I was pretty far into writing Behind the Lies when I realized it would be a thriller. As a character driven writer, I always start with a personality and play out the quicks and revelations as I develop the character, throwing grenades regularly to test the response. By the time I did realize I had a full-on suspense novel on my hands, I was also alerted to the up-coming Bouchercon conference that was taking place in Minneapolis that Fall of 2022. 

The Twin Cities is known for its rich literary offerings and boasts several indie publishers as well as the Loft Literary Center where I was lucky enough to take classes when I had time to explore the literary world I had long admired. But, I wasn’t aware of this conference until I read about it in Mary Ann Grossmann’s column in the St. Paul Pioneer Press and then a post from William Kent Krueger, a much beloved Minnesota author who had generously blurbed my second novel Finding Grace. Bouchercon® is the annual world mystery convention where every year readers, writers, publishers, editors, agents, booksellers and other lovers of crime fiction gather for a 4-day weekend of community to learn about books from authors who love to write them.

I quickly registered and attended as many sessions as I could. As a life-long aficionado of mysteries, I reveled in the spirit of the event and the surprising opportunity to hear from and meet so many authors. Dennis Lehane, S.A. Cosby, Jess Lourey, William Kent Krueger, Jo Nesbo, Allen Eskins all featured in some way. And, there were readers from all areas of the country who routinely flock to this annual convention held every fall in host cities all over the country.

I loved it. And as luck would have it—Allen Eskins, a wonderful Minnesota writer who also blurbed Finding Grace for me introduced me to Mindy Mejia another Minnesota mystery writer.  After offering to read my book, Mindy later agreed to give it a positive blurb, for which I am forever indebted to her. Of course, I have read her most recent books and highly recommend both—Strike me Down and the recently released To Catch a Storm.

I have met other mystery writers through my publisher, She Writes Press—Laurie Buchanan, Shelley Blanton-Stroud, Anastasia Zadeik, Jody Hadlock, Michelle Cox and other local networks such as the Rain Taxi Book Festival, and Minnesota Mystery Writers Night Out. As a genre I have admired, I feel right at home now. People ask me if I will continue to write in this genre. I’m not sure—my novels are all different, but I always start with a theme—something that troubles me or that I want to explore in fiction. 

My first book, A Better Next, is about health care mergers and the effect of these macro changes on the lives of those who are involved—I chose characters who were on opposite sides of the business amid a domestic crisis to display the effect. My second book, Finding Grace, is based on motherhood choices and who should make them. The theme became more relevant with the controversy over reproductive rights, still raging.

Behind the Lies is my attempt to shine a light on the damage caused by the “fake it till you make it” culture too often found in the business world, with the focus of the action in the complicated biotech industry.

I hope you appreciate the photo I chose for this month’s post. It is my own photo of a performance artist taken at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen when I traveled there this past summer. For me, It epitomizes that “on the edge” feeling that readers should get when enjoying a good thriller.