Ah, the mind of a mystery writer. Always contemplating the simpler things in life, like car chases, explosions, and murder.
Mystery, thriller, and suspense writers also come up with some pretty darn good characters and settings.
For me, there’s nothing better than to open a book and instantly feel as if I’ve been transported to another world, and I want the character’s emotions and senses to take me there. I want the black murky waters of James Lee Burke’s Louisiana swamps to fill my gut with a sense of foreboding. I want to smell the humid southern air after a crab boil. Those things are important to me as a reader, and they’re even more important to me as a writer. I want readers to see, feel, taste, and hear what I write.
As a reader I also pay a lot of attention to the names assigned to fictional characters and locations. Not only do they give us a bit of insight about the personality of the characters and locations, they also tell us a little bit about the author. Like the town names Hope and Despair that Lee Child used in his book Nothing To Lose. The road leading to Hope was fresh, new, and smooth ( as smooth as the author). The road to Despair was in disrepair, filled with potholes, and was totally worn out. Using those two simple words (Hope and Despair) was brilliant. Lee typed eleven letters and told us a story about two towns that some writers couldn’t have achieved in a dozen pages.
Now, speaking of appropriate names for towns in crime novels…how about the name in the photo above—Kilkenny Marina? Wouldn’t it be a great place to set a story? I suppose we’d need a few facts, first. Like, who’s Kenny? And why do the folks at the marina want to kill him? What exactly does one fish for at Kill Kenny (a tiny letter switch)? Hmm…and what exactly is the bait you’d use…pieces of Kenny?
Anyway, my wife and I stumbled across this little jewel of a place this week while exploring the back roads near Savannah. Instead of hanging a right onto Belle Island Road in Richmond Hill (south of Savannah) I kept straight, and this is the little slice of heaven we saw after passing through the opening in a stand of massive live oaks.
Who says you have to die to see the light at the end of the tunnel? Just visit Kilkenny Marina a few minutes before sunset and this is what you’ll see on your way out.