Triss Stein's Writing Journey
My second mystery from Poisoned Pen will be out in March and I am working on the third. Now that reads like an ordinary enough sentence, but I can hardly believe I am writing it. My writing career has been so uncareer-like, this all seems like "let's pretend."
I wrote a couple of mysteries that were published by a small publisher in the 1990's. It was, I thought, the small beginning of a career. Then the publisher dropped the mystery line without warning just after I turned in the third book, the one into which I had poured heart and soul. The year then brought turmoil in my day-job life and health life, plus the usual issues of growing-up children. When I was on the other side of all that, I had lost energy, desire and focus for writing. Though I had already started a new book, new character, new series idea, when I forced myself back to it, everything I wrote was awful. Even I was bored with it.
So I stopped. I was retired from writing. It took awhile to admit how much I missed it, and another while to tiptoe back. I finally got out that unfinished book, tossed the terrible second draft, ripped apart the first draft, and started over.
Poisoned Pen Press eventually accepted it and told me they don't publish stand alones, they publish series, and what else did I have planned? Those were the words I had (almost) given up ever hearing. And here I am.
And all of the things I did kind of blindly - stay active in mystery organizations, continue with a critique group, and most of all, keep writing (again) - now make sense.
Erica, the character I created all those years ago, continues to live her overextended life as over-age grad student and youngish single mom, researching Brooklyn history and Brooklyn neighborhoods surprisingly like small towns, and stumbling across crime in the process. Adventure number two, Brooklyn Graves, (hint: there is a famous cemetery involved. Second hint, from the cover: think Tiffany glass) has had some good reviews, and book three, about Brooklyn gangs old and new, is taking shape on the page. All this while an idea for number four is there on the edge of my mind.
Yes, it feels like I made all this up. That's what writers do, after all, make things up. I suppose it would be undignfied, at my age, to jump up and down screaming, or go party till dawn at a bar, but I will be celebrating with a launch party at Mysterious Bookshop in downtown New York. It's March 18. You're all invited!
Triss Stein is a small–town girl from New York state’s dairy country who has spent most of her adult life living and working in New York city. This gives her the useful double vision of a stranger and a resident for writing mysteries about Brooklyn, her ever-fascinating, ever-changing, ever-challenging adopted home. Brooklyn Graves will be out from Poisoned Pen Press in March and is second in the series, after Brooklyn Bones.
Triss is active in both Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and is on the board of the MWA NY chapter. Triss is also the co-chair of Mystery Writers of America/New York chapter library committee.
A brutally murdered friend who was a family man with not an enemy in the world. A box full of charming letters home, written a century ago by an unknown young woman working at the famed Tiffany studios. Historic Green-Wood cemetery, where a decrepit mausoleum with stunning stained glass windows is now off limits, even to a famed art historian.
Suddenly, all of this, from the tragic to the merely eccentric, becomes part of Erica Donato’s life. As if her life is not full enough. She is a youngish single mother of a teen, an oldish history grad student, lowest person on the museum’s totem pole. She doesn’t need more responsibility, but she gets it anyway as secrets start emerging in the most unexpected places.
In Brooklyn Graves a story of old families, old loves and hidden ties merges with new crimes and the true value of art, against the background of the splendid old cemetery and the life of modern Brooklyn.
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Thanks for visiting me today, Triss!