As a high school forensic science teacher, Pamela Ruth Meyer discovered inventive ways to solve crimes and was inspired to write mysteries. She describes her debut manuscript as Gilded Gotham Mysteries meets Bones. It's a turn-of-the-century love story wrapped in a historical mystery, intricately solved by a woman who changed the face of forensics for all time. The manuscript was a Page Turner Writing Award 2022 Finalist. Follow Pam’s journey toward publication on her website where you’ll also find links to her other social media.
Dancing with a Ghost
The protagonist in my manuscript makes miniatures that help her capture life from a bird’s-eye view. To freeze time. Miniatures are magical that way. They have enchanted me since I played with dollhouses as a girl. My imagination would come alive. I would become the doll. In some ways, writing a novel is like playing with dolls. But so much more, too. There is magic in books.
I encountered my desire to write in the high school classroom, not as one of the students, but rather when I taught forensic science. Without fail, I’d learn something new and fascinating when preparing the lesson for each day. I’d often illustrate the significance of the given technique or method by telling my students intricate stories that, out of the blue, had surfaced in my mind. As we would discuss the killers, the victims, and the circumstances, I’d encourage the students. “Hold all of that in your mind,” I’d say, “and be the investigator.” They’d gasp with discovery upon noticing the tiniest and most wondrously significant of clues.
I didn’t always know I wanted to write, but as the stories in my head demanded my attention, I eventually put pen to paper. I haven’t stopped since. Worlds manifested all around me as I lived through the characters I wrote. And the concept of time exploded and imploded all at once, and I could reach across it. A completely new path unfolded, a labyrinth through which I built the story, as if I, myself, was walking upon it at the very same moment that I wrote each word.
As I write, I become someone other than myself, someone I know does not exist, and I use her to tell a story to someone I know does exist—you, my reader. I must watch the story unfold through your eyes, as well, bringing you to the experience, to feel, to know something new, to be changed. So that it makes sense to you, so you can intuit what’s coming but not really know it quite yet, not until you get to that part of the story, and only then do you know for sure that all along it had been true.
It's as if I write a dance for my character—much like I did as a child playing in my doll’s world. But to write this dance, I must be with my protagonist in my imagination. In some indescribable way, I must become her. When she moves through the story, I feel the wind. She hurts, and I cry. She glows with happiness, and my heart warms in my chest. I write a dance for my character, and later, sometimes much later, you read it, and if I’ve written it well, then you dance with her, too.
But here’s the most time-twisting thing of all. Back when I wrote my character dancing, I knew you’d be there too. While I became dizzy with fear as the villain closed in on her, and my eyes teared as her lover broke her heart, you see, I also imagined it would be you who would feel afraid for her and cry with her. So, when I write, I dance with my imaginary person, while at the same time, I’m dancing with someone who’s not present but is real, too. It’s like I’m dancing with a ghost, and in the end, that ghost is you.
As with a gazillion other writers, I’m on a path to publication. My agent has submitted my manuscript, and several editors have expressed interest. Wish me luck, dear reader, and if that luck makes its way to me, then one day you and I will share in the magic of books when you crack mine open and release the genie I’ve written for us, and then, finally, we’ll dance together as it was always meant to be, we’ll dance together as one.