How I developed the character of Pegasus Quincy for DEATH in COPPER TOWN

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Death in Copper Town, a Pegasus Quincy MysteryUsually I begin a new novel with setting. In the case of Death in Copper Town I was fascinated with the history of copper mining in Arizona. It started in the late 1800s, but continued until the 1950s, and even now companies are exploring ways to recover yet more minerals from the earth.

Next, I since I was writing a series, I needed to develop characters to people this setting. I wanted to write a police procedural, but one from a feminine viewpoint, and particularly that of a beginner. Enter Pegasus Quincy. I determined she needed to be a beginner,  experiencing all that a cop learns for the first time, unjaded by patrol work in a grungy inner city setting. She had to have a sense of humor and a deep sense of caring for others in her world.

She wouldn’t know a lot about police procedure, since she was young and just out of the police academy; therefore she would view death like most of us do, something that happens out there, to somebody else.

Peg had recently moved from Tennessee to Arizona, trading lush green hills for the sometimes harsh high desert plateau. While she would know copperhead snakes, encountering timber rattlers would be unnerving. Javelinas would be a new experience for her as would dramatic summer monsoon thunderstorms in the southwest.

Oh, and since characters never operate in a vacuum,  let’s give her a grandfather she can’t get along with, and a mother with early dementia, and a boss that rues the day he ever hired her.

Add bright red hair, a stubborn personality, and a six-foot height. Yes, that’ll get her started.

  I’d love to hear from you. Use the box below to leave a comment, and, if you liked this post, please share to your friends using the little share buttons. To see Peg Quincy in action, purchase a copy of the book using the link on the book cover above. Thanks!

 

The sounds of silence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noise is on my mind recently. I’m convinced that we endure too much of it in honor of our existence here on earth.

Sometime it is the raucous chatter of politicians or the screech of advertising pushing aside real words to gain our attention for the mundane. At other times, it may be the scream of fire engines down the street or the roar of the motorcycle taking off.

When this happens too often, we dial down our senses and become numb to our world.

Let me give you an example:

For the past three weeks, city crews have been replacing the sewer lines in front of my house.

And then replacing the water lines and storm drains.

And tearing out the sidewalks with big dozers so that they can be replaced with NEW sidewalks.

When I asked the crew chief how old the sidewalks were they were replacing he replied, “Older than dirt.” I feel a kinship.

Each morning I set the alarm early so that I can dash out and move the car in order for it not to be blocked by the construction. Each day’s construction begins at precisely 7:04am with the beep-beep of yellow machines determined to disintegrate my solitude. Enormous tamper machines vibrate the very foundations of my home.

A blogging friend, Coffee Kat, writes a post about diminished hearing and I can totally relate.

One of my cats hides under the coffee table, seeking asylum from the noise and commotion. The other one sleeps through it all.

Today, though, all was quiet, except for one small bulldozer pushing dirt around aimlessly, like a kid on a playground after everybody goes home. For the first time in weeks, I could hear my refrigerator gurgle. I could catch snippets of my neighbor’s radio playing. A cardinal sang in the tree outside my window. Real sounds, at normal decibel levels. Pure bliss.

Then the noise began again. A man pounded orange stakes in the ground outside my front window to mark where the new sidewalks will be poured. He says the crews will lay the foundations tomorrow, and the cement trucks arrive the day after.

I feel rebellion setting in. I yearn to flee to the tiny Greek island of Budelli, where the caretaker has lived, alone, for 28 years, listening to the sounds of silence. What would that peaceful calm feel like, I wonder?

We need silence in our lives in order to function as human beings. As Wordsworth once wrote,

 …Again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur.—Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.

 

Without silence and solitude, our souls wither and our spirit diminishes. We begin to tune out what is really important to us. We don’t live, we merely walk around.

 

Has this ever happened to you? What was the noisiest situation you’ve ever encountered?

 

I wish you a very quiet day!

 

How do you view the world?

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hatred can’t drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.