Thursday, June 8, 2017

A WRITER’S FANFARE by Patricia Crandall

In the nineteen fifties, my interest was captured by the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene. Each holiday I would request the latest Nancy Drew title and on receiving it I would curl-up in an over-sized chair and begin reading the fast-paced adventure.
            Whereby, I dabbled at creating my own mystery stories at an early age. My first effort detailed a long, frightening chase by a sinister man. A dark tunnel appeared, leading to (of course) a haunted mansion. The not-so-brilliant ending had me saved by the man of my life at the time – my father.
            My parents and teachers would often tell me, “Patty, you are a dreamer. You have a vivid imagination. Put it to good use.” It was at that point, in lieu of playing with friends or watching the new small-box-wonder – TV, I sat at an old desk in the kitchen and wrote mystery stories. I also drew stick figures to illustrate the action in the stories. The discovery of boys replaced pen and paper. The telephone became my favorite instrument and I lost interest in reading and writing until a formidable nun taught me English in High School. With a revival of interest, I picked up where I left off, writing saleable poetry and a variety of articles, essays, and short stories. Presently, I am taking a writing course and penning novels.

            Ironically, my mainstream stories have brought me the most success and recognition. I have often wondered, why? I have discovered that although I like to create a good mystery story, I shy from describing extreme violence or gratuitous sex and the uncanny evil bred in psychological serial killers who torture, maim and murder their victims. I prefer to write cozy mystery stories.
            Two favorite characters I have created for general entertainment are Gert Carver and Nina Westacott. Friends for many years, the two women pursue bottle mining and flea market quests. I was fortunate to have a close relationship with two aunts. The idea came to mind to express how their uniqueness affected me as a child. I wished to pass the essence of their warm and zany personalities on to others and I fictionalized them.
            In writing mystery stories, I am determined to have justice served. My recent sojourn to the Rensselaer County Courthouse for jury selection impressed me that perpetrators have more rights than victims. It confirmed what I already knew; people are victimized once during the actual crime and once during the detailing of the sordid events leading to the crime at the trial. Can anyone blame a person who refuses to go through a debilitating trial? Hence, the perpetrator gets away with a plea bargain or less and walks away a free man. Often, he/she commits a similar crime. I would like to shadow dedicated professionals and put into writing the need for more honesty and integrity in the justice system.
            Ideas for a writer’s fanfare are everywhere. Newspapers are a good source for material. Headline – Pregnant wife and Baby Survive Murder Plot. What if…?
Patricia Crandall

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