INSPIRATION FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES by Sally Carpenter
Hi, Marilyn, thanks for hosting me again. Always a pleasure to guest on your blog.
Marilyn asked me to share where I got the ideas for my new cozy mystery, “The Quirky Quiz Show Caper,” book four of the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series.
This book wraps up the character arc started in my first book, “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper,” in which 38-year-old former teen idol and TV star Sandy Fairfax began his career comeback and attempts to reunite with his estranged family. In the previous books we met Sandy’s parents, his sister and his ex.
In “Quiz Show,” readers finally encounter Sandy’s brother, Warren, a college professor. Since every member of Sandy’s family is musically inclined, naturally Warren teaches music. The futuristic architecture—it was futuristic when built in the 1960s—of the college buildings is based on the Oral Roberts University campus. I’ve been to ORU. When I was in high school, my church youth group took a mission trip to New Mexico and we stopped for the night in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Some of us visited the campus, although all I remember is seeing the Prayer Tower and sweltering in the high humidity.
Warren also plays the organ for an old art deco theater in Van Nuys. I love theatre organs and have seen/heard at least three in various cities. I also adore old historic theaters and felt one would be a fun place for my characters to romp in.
At the end of the previous book (“The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper”), we learned that the orchestra founded and directed by Sandy’s father is facing bankruptcy. In “Quiz Show,” the family is planning a gala fundraiser. I live in an area where high-priced benefits for various worthy causes take place weekly. These events have the same features: cocktails, dinner, silent and live actions, casino games and sometimes a celebrity performance. My gala is black tie attire, mainly because Sandy looks sharp in a tuxedo (he looks good in anything, really), even though he doesn’t like wearing one.
I originally planned to title the book “The Bloody Black Tie Gala Caper” but the fundraiser itself only lasted one night and wasn’t enough for a 200-page book. I had to give Sandy something else to do. In the previous books he had given concerts and acted on a TV sitcom. I don’t like repetition so he needed something new to do.
“Hollywood Squares” came to mind. Many actors have appeared on that show over the years. With Sandy’s charm and quick wit, he’d be a natural. However, due to copyright issues I couldn’t use “Squares” so I created my own cheesy game show, “Raise The Stakes.”
About the time I began writing this book I re-watched the movie “Quiz Show.” Yes, you’re right, from that I got the idea that the games on “RTS” were not completely honest. What does Sandy do when the show’s producer orders him to take a dive live on national TV? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
“The Quirky Quiz Show Caper” is available in print and ebook from Cozy Cat Press on Amazon.com.
Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif.
She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. While in school her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition.
Carpenter also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do.
She’s worked as an actress, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain, and tour guide/page for Paramount Pictures. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.
In her Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series are: “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper” (2012 Eureka! Award finalist for best first mystery novel), “The Sinister Sitcom Caper,” “The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper” and “The Quirky Quiz Show Caper.”
She has short stories in two anthologies: “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in” in “Last Exit to Murder” and “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” in “Plan B: Omnibus.”
She penned chapter three of “Chasing the Codex,” a group mystery written by 34 authors with Cozy Cat Press.”
She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles. Reach her at Facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org.