The inspiration for this book came indirectly from my family. I was gathered for a lunch with some family members who told me a story of a distant relative who had been murdered. Because of my interest in mysteries, I was immediately curious and began to ask questions. When I did, I was surprised to find that each person had a distinctly different perception of the woman she was.
I love the nature of discovery through various perspectives, so I kept thinking about this woman and wondering about her. Eventually, I drafted a short piece about the event of her actual murder, of the moment she came face to face with her killer, and I told it from the killer’s perspective. It was raw and perhaps too violent, but it showed me the world in which I wanted to dive into in order to tell a similar story.
I knew I couldn’t tell the mystery from the murderer’s perspective (or perhaps I could, but I didn’t want to), so I focused my attention, instead, to the suspects. I wanted to imagine and create and feel a part of this woman’s world. Who would wish her ill will? Who might want her dead? Was there anyone that could benefit by it? I sorted through motives next.
Once I had the basic gist of potential suspects and motivations, I constructed a very rough outline. When I’m writing, it’s very important for me to know how I’m going to get from point A to point B and beyond before I can fill in the details that take me on that journey.
Now that The Last Dinner Party is published and available to all (on Amazon), I think back to that family gathering and think fondly of that moment of inspiration, which is so very vivid. Now, let’s hope it strikes again.
Carly M. Duncan is a television producer and writer. Working in television, she has prolifically created visual narratives for more than a decade for networks including TLC, Discovery Health, MTV, NatGeo, Travel Channel, FYI and more.
Her writing career officially began when one of her short stories, First Place, was published when she was a high school student in California. Her first two novels, Marcie and Behind You, are mysteries that touch on family bonds and the events that can strengthen or destroy them.
Her third novel, The Last Dinner Party, introduces a pair of female detectives who will return in future stories. In addition, she is a mentor and editor to other writers as well as an avid reader. Her favorite authors include Agatha Christie and Stephen King.
Carly lives in New York with her husband and two daughters.
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