Once upon a time I was a relatively sane television producer. I switched from cameras to keyboards and added screenwriter and romance novelist (under a pseudonym) to my list of credits. Really Dead is my first mystery.
How I got published
Dying played a big part in the birth of my mystery. I’d been following the usual write a mystery-query-heavy sigh after getting rejections route for several years and I was just about to give up the dream of getting a mystery published when my fate took a detour.
My mother died and I needed to get my hair dyed before her funeral. My hairdresser squeezed me into his over-scheduled day and, while he was putting the glop on my head, introduced me to the other customer he was working on at the same time. She was sitting in the chair next to mine, wearing a plastic bag on her head. The woman and I did the polite “what do you do” conversation and I almost slid out of my chair. The woman with the bag on her head was the then owner/publisher of an independent Canadian publishing house that had a very successful mystery line. It wasn’t the time or place for me to start pitching a story … but I left the salon with a personal connection and an invitation to submit.
I immediately started working on a new mystery, one that hadn’t been stained by previous rejections. I wrote it as the first in a series and sent it to my new salon buddy. She wrote back that she liked the story but would be more interested in it if I wrote it as a standalone. So I rewrote it as a standalone and resubmitted it. It was almost a year later when I heard back from her – she’d sold her company to another publishing house, was working with them as an acquisitions editor, and wanted to know if my story was still available. I told her it was and she asked me if I could re-work it to be the first in a series. I hauled out my original version of the manuscript, did another edit on it, sent it to her yet again and then crossed every flexible part of my body. Eight months later I received the email that every unpublished mystery writer dreams of – “It’s a go.”
Travel writer Ria Butler has to outsmart a killer on the set of a reality TV show. Ria is supposed to be looking at blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos. Instead, she circumnavigates her unsettled relationship with investigative reporter Glenn Cooper and flies to the set of the TV show that her brother is producing in the British Virgin Islands. On location, she learns a production assistant has gone missing — only her tattooed foot has been found. While Ria tries to outwit a killer, Glenn tries to outlast Ria’s commitment detour, and a producer tries to outplay the police. When the reality series goes to air, it really does have the most dramatic finale ever — and someone is Really Dead.
You can read more of J.E Forman on her website.