I Can't Write Like Dostoyevsky – so why try?
by Betty McMahon
I'm a pretty good writer and a not-so-bad novelist. But I came close to being neither.
That's because, when I was younger, I compared myself to authors like Dostoyevsky, Pasternak, or Tolstoy (I was in my Russian author phase). When I shoehorned myself into the corporate world, writing eased the discomfort I felt in that atmosphere. No matter what I did in those years – work or recreation – the one constant was writing. Finally, I succumbed to the “calling,” went to University to learn the craft, and carved out a writing career.
I've since learned that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. A variety of genres makes the reading and writing world go 'round. But one of the best things that can happen to a writer is to have her keyboard expel an ingenious turn of phrase, a perfect metaphor or an inspired description. Or watch her characters take on lives of their own.
In my mystery, “A Rendezvous to Die For,” I hope readers will recognize that my crafty computer created some of these inspired phrases, metaphors and descriptions. And that my characters wove a plot that's entertaining – and full of mystery.
I think you'll like Cassandra Cassidy, a jaunty, independent 30-something photographer who gets involved in a murder – that's somehow connected to a couple more. She's inept when it comes to investigating, with photographic skills her main talent. Along the way, this New York-trained photographer has to deal with a cast of possible suspects – from Indians, mountain men, and horse trainers, to real estate shysters, property owners and, yes, even her friends.
They say to write about what you know – and dare I say – my friends think they see Cassandra in the author herself.
Cassandra Cassidy is a professional photographer, who when she is “fed up to her f-stop with wedding gigs looks for opportunities to indulge her passion for “real photography.”” This is how she finds herself at a rendezvous in
, which is an 1830’s period re-enactment of fur traders and American Indians, complete with a tomahawk throwing competition. Sharp as a whip and sassy, Cassandra quickly finds herself involved in a murder from which she is innocent, but through a series of events, becomes the prime suspect. Minnesota
A Rendezvous to Die For, by Betty McMahon is a mystery that takes off with a bang and doesn’t let up until the ending. A single murder leads to more which further complicates the plot line. Filled with enough twists and turns, it will keep you guessing about “who done it” until the last page.
I've worn many hats in my 30-year career as a writer -- newspaper reporter, newspaper editor, magazine editor, copywriter, marketing communications specialist -- and now, finally, author.
Here's what made such a career possible: a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from the
in 1982, and then lots of persistence to make that degree work for me. It had to work because I love writing and couldn't imagine doing anything else. University of Minnesota
A RENDEZVOUS TO DIE FOR grew out of the intersection of my wide-ranging interests and my writing experience. Before spinning this mystery novel, I was an award-winning short story writer, and also won numerous awards in the field of journalism. A RENDEZVOUS TO DIE FOR actually became a finalist in mystery-writing contests.
I love the idea that A RENDEZVOUS TO DIE FOR takes place in a small
town and centers around the fictional Prairie River Trappers' Rendezvous, a weekend reenactment festival involving local citizens and Indians from the nearby reservation. It was a great setup, just asking for a mystery story. Minnesota
I'm still writing (do writers ever stop writing?) and have some scenes sketched out for Cassandra's next adventure.
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