Making Some Tough Decisions by Nancy Raven Smith

Hi Marilyn. It’s a pleasure to be invited to Marilyn’s Musings. Thank you for having me. This is my debut blog participation so I'm very excited to be here.

By way of introduction to your readers, I’m also a debut author with my first book coming out this month (December 2015). Previously, I have written eight or nine (I’ve lost count) screenplays. I thought I might discuss a bit about how the protagonist in my book, Land Sharks - A Swindle In Sumatra was evolved.

When I began writing, I knew that I wanted to write a series involving the common frauds that plague people in their daily lives. For example, everyone knows people who have been hit by identity fraud or phishing messages in our email. Some of us have even been hacked. I felt it was a rich area to include in mysteries. It could even introduce readers to some frauds they are unaware of and learn ways to protect themselves.

I also knew I wanted a female protagonist. I named her Alexis Winslow. Lexi for short. That was the easy part. Then I had to decide if she would be in professional law enforcement, a private eye, or an amateur. This choice took me a lot of time to make. While I know a lot about fraud, I know nothing of the real day-to-day lives of our professional law enforcers such as the police, the FBI, or the Secret Service. Against using these was the fact that I wanted Lexi to be able to work internationally and fairly independently. The CIA or the Secret Service might work, but I wasn't envisioning Lexi as a female James Bond. More like a normal woman in unusual circumstances.

That made me lean toward her being an amateur, but that too had problems. In reality, it's hard to imagine an amateur who would really be frequently exposed to crime. Coming up with her day job took some serious thinking.

In the end, I back-tracked and started with the question, what are frauds after? In most cases it's money. That lead me to the question of where does the money come from? Usually insurance companies, hacking, credit cards, property theft, banks, etc. An insurance agent might work, but I settled on banks. I had discovered that banks have fraud departments when I was hit by a check thief several years ago.

Lexi working in a fraud department for a bank was the answer for me. Even her department was named for frauds. I also went a bit further and made her a forensic accountant. That made it possible for her to question irregularities she comes across. To give her some self defense and awareness, I added to her background that she had attended the LA police academy and graduated before deciding it wasn't the life she wanted.

The next item to decide was where was her bank located? Not a chain bank, too much oversight, but a small independent bank. The wealthy are huge targets for con artists, so I wanted to choose a wealthy city where there was a large, well-to-do clientele. My first thought was New York. I passed on that because even though I visited there often as a child to see relatives, I'm not that familiar with it. Ditto for Miami. San Francisco was a possibility, but since I live just outside Beverly Hills, I picked it for Lexi's bank.

So Lexi Winslow works in a small, privately owned bank in Beverly Hills as a forensic accountant in the fraud department.

One thing I'd like to leave you with. At the top of the list of things I learned through research is that well-to-do is a relative term. If you have a part-time job or a savings account, no matter how small, or even own a credit card, a house, or a car, you can be a target of swindlers. If all you have is access to a company that handles goods and cash, you can be a target.

LAND SHARKS - A SWINDLE IN SUMATRA - An Amazon/Kindle Scout Program Selection

A young heiress has disappeared in Sumatra with a mysterious new boyfriend. Her father fears she may have been kidnapped.

An American bank fraud investigator goes undercover to find the answer. The investigator's job might be easier if she didn't have to contend with her boss's untrained son who has a crush on her and the unexpected appearance of an ex-boyfriend/con man who has his own secret agenda - one which will definitely conflict with hers.

Breaking News! - Land Sharks - A Swindle in Sumatra goes on presale on Amazon on Dec 7, 2015 - both print and ebook.
 - Goes on sale on Dec 22, 2015.

NANCY RAVEN SMITH grew up in Virginia where she ran horse sport events. On her farm, she rescued race horses, dogs and cats and is an advocate for animal rescue. Later in California, she traded her event experience for film work. Her screenplays have won numerous major awards. Raven Smith decided to write one idea as a novel and discovered a passion for writing mysteries. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Women in Film, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America.


GBPool said…
What an interesting journey to discover your main character's job. It makes her role plausible and the story believable. All the best with your book.
Nancy Raven Smith said…
Thank you for your nice comment. I find developing characters hard work.

Nancy Raven Smith

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