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The Evolution of the Series (1): Bonne Femme

Bonne Femme is the first of the Richard Carter novels. The book was written eight years ago and left to cool while I worked other stories. Although the plot and the characters remained unchanged, the book required major surgery. The problem was that there were too many extraneous details, anecdotes, asides, and instances of purple prose. I had yet to learn that not every thought needs to be set in print.

I also had reservations about the believability of the plot. Then I came across these wonderful lines from Mark Twain. "Life does not consist mainly—or even largely—of facts and happenings. Life consists mainly of the storm of thoughts forever blowing through one's mind." With that in mind, my characters and their dilemma are frighteningly believable.

The characters had become so real to me that I could hear their dialog before I wrote it. I didn't want their story to end, so I moved them from Michigan to my native Ozarks. In a sense, I took them home with me. This was the genesis of the Richard Carter series. Canaan Camp #3 and Secret Song #4 followed. Then I wrote Cold Tears #2 as a "bridge" taking the Carters to Hawthorn County and Blue Creek.