By Robin Weaver
|Not me, but could have been.|
In sixth grade, I had a best friend who created a book of short stories. Well, not an actual book, but a compilation of typed pages, hole-punched and joined together by pronged fasteners. Even so… That was the coolest thing ever.
Note, this same friend later decided he’d sleep in a coffin every night. And did. But that’s a topic for another blog.
Anyway, Pudgy (my childhood nickname—I’m not sure why) decided then and there… “I, too, will be a writer.”My parent’s reaction…
Being at that impressionable age, I didn’t then realize I was
giving up a dream, but I did pursue a more practical degree.
Until… About ten years ago, another friend showed me a compilation of short stories. This was an actual book (headers, footers, page numbers, etc.—the whole ISBN). Again, the coolest thing ever.
Thus my dream emerged from the ashes of my geeky IT existence. A few months later, a genealogy quest uncovered my great-great Uncle Noverta. That’s when I decided I must write mystery-suspense (not that I hadn’t already decided that—being a Nancy Drew/Colombo/Linda Howard/John Grisham fan girl).
But back to Noverta… You see, the District Attorney decided ole Verta had murdered his wife—in the coldest of blood. No matter that Noverta’s folks, and even his inlaws, insisted the poor wife committed suicide. Maybe the neat little bullet hole in the middle of her forehead was coincidental.
Okay, confession time. There’s no evidence of a neat little hole. You see, the deeply buried writer gene cannot resist embellishing an already cool story. Anyway, Noverta’s jury didn’t buy the suicide defense and Great-great Uncle went to Parchment Prison in Jackson Mississippi. Not only did Noverta not serve his time-before-my-time, he escaped from that maximum security cell easy-peasy.
Stranger than the strangest fiction… (Did I happen to mention Noverta’s last name, like my grandfather’s, was actually Strange?)
Hold on, the story gets even better. Our escaped con somehow made his way to Colorado, where he became the deputy sheriff. That’s not my writer gene, that’s the truth and nothing but. I swear on a stack of mystery books. Noverta served in law enforcement under the pseudonym Charles Boltz for over thirty years.
I Decided to Finally Write that Book. How could I not? Only research proved far more difficult than I anticipated. Apparently, Google didn’t exist in the 1930s. Sigh. I did find a distant cousin in Colorado, who was Noverta’s great-grand daughter (we are Facebook friends). The Colorado Boltz’s knew nothing of the Mississippi con man.
Anyway, when I couldn’t fill in all the pieces of Noverta’s story, I decided to make it fiction (somewhat). Only once I started writing Framing Noverta, the tale took over and the novel became the story of Sheriff Cal Henderson—a baseball hero turned cop who does his best to prove Noverta has been—you guessed it--Framed.
You do get part of Noverta’s story. Like the real-life character, good ole Vertie gets tried, convicted, and framed. He escapes and heads out west. Book 2 of this series, Saving Noverta, is expected to be released this November. The tale picks up in Colorado with a former-salon-gal-turned-maid finding something strange In Sheriff Noverta’s house.
We all have at least one…interesting character in our family tree. Hope you have as much fun as I did chopping down the branches.
Happy hunting, happy reading.
How can you uphold the law when following the rules will destroy everything worth protecting?
Weary of D.C. murder and mayhem, Cal Henderson trades in his city badge for a sheriff’s star. Regrettably, his Tennessee hometown proves anything but peaceful—a woman is shot dead in her bed and the only viable suspects are his best friend, Noverta, and the love of Cal’s life—the current Mrs. Grace Gardner.Noverta escapes from jail, making Cal question his efforts to prove the man’s innocence. As more evidence points toward Grace’s involvement in the murder,