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!

 

Water Moods

sky-clouds

 

 

 

 

 

 

I often visit Oak Creek Canyon in the summer to dip my feet in the creek at Ensinoso Falls. Because Oak Creek is spring fed, its waters are always breath-stoppingly cold, a welcome refreshment on a summer’s day!

This year because of the Slide Fire, all of Oak Creek Canyon is closed to visitors, so I drove to the East Verde Valley to encounter Wet Beaver Creek instead.

When I arrived the park was deserted. The camp host was nowhere to be seen. Even his hammock was empty!

host-home

The camp cat gave me a sniff before she deserted me for better pickings elsewhere.

camp-cat

As I walked down to the Creek, I spotted first one abandoned sock:

one-sock

Then two more, nestled like wooly caterpillars among the rocks:

two-socks

The sound of water roaring, roaring, roaring, told me why no one was sun-bathing today:

swirling-water

The heavy monsoons upstream had caused high waters, swiftly running, muddy, churning. No swimming today in the floods:

branch-in-water

The currents pushed against logs, turning them over in its eagerness to move forward, and the water knife-edged into white water:

edge-of-water

Where the water eddied, it created not ponds for wading, but entire lakes:

lake

In side pools, the shadows reflected in water holding its breath for a moment:

reflecting-pool

And in one special place the foam had created a pattern as clear as a thumb print:

thumb-print

If you visit a place with expectations, you may be disappointed.

If you visit with an open mind, the world can be full of surprises.

Change of scene

sunflowers

I have been working hard all week, packing boxes for the local Humane Society thrift shop. My sister suggested weekends were for fun, too, so yesterday I drove north to visit the sunflowers of Northern Arizona.

These sunflowers provide  stability for me. For fifty years, they have always bloomed out on Fort Valley Road north of Flagstaff. Every fall, fields and fields of sunflowers framing the mountains in the distance, under the monsoon clouds.

Perhaps someday these fields will give way to the growth of the town northward, but right now, this instant, as they have for the past half-century, they provide beauty that is without price and at the same time, totally free for the taking.

Gifts abide all around us, if we just look for them.