Thursday, June 17, 2010
Guest Blogger - Kay Finch
Motives for Writing About Murder
by Kay Finch
I wrote short mystery stories when I was a kid, but I can pinpoint when my desire to become a novelist blossomed. Shortly after moving to Houston in the mid-1980's, I went to work at Richard “Racehorse” Haynes’ law office. Haynes is a legendary Texas criminal defense attorney with a great track record and many high-profile cases under his belt. You may recall hearing of Dr. John Hill, the River Oaks surgeon accused by his father-in-law of killing his wife, Joan Robinson Hill – a story told in the book “Blood and Money” by Thomas Thompson and featuring Racehorse Haynes as Dr. Hill’s attorney.
By the time I went to work at the firm, Haynes’ reputation generated so many potential client calls every day that staff members had to take those calls on a rotating basis. Talking to the alleged criminals gave me plenty of plot ideas to work with. The first big trial I worked on was dubbed the “Texas Slave Ranch” case in which Haynes’ client was acquitted of murder in the death of a man who worked on the ranch. When I was assigned to work for a second attorney who specialized in family law, I learned there’s no lack of motives for murder in the family law arena.
I hear about plenty of mayhem in my job as a family law paralegal, but I prefer my conflict in fiction. I use the conflicts of real life to inspire my stories. My heroine, Corie McKenna, is a Houston PI who works for a divorce attorney. Her character is based on investigators I worked with in Racehorse Haynes’ office years ago. In FINAL DECREE, Corie does surveillance of a woman who recently filed for divorce and witnesses the woman’s murder. In FINAL CUT, she goes out to serve divorce papers on an elusive husband and to serve a hearing subpoena on a witness who she finds dead in the backyard pool. With dogged determination, Corie McKenna tracks down clues and builds a case much as Racehorse Haynes and staff prepared cases for trial and with just as much success.
How many times have you witnessed something in real life and thought "that would make a great book"?
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