Plotting Counterfeit Conspiracies
Counterfeit Conspiracies by Ritter Ames
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
I am so thrilled to have Ritter Ames visit and talk about her writing process. Is she a plotter? A get-it-all-down-then-worry-later kind of writer? Read on then comment about your writing process!
How I Write My Bodies of Art Mysteries By Ritter Ames
When it comes to plotting books in my Bodies of Art Mysteries series, I’m more plotter than pantser. I can segue a bit when the characters start leading me in a different direction than I’d first planned, but staying true to the story arc of the series is so critical I have a series “map” to keep me always moving toward the next goal.
The first thing I do when I begin a new novel is spend several days scrawling into a notebook about all the things I need to do in this next book. Double checking against my series “map” to make sure I don’t miss anything that needs to hit in this particular book. Like I’m having coffee with the page and telling it all the stuff that’s going to happen to my characters: where they’re going, what they’re going to do and why. I cover all the major bases—beginning, middle, and end—and have an idea regarding most of the detours that will likely crop up in between. The first two books in my Bodies of Art Mysteries were released by Henery Press this month. In this series my characters lead readers (and the author) on a merry chase through fabulous European capitals, and well-known art world locales. Everything is written in the viewpoint of art recovery expert Laurel Beacham, but mystery man Jack Hawkes is paramount for the fun and success of every adventure. And in the style of the television show Castle, or any of the early Cary Grant movies, my main characters’ stock in trade is witty dialogue and iron nerve, as well as the ability to pull each other’s backsides from the fire in more than a few challenging incidents. Laurel’s goal is to always recover the missing art masterpiece ahead of Jack, and Jack’s is to finally get the upper hand over Laurel. It’s fabulous fun to see where their verbal sparring and quick instincts take them in every book.
Since I have to know art, art history, European locations, gala events, and all means of transportation—oh, and how the characters can escape when they run afoul of the bad guys—I do a LOT of research. That doesn’t mean everything gets into the books, but the research helps me make sure all the highpoints are hit. This little tray of note cards stays on my desk at all times. Each day, I scatter note cards all around my desk and in grouping on the floor, but each night they’re tucked safely back into their little ceramic tray. The little paper soldiers seen here are what was left of the Book #3 note cards after I’d already ‘processed’ nearly thirty cards. While each book is written as a standalone, all are part of an over-arcing series, so I must constantly think about both the last book and the next book as I work on the current manuscript. If not, I run the risk of either plotting myself into a corner in a later book, or missing an opportunity to tie up loose ends properly. Because of that, I have lots and lots of series notes.
This picture shows my Bodies of Art files to date. The messy pages at the top are what I’ve pulled to work with for just the current week. These include web pages of places and art to include at some point, drafts of scenes to use in the current or an upcoming manuscript, character sketches, backstories for all characters—even walk on parts—in case my memory needs refreshed later. I also keep a “series bible” that gets added to constantly. This keeps me from having to reread previous books when I forget a secondary character’s last name, what color I made someone’s eyes, characters’ ages, or even someone’s job.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Editing Pen & Publishing for inviting me here today. Writing this series is a blast—research and all—and readers are telling me they’re having a blast reading it. I always welcome an opportunity to talk about Laurel Beacham and her crew. Happy reading, everyone!
Thank you, Ritter, for visiting ePen! Here is a peek at the story:
Synopsis of Counterfeit Conspiracies:
Laurel Beacham may have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she has long since lost it digging herself out of trouble. Her father gambled and womanized his way through the family fortune before skiing off an Alp, leaving her with more tarnish than trust fund. Quick wits and connections have gained her a reputation as one of the world’s premier art recovery experts. The police may catch the thief, but she reclaims the missing masterpieces. The latest assignment, however, may be her undoing. Using every ounce of luck and larceny she possesses, Laurel must locate a priceless art icon and rescue a co-worker (and ex-lover) from a master criminal, all the while matching wits with a charming new nemesis. Unfortunately, he seems to know where the bodies are buried—and she prefers hers isn’t next.
About the Author:
Ritter Ames is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Organized Mysteries series and the Bodies of Art Mysteries series. When she’s not writing or brainstorming new mysteries Ritter is usually trying to get her favorite yellow lab to stay out of the pond, or keep her grouchy black cat from trying to give the dog away on Freecycle. Ritter would love to live on a boat and write from far flung locations around the globe, but the dog would constantly have to be fished from the water, and her husband and cat would just complain endlessly about the dog’s smell, so staying on land seems to be the only good option to keep her sanity and not get sidetracked from writing.
Ritter tries to blog regularly at http://ritterames.com/ and subscribe there to get the latest news about upcoming releases, and inside scoops on her characters and series. She uses her Pinterest boards at http://www.pinterest.com/ritterames/ to capture great places and ideas she wants to use in both series. Follow her blog and boards to learn more about Ritter and her upcoming books.
Website & blog: www.ritterames.com