If you could be a fly on the wall in my conversations with other people, you’d see that I ask questions—everything from the standard, “how was your day?” to more in-depth stuff like “what made you pick that line of work?” or “what drives you nuts?”
I’m not over-the-top about it, but I’m curious. I guess I’ve always felt that you learn more in life by listening and hearing. Maybe someone talks about a hobby I knew nothing about—something that might connect with me, too. Maybe someone has traveled somewhere I’ve always wanted to go and by asking questions and listening to their answers, I get to go along, too.
Sometimes, because of a question I asked, or an answer I sought, my internal plotting machine starts ticking. It’s happened over lunch with a friend, it’s happened while talking to someone at a party, and it’s happened inside my own head.
Question-askers like myself, don’t just ask questions of other people, we ask questions of ourselves, too. I’m the first to admit constantly asking yourself questions can be a royal pain at times, but when you happen to be a writer, it’s also a really cool “quirk” to have.
Because questions lead to answers, and answers sometimes lead to intricate characters, dynamite settings, and the kind of plots that keep my readers turning the pages of my books late into the night.
That happened to me as I was getting ready to start writing the fourth book in my Amish Mysteries—SUSPENDERED SENTENCE. In my mind I saw a young Amish teenager hanging out with her friends while on Rumspringa. Some were experimenting with drinking, some were experimenting with cigarettes, all were enjoying music and a chance to blur the lines of their otherwise simple life for just a little while. By the end of the night, she was dead. Her parents were told she ran off, lured away by the English life. And, for nineteen years, they had no reason to believe otherwise—until her remains are uncovered on their property, anyway.
That was the “vision” in my mind that kicked off this book. But it was the questions I started asking myself on the heels of that “vision” that had me fastening my seatbelt.
How did she die?
Why didn’t her friends say anything?
Who buried her?
How could they let her mother and father believe, for nineteen years, that their daughter was still alive?
Question after question (and answer after answer), I began to realize what happened to that Amish teenager. And as I moved through the layers of her story, I discovered that one fateful night was just the start of a tale far more sinister than even I had realized.
So that’s me. In a nutshell.
I ask a lot of questions.
Because questions lead to answers…
Laura Bradford (aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey) has wanted to be a writer since she was ten years old. Today, she is the author of several mystery series, and a handful of romance novels. She is a former Agatha Award nominee and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. SUSPENDERED SENTENCE is the fourth book in her Amish Mysteries with Berkley Prime Crime/Penguin-Random House. In her free time, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, playing games, and catching up with friends.