Mad in Pursuit Notebook

Tribe of the Breakaway Beads


Nov 15, 2015. As I celebrate THE SUDDEN SILENCE, a project 25 years in the making, a couple of people have asked, "So where's THE UNDERGROUND ATHLETIC CLUB? Why isn't that listed among your publications?" Where, indeed. I must have passed that draft around to everyone, so many people are familiar with it.

UAC was my very first novel (apart from grade school efforts). It was a classic murder mystery in a snowstorm. Jim and I played around with plots one day on repeated lift rides at Bristol Mountain Ski Resort. I wrote a few notes on vacation in Cayman. Then, on a Labor Day weekend in 1988, worn out from my job, I went to the library and discovered there were books on how to write mysteries. Hey, if there are instructions in a book, I can do it!

It took me about a year to write -- popping out of bed at 4 a.m. to visit with my characters and revisiting them after dinner. When I finished, I went through the laborious ritual of sending out query letters and sample chapters. I got very nice rejections letters. "There is no doubt you can write..." started one. Another said it was very good but "too dark for a first novel." I was encouraged. But by that time I was planning our trip to Thailand and plotting out the story that would eventually become THE SUDDEN SILENCE.

In 2011, after publishing TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS, I pulled it out and began a rewrite called ROCKTROPOLIS. I changed the lead character from male to female and pushed the events into the future. I loved the premise but quickly bogged down.

Now. Stalled out on devising a fresh plot for a new novel, I pulled out the old manuscript. I warned myself not to be too ambitious. Change the names, get it out on Kindle--build the bibliography. I began re-reading it yesterday. Oh, dear, I was certainly in some kind of dark place when I wrote it. My younger, juicier self had absorbed all kinds of evil tales from my work at a social services organization. Lucky for me, "dark" is in.

But there is a major flaw in the work. I introduce an art-crime investigator as the hero in an urban thriller having nothing to do with the art world. Someone had pointed that out to me (thanks, Terry), but I was already too committed to my character as written. But yesterday, I had an epiphany. A new background for my old investigator would make the whole thing click.

Of course, this new backstory is now part of the mystery. So, my fans, you'll have to wait for the revelations ahead.

Meanwhile, I'm excited to dig into this old project.


THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) Thailand: lovers of ancient treasure tangle with international black markets. Delia Rivera pulls Martin Moon back into the game and their quest turns deadly. In paperback and Kindle editions.

TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) Time after time, Mary asks herself: Do I go or do I stay? She finds her power in her ancestors: Smart women turn discontent into action. An illustrated memoir in paperback and Kindle editions.

PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008) The twin forces of revenge and redemption drive Nellie MacKenzie and Taylor Jackson on a crazed adventure into the heart of Central Asia. They grapple with issues of ethics, trust, rage, and bitter heartbreak -- as well as the intrigue of the international antiquities trade. In paperback and Kindle editions.



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All pages in this website by Susan Barrett Price are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. [The snowstorm image at the top of this page came from Wikipedia, under a Creative Commons license.]