Thanks, Pat, for hosting this stop on the Mystery We Write Blog Tour. I see you’ve even provided cookies. All right! Chocolate chip! My favorite.
You asked us to talk about how we created and developed one of our characters. I’d like to talk about the development of the main character in my new book.
When I began writing TALL CHAMBERS: JUSTIFIED ACTION, I spent a lot of time developing the main character. The backdrop of the story concerns dealing with terrorists who commit the horrendous act of taking innocent lives. My guy would work for a secretive agency which tracks terrorists and stops them by whatever means necessary. With that as the foundation on which the story would be built, however, the focus soon changes to a more personal and emotional one.
I knew my guy would need the appropriate skills and training for the violent kill or be killed nature of the agency. I gave him a background in Army Special Forces. He would have experience leading black ops missions in foreign nations, particularly the Middle East.
I decided he would be named Tall Chambers.
When the story begins, Tall is thirty-seven-years old and waiting out the last three months of his twenty-years of Army service. He had risen to the rank of Captain, but after an ugly incident with a Colonel, was demoted to Lieutenant and assigned to a routine and boring desk job at the Pentagon. With his background and experience, the job is unbearable, and Tall is anxious to leave the Army behind. He’s not sure what he will do with his life as a civilian.
When he receives a phone call from an old friend from Special Forces inviting him to take a quick trip to Texas, Tall leaps at the chance to get away from his desk for a few hours. When he asks why they are going to Texas, his friend says they’re going to blow up some people. Tall thinks his friend is joking. On the flight to Dallas, he learns it is no joke. Two vans filled with suicide bombers are on their way to a mall. They plan to explode their bombs inside the mall, killing themselves and more than 2,000 shoppers. The only way to prevent the loss of innocent lives is to blow up the vans before they get to the mall. Under those circumstances, Tall agrees to help.
After it’s over, Tall is invited by his friend to join the special anti-terrorist agency. The agency’s mantra is, “Kill one terrorist, save a hundred lives.” Tall is not fond of killing, but he soon learns to think about the lives saved, not those taken.
Everything changes for Tall when someone dear to him is killed. His only agenda then becomes finding the person responsible. Finding that person requires Tall to make a deal with the worst terrorist of them all. Along the way, he learns some people in high offices are involved in a conspiracy to put a corrupt power in the Oval Office. Tall must choose between exacting personal revenge or stopping them.
I was quite pleased with the way Tall worked out as a character and with the book as a whole. TALL CHAMBERS: JUSTIFIED ACTION will be available soon in print form as well as ebook. Watch for announcements on my website
You’re invited to visit my website now if you’d like where you can:
. . .read Chapter One of my Mystery novel, MEMORY OF A MURDER.
. . .read a short story called “The Day I Almost Became a Great Writer.” Some say it’s the funniest story I’ve ever written.
. . .read “White Hats and Happy Trails,” a story about the day I spent with my boyhood idol, Roy Rogers. There’s even a picture of my wife and me with Roy to prove it’s all true.
. . .check out SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, a collection of 16 of my published tales of mystery, ranging from hardboiled to humorous, available in ebook or print form.
But you can’t go yet. Please leave a comment while you’re here and you may win a free book.
At the end of the tour, I’ll draw two names from those who left comments. The first name drawn will receive a signed print copy of MEMORY OF A MURDER, a mystery novel with a long list of Five Star Reviews. The second name drawn will receive their choice of a signed print copy or an ebook of SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, a collection of 16 tales of mystery from hardboiled to humorous.
Now you can go.
Thanks for everyone who came by. And thanks again, Pat, for being such a gracious hostess. The tour bus is ready to roll on to the next stop. I hope you don’t mind if I take a few cookies for the road.
Mystery author Earl Staggs recently received his second Derringer Award for Best Short Story of the Year. His novel MEMORY OF A MURDER earned a long list of Five Star reviews. SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, a collection of 16 Mystery tales, is available in print and ebook. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine and as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. He’s a contributing blog member of Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery and a frequent speaker at conferences.