Okay, So Maybe it was Watching Detective Shows Too

TV SetFunny the things that inspire us as writers. Back in December, 2012, I posted about how many years of watching soap operas has influenced my writing. (Blame It On Too Many Soap Operas and My Misspent Youth.) Yes, growing up in the golden age of television had an effect on me, but it wasn’t just watching the soaps. I watched a lot of detective shows too. I was even reminiscing about it the other day with a friend.

As a teen and young adult, I loved watching Columbo and the original Hawaii Five-O. Both shows were very well written, and even though both used formula writing, the scrips were still good enough to keep me coming back week after week. And, unlike detective shows of today, there were no overtly graphic images. No bodies laid out on the autopsy table. No gory, mutilated or half burned corpses appearing on camera. Good writing doesn’t need that kind of visual imagery. Facial expressions or comments made by other characters will tell us what we need to know, and our imaginations can do the rest–probably better than the guy who designed that fake corpse.

What made Columbo great was the bumbling title character, brilliantly portrayed by the late Peter Falk, along with all the bad guys who thought they could outsmart him. What made the show fun was the way Lt. Columbo solved the crime by seizing on some obscure, overlooked detail that even surprised the audience. And along with spectacular scenery, Hawaii Five-O also had well thought out plot lines. While the characters may have been as well developed as Lt. Columbo, there was one unforgettable nemeses named Wo Fat. Kudos to the script writers of both.

Crime stories make for great drama as they create the ultimate conflict. That’s why I’ve always included crime subplots in my novels. Whether it’s Gillian’s murderous ex-husband on a rampage in The Reunion, Scott’s jilted wife’s twisted scheming in The Deception, or the revenge seeking Denise wreaking havoc in The Journey, these crime subplots create the tension, and the drama, that keeps you turning the pages. Look for more in my next novel, The Betrayal. Until then, happy reading. (And by the way, you can rent old episodes of Columbo and Hawaii Five-O from Netflix.)

MM

Meet Allison Santiago, Supporting Character from THE DECEPTION

Allison Photo
Photo by CanStockPhoto.com

One of the readers reviewing The Deception┬ácommented about how we should all be so lucky to have friends like Steve and Allison, two of the supporting characters. Well, guess what? I really do have friends who are just like Steve and Allison, that’s why I’m paying homage to them in the book.

Allison Santiago has known Carrie Daniels, the leading lady, since high school, and their friendship has lasted into adulthood. That friendship, however, will be soon put to the test when Allison introduces Carrie to Scott, a man she’s also known for several years. Allison thinks he might be a good match for Carrie, who’s recently ended a long-term relationship. But unbeknownst to Allison, Scott has a secret, and it could be Carrie’s undoing.

Allison was inspired by several of my friends, but she resembles one woman in particular. The two of us have literally traveled the world together, and, much like her literary counterpart as she’s been a steadfastly loyal friend for over ten years now, and she’s someone I can always count on. Friends like her may be hard to find, but they really are out there.

MM