Mystery We Write Blog Tour: TECHNOLOGY, GADGETS, AND TRICKS OF THE TRADE
by Sharon Ervin
My private pilot’s license was brand new when a friend crashed in a forest in southeastern Oklahoma. Searchers on foot and horseback tracked the weak signal from the plane’s transponder to locate her. Critically injured, she died leaving a husband and three young daughters.
Weeks later, a commercial pilot crashed a small plane, again into heavy woods. The transponder’s signal was weak, then gone. The search lasted days before the wreckage was located and the bodies of the pilot and our congressman’s two teenaged children recovered.
Those incidents prompted much grief long before they stimulated book ideas.
I wondered if tiny devices similar to those airplane transponders might be in our future.
AFTERMATH, my eighth published novel, began there.
Of course, such devices are now available in dog collars, children’s jewelry, and even implanted. Our heroine’s interest preceded that technology.
In AFTERMATH, Anna Fulenweider, a gutsy newspaper reporter, was investigating the development of an ingenious family of personal tracking devices when she vanished. Design engineer Joe Marsh, five hundred miles way, had done telephone interviews with Ann and had even sent her a prototype of his device. When he learned she was missing, Joe activated a satellite tracer on the prototype in her purse, enabling local law enforcement to precipitate her rescue. The book begins six weeks after Anna is recovered, cowed and dispirited by her ordeal, and refusing to talk about it with anyone.
The local plane crashes rocked our community and me, personally. Eventually, however, their significance produced many scenes and plots and characters.
In a writers’ workshop one time, the lecturer suggested we write our worst nightmares.
One amazing writer in our local critique group complained that her ideas had dried up. The next meeting, I brought a couple of news articles, one entitled Wife for a Weekend. That was the one we selected as a group assignment. Poets, novelists, essayists, romance writers would all write something on the topic for our next meeting, in two weeks.
The “dry member” wrote an excellent, macabre short story of a bride who endured her first weekend of marriage on a cruise ship, then took action. The author is a lovely lady who normally writes light, entertaining commentaries like Erma Bombeck. When she finished reading her assigned piece, we were stunned to silence. It was sweet Mary Shelley creating Frankenstein all over again.
True to the assigned theme, another writer penned a whimsical poem, another did a confession, another a story of a military wife allowed only one weekend of marriage before deployment, etc.
That week I wrote the first three chapters of WEEKEND WIFE, my fourth published novel.
I do not believe in writer’s block or being “dry.” Writers have a responsibility to bolster one another. We all know little methods to get another off high center. Sharing is good.
ABOUT SHARON ERVIN
Sooner born, Sharon Ervin has a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. Once a newspaper reporter, she now works in her husband and son’s law office half-days, gleaning material for her nine published novels. She is married to McAlester, Oklahoma attorney Bill Ervin and has four grown children.
Website address: sharonervin.com
Blog address: sharonervin.wordpress.com
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