Today we’re joined by mystery author Cathy Perkins, here to tell us about the inspiration behind the plots in some of her Holly Price Mysteries. Cathy started writing when recurring characters and dialogue populated her day job commuting daydreams. Fortunately, that first novel lives under the bed, but she was hooked on the joy of creating stories. When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Learn more about her and her books at her website.
That Truck Did What With Those Rocks?
Thanks for inviting me today! I thought it would be fun to share the story behind the story for some of the Holly Price mysteries with your readers. Well, let’s back up a minute. The first question from friends and readers usually starts: Where do authors get their ideas?
Sometimes a daydream offers a story start, but ideas and inspiration can show up in the strangest places. My husband and I were in eastern Washington state, hiking along the Snake River in a game management area called Big Flats (which happens to feature in So About The Money, the first book in the Holly Price Mystery series). We had to push through some tangled foliage at the shoreline. Being a mystery writer whose mind can go strange places, I glanced over my shoulder and said, “Wouldn't this be a great place to find a body?”
Fortunately, he laughed.
That germ of an idea—a body in the middle of nowhere—kept growing. Why would the heroine be at Big Flats to stumble over the body? How did the body end up beside the river in the first place?
The idea for In It For The Money(Book 4 in the series) came while I was chatting with a friend’s nephew at a party. He was all excited about designing some bizarre machine called a Rockcrawler. I had no clue what he was talking about, but I picked up on his passion. And my writer’s brain went, Hmmm… Rockcrawlers… That’s different.
I won’t make you listen to all the research I had to do into how these rigs and events operate, but it was a lot of fun developing a series of crimes related to both the Rockcrawlers and the Rockcrawling events.
Let me explain Rockcrawling—or rather, here’s how Holly described the sport to her friend, Laurie Gordon, after Holly dragged Laurie to the opening day events:
"Two guys were sitting on their back porch, drinking." Holly raised her wine glass and Laurie clicked the rim. "One polished off his beer, belched, and popped open another can. He pointed at the vacant lot next door and said, 'Betcha I can drive my truck over those rocks."
"You're lying." Laurie narrowed her eyes.
"Swear to God." Holly raised her right hand. "And since God takes care of idiots and drunks, the first one made it over—alive—and his friend and all their friends had to try. And their friends..." She waved at the boulder—and Rockcrawler—strewn scene before them.
Holly Price traded professional goals for personal plans when she agreed to leave her high-flying position with the Seattle Mergers and Acquisition team and take over the family accounting practice. Reunited with JC Dimitrak, her former fiancé, she’s already questioning whether she’s ready to flip her condo for marriage and a house in the ‘burbs.
When her cousin Tate needs investors for his innovative car suspension, Holly works her business matchmaking skills and connects him with a client. The Rockcrawler showcasing the new part crashes at its debut event, however, and the driver dies. Framed for the sabotage, Tate turns to Holly when the local cops—including JC—are ready to haul him to jail. Holly soon finds her cousin and client embroiled in multiple criminal schemes. She’s drawn into the investigation, a position that threatens her life, her family and her increasingly shaky relationship with JC.