The Write Stuff: A Suspense Author’s Work Place, by Jamie Cortland

My recent novel, “What Lies Within” was written in several different states, but in each case, my workplace was similar. Beginning in Paradise Valley, Arizona, my workplace was a small area in a condo that I had rented for several weeks. I worked at a kitchen table there with my laptop and printer taking up one side of the table. Pencils and a couple of reference books surrounded me along with flowers which sat in a vase in the center of the table. My view, if I chose to glance up was of Camelback Mountain.

Once I completed my work in this setting, I traveled along with my work in progress to a small cottage on the Gulf of Mexico in Nokomis, Fl. Once there, I set up my work space at a built in desk between a wall of bookcases. The room, paneled with white pine, had a cozy brick fireplace, another wall of bookcases and a sliding glass door that provided a forever gorgeous view of the sea.

I set my laptop and printer up, stored my paper, and arranged my pictures; pictures of the heroine, the  hero’ and the villain. Next to the villian’s photo, I set his cologne down. It was a a familiar scent;  one that I was familiar with that made me shiver each time I caught wind of the scent. (It was that of someone who had once stalked me from one end of the U.S. to the other.)

Finally, I went to work the next day after a shower and breakfast. It was early 7:00 am. I worked until 1:00 pm.; had lunch and took a break or should I say a walk on the beach. Around 3:00, I went back to my work in progress for a couple of hours. (I don’t keep this pace every day, but if I have a deadline, I do.)

Sometimes, when I write a book, odd things happen. “What Lies Within” was no exception. I began to have knocking at my bedroom windows; then break ins; always through the garage door, leading to the kitchen.  I installed a burglar alarm.

That didn’t help. Finally, the culprit broke in late at night. The alarm didn’t go off, but I heard something that woke me up. I locked my bedroom door and called security who arrived just minutes later, along with dogs. I had a pistol then, but the officers had warned me to put it up; that the burglar could very well take it from me and use it against me which he probably would have.

When you read Chapter 22 of my novel, you will know I did my research for this book well. The end result of my break-in was that the culprit escaped. He was never caught. The officers did not believe he was there to rob me. They believed that he had plans for me. I moved shortly after to an apartment in a nearby town.

I’m working on a new suspense novel now. We’ll see what happens on this journey. Maybe I’ll throw in a few ghosts. I’m not afraid of ghosts.

About the Author
WeslynnMcJamieCortlandWeslynn McCallister, pseudonym, Jamie Cortland was born in Evansville, Indiana and raised in Roswell, New Mexico. Today, she lives in the southwest.

A published novelist and an award winning poet, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Mystery Writers of America, and is a founding member of the Florida Writers Association.

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