Today we're shining the spotlight on Diane Burton with one of her Alex O'Hara novels, The Case of the Bygone Brother.
Why I Write in Different Genres
by Diane Burton
When I first started writing back in 1993, I tried to write a straight romance. Didn’t work. Each of those still-under-the-bed stories had a romance, all right, but also adventure and suspense. I couldn’t write a Harlequin romance for anything. Maybe I’d better tell you what I read. All genre fiction. (I’m not crazy about “literature”, though. Read enough in college.) I read mystery, romantic suspense, military adventure/suspense, historical romance, science fiction romance, young adult, inspirational romance. The list goes on and on. So it seems natural to me to write in the genres I enjoy reading.
My first published novel was a science fiction romance. I’ve been crazy about exploring space since America started sending astronauts into space. I’ve written a total of six sci-fi romances—five published and one that will come out this summer. I’ve also published a romantic suspense. I do love mixing romance, adventure, and suspense whether it’s here on Earth or off in outer space.
Since I enjoy reading mysteries, I thought I’d write one with a female PI. When I was a kid, Nancy Drew was my hero. My latest book THE CASE OF THE BYGONE BROTHER is a little different from the traditional mystery. No dead body in the beginning but plenty of suspense tempered by some humor. It’s set in a small, fictional resort town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Since I live in West Michigan, I know the area well. The strong Dutch influence here is due to settlers from The Netherlands in the 1800s and evidenced by the names of people and businesses. Also evident is conservatism and thrift. I capitalize on all that in my story. Since some of my ancestors came from The Netherlands, I use many of their last names for characters and businesses, including the title character, Harry Anslyn. But other nationalities also came to West Michigan, hence the private investigation firm of O’Hara and Palzetti.
Small towns (in the off-season) where everyone knows everybody and gossip runs rampant are a pain in the tush for PI Alex O’Hara. She bought out her dad and his partner’s investigation agency when they retired and is barely making ends meet until a femme fatale shows up offering her a boatload of money. All she has to do is find the femme’s lost brother. Alex manages to get herself into a lot of scrapes—most of her own making. Complicating matters is the return of Nick Palzetti, son of the original partner, and Alex’s teenage crush. Worse, someone doesn’t want her to find the brother.
Alex O’Hara finally gets a case that will give her bottom line a much needed boost. She might even be able to change her diet from ramen noodles to prime rib. All she has to do is track down a man who’s been missing for over ten years. Piece of cake . . . until an old flame arrives and a mugger roughs her up with orders to back off.
I dreamt about Harry Anslyn last night. An endless loop of a blond man in Dutch costume—black vest, hat, and baggy pants wearing wooden shoes—who popped up from behind cars and buildings and saying, “You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man.”
I really needed to think about something else. Like Ellie’s latest heart throb.
Cup of coffee in hand, I sat on the floor with my back against the sofa, my tablet on the coffee table. I could sit at the dining room table, but I sat at a desk all day downstairs. They—you know, the ubiquitous ‘they’—say that a change of position encourages a different way of thinking. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
With the apartment a tad chilly—I hate turning on the furnace before Halloween—I stayed in my flannel sleep pants and a long-sleeve thermal shirt. I pulled on a quilted flannel workshirt. Do I have fancy sleepwear or what?
After searching several databases, I found more references to Craig MacKenzie but nothing I didn’t already know. A face-to-face meeting would give me a better idea of his character. My first thought was to pose as a reporter doing a piece on oil and gas exploration in Michigan. If their relationship led to Ellie’s hoped-for conclusion, how would she explain that her maid of honor was an imposter and a liar?
Maybe I needed to give this more thought. After a couple of minutes, I remembered Pop had a contact in the local oil and gas business. The guy had been a resource for a case last year. The oil and gas industry in Michigan was small enough that this guy was sure to know MacKenzie. I raced downstairs. The case file would be in the cabinet in Tony’s old office. I unlocked the door, flipped on the light, and was half-way across the room when a blur came off the brown couch. I whirled around and froze.
Nick Palzetti stood in a half crouch. His Glock 9 mil pointed straight at me.
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and The Case of the Bygone Brother, a PI mystery. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
Connect with Diane Burton online
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author
Sign up for Diane’s new release alert: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf
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