’s license. He studied the photo carefully. Bishop’s hair was black, his eyes green. A neatly trimmed mustache and goatee covered the lower part of his face. However, in spite of the clever disguise, there was no doubt in Daniel’s mind. “It’s him.”
Now armed with Bishop’s address from the driver’s license, Daniel called the Columbus Police Department, where he spoke with Sergeant Kim Macy. As succinctly as possible he told her what had transpired yesterday when his mother spotted Ed Lucas posing as a security guard named Todd Bishop, and this morning during his phone call to Secure Initiatives. “Lucas is a former Crescent Falls cop, wanted here on drug charges among other things.”
“I’m in our system…I see the BOLO you sent out a few months ago. Looks like you had a real bad apple in your barrel, Chief McBride. We’ll investigate at this end, starting with the security company. We’ll check out his address, too. Although, since you say he didn’t show up at work today, he could have skipped again. I’ll get back to you.”
An hour and a half later, Daniel received a call from Sergeant Macy that brought disappointing yet not unexpected news. “We did a welfare check, since we didn’t have a warrant to enter the premises. Seems we didn’t need it. The door was unlocked. He’s flown the coop. Place looked like he left in a hurry. Most of his clothing and other personal items were gone. He did leave behind a driver’s license and Social Security card in the name of Todd Bishop though, along with his Secure Initiatives ID badge. Sorry, Chief McBride. Oh, and the car registered in his name was still in the parking lot. It’s a Ford Mustang, and it’s now in our impound lot.”
“He had a Chevy Camaro when he lived here. He no doubt ditched the Camaro somewhere when he fled Crescent Falls.”
“Well, he’s left the Mustang behind here, so we have no idea what he’s driving now or what identity he’s taken on. We’ll update the BOLO and process the apartment. I take it you put his prints in AFIS once he became a fugitive?”
“Yes. They’re in there. Which makes me wonder how he got hired by a security company. He got a new identity, but fingerprints don’t lie.”
“We’ll be looking into that also, believe me. I’ll keep you posted.”
Daniel thanked the officer for her help and hung up. He banged his fist on his desk. Bastard! He’s rubbing our noses in it. Leaving the door unlocked…he knew we’d come looking for him. With his wide circle of criminal friends, he could have dozens of fake identities at his disposal. He stood and paced around the office, his blood boiling with anger.
He decided to call Joe and Fay Lucas, Ed’s parents. They’d once lived on Birch Avenue, but had moved to Sarasota, Florida a couple of years ago. Their phone number was in Ed’s personnel file as an emergency contact. Joe answered the phone and told Daniel quite tersely that they hadn’t heard from their son since he disappeared. “And we don’t expect to,” the man said before hanging up on Daniel. Ed’s older sister, Wanda, had left Crescent Falls several years ago and now lived in California. He knew for a fact that Ed and Wanda were never close, so he doubted seriously if he’d been in touch with her, but since her number was also in the file, he called. She, like her parents, told him she hadn’t spoken to Ed in a long time. “So, what kind of trouble is he in now?” she asked. Daniel simply thanked her for her time and hung up.
At shift change, Daniel called all of his officers together and told them about Ed Lucas. “We need to be on the lookout. He’s flown the coop in Columbus and left his new identity behind. Neither his parents nor his sister have heard from him. We can’t be sure where he’s headed next, but I wouldn’t be surprised at anything he does.”
Officer Judy Hess, whose day shift had just ended, followed Daniel into his office after he sent the others on their way.
As always, when he looked at her, he felt a pang of regret for what might have been. She was petite, with short red hair and eyes the color of emeralds. His attraction to her, and hers to him, was undeniable, but forbidden for obvious reasons.
Daniel sat down behind his desk. Her very presence caused his pulse to quicken. Best to put some distance and a barrier between us.
“Do you really think he’s coming our way?” Judy asked. She stood on the other side of the desk.
Daniel sighed. “I wouldn’t put it past him. We don’t want to get caught with our pants down…” He stopped as he felt his cheeks heat up.
Judy threw him an impish grin. “No, that wouldn’t be good…having our pants down.”
Daniel’s throat felt dry as the desert. “You know what I mean,” he said in a raspy voice.
Judy studied him for a moment, turned and left the office.
Daniel swiveled his chair and gazed out the window into the parking lot behind the building. He watched as Judy hurried toward her black Nissan and got inside. She moved with fluid grace, her body taut and filled with energy. He often fantasized about knocking on the door of the cottage she rented on Acorn Avenue and telling her how he really felt about her. But he knew he couldn’t. He was the chief of police and she was his subordinate. A romantic entanglement between them was strictly forbidden.
Carol A Guy is a former newspaper reporter who has had her work published in The Ladies’ Home Journal, The Fiction Primer, OfficePro Magazine and Tacenda Magazine. She is also the published author of 18 mystery novels and one true crime book. She makes her home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida