Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday ... Why I Wrote THE LOST WITNESS

I have always felt that each one of my novels is better than the last. I have always felt that writing is a learning experience, and with each new set of circumstances and story problems, you get better at solving them. All the same, if I had to pick a personal favorite, I think it would be THE LOST WITNESS.

The idea for the story hit me in two big chunks. The most obvious hit continues to this day if I watch the evening news on any channel. I find the pharmaceutical ads on television to be way, way past disturbing. They run when most people are eating dinner, and if you have young kids, then you know exactly how out of line they are. How do you explain what a four hour erection is to a six-year-old child? Why should anyone have to? Why are these ads there?

Money, baby. When the corporations snap their dirty fingers, you dance or you disappear.

I smiled because the answer seemed like the kind of story I could work with. A homicide detective investigates the grisly murder of a young woman, going up against a pharmaceutical company and a psychotic hit man, only to learn ... that's the first half of the premise to THE LOST WITNESS.

The second idea chuck has more do to with the psychotic hit man than anything else. I wanted to have some fun with him. As I played with the idea for a few days I realized that I was headed back to those idiotic drug commercials on TV.

It's about money, baby. It's always about money. When Big Pharma snapped his dirty fingers this time--I had it! Why not make the hit man someone who can't watch a TV ad without thinking he NEEDS the drug? (That's what Big Pharma wants us to think, right? So let's flesh it out!) Why not make the hit man a psychological wreck with one false symptom after the next? Why not make him someone who is experiencing all the side effects we hear listed in those commercials? And why not take it past the moon, and have those side effects hit him all at once while he's trying to kill someone?

Nathan G. Cava was born. They say that a story is driven by the bad guy. Cava's behind the wheel in THE LOST WITNESS, and he likes to drive real fast. He turned out to be scary and funny and all too human at the same time. Nathan G. Cava. He turned out to be one of my favorite characters ever.

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