Stephen D. Rogers is the author of Shot to Death (ISBN 978-0982589908) and more than six hundred stories and poems. He's the head writer at Crime Scene (where viewers solve interactive mysteries) and a popular writing instructor. For more information, you can visit his website, www.stephendrogers.com, where he tries to pull it all together.
Shot to Death Blog March
"You know I don't like working on custody cases." - "Custody Battle at Red Creek"
So begins one of the 31 stories contained in Shot to Death (ISBN 978-0982589908). Within that beginning lurks the ending to the story and everything that happens between the beginning and the end. Or at least it seems that way to me.
This opening felt ripe. It wasn't just that the private investigator didn't like working on custody cases. It wasn't even that the client knew the PI didn't like working on custody cases but still asked. What really got me was the understanding that the PI was going to accept the case anyway.
What made the PI ignore his better judgment? (And is that ever a good thing?) What card did the client play?
While "custody" usually refers to questions of childcare after parents split, how else could the word be used? The custodian of records is someone who safeguards the official version of events. A custodian can also be the person who cleans up messes. Both of those seem to be good descriptions of what a PI does.
That's when the title popped into my head.
My first reaction to the title was that it sounded to me like a western, and since so many have linked PI fiction to westerns,this created an interesting vibe.
If the PI was the retired gunslinger, he was going to need an all-powerful rancher to test his mettle.
Since I really didn't want to write another story about a PI going up against big business or police bureaucracy, how about the PI has to fight a large and more successful PI agency? While this storyline may have been mined by others, it was fresh territory for me.
So there I was. All that was left was the writing. For a chance to win a signed copy of SHOT TO DEATH, click on over to http://www.stephendrogers.com/
And then come back here to post your comments. Phew.