CRESCENDO is book three of my Steven Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. Inola carries this book as the only female Native American cop of a small western North Carolina town, searching for a little boy no one but her believes is missing.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
I’m a former screenwriter so ideas and snippets of stories come to me visually. One of the most compelling scenes in CRESCENDO presented itself one morning, that of Inola, gun pointed at a woman standing next to a vehicle stopped at the shoulder of a highway, duffle bag tucked under her arm, the other hand clutching a handful of money, bills swirling in the air.
I pay attention when such a strong visual is presented and this scene became instrumental in piecing together the entire novel.
Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
I don’t use an outline, but I do implement a chapter breakdown as I work. Essentially a one-paragraph wrap up of what happens in each chapter after it is written. For the chapters I don’t quite have figured out, I leave those chapters on the breakdown blank and move down to the elements I know I want to implement. This may be merely a line of dialogue, or a climatic element I will flesh out later. The point is to keep going until I reach the end of the first draft. I also keep track of my word count output each day. I keep a yearly Planner that is only for my writing and publishing accomplishments. I find that when I keep track of how many words I’ve written this keeps me focused and helps me meet my goal. I do a word count after I’ve finished for the day and jot that accomplishment on the calendar.
Do you think writing this book changed your life? How so?
CRESCENDO puts Inola in the spotlight more than Hawk—although he is still a major player and Inola would be nothing without him in her life. During the course of the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series the lead and even secondary characters have evolved to true members of my family. And while researching for the books I’ve had the opportunity to meet people I never would have had the opportunity to know. Like Inola, writing the series has given me a purpose and goal to present my very best work as a writer.
What are you working on right now?
I’m in pre-production mode to record and distribute the audiobook version of CRESCENDO and SNARE which will also benefit a Native American language and culture foundation.
What advice you would give to an aspiring author?
What every other published author recommends: butt in the chair, don’t give up, polish, submit. Most of all, once you’ve submitted your manuscript to agents/publishers start another novel or short story. Rejections don’t hurt as much when you’re in love with another project.
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Deborah J Ledford is the author of the Steven Hawk / Inola Walela suspense series, including: CRESCENDO, SNARE—The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards Finalist in the Mystery / Suspense category. The classical music-themed STACCATO is book one. She is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and her award-winning stories appear in numerous print publications as well as literary and mystery anthologies. Part Eastern Band Cherokee, Deborah spent her summers growing up in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina, the setting for her psychological suspense thriller novels and many of her short stories.