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The Story Behind the Story – Unfinished Business

The Story Behind the Story

Unfinished Business is a perfect example of how a writer never knows where a story idea will come from.

In 2010 I became friends with a woman named Meg. Several months later, when I learned that Meg was a mortician/funeral director, I told her that if I shadowed her for a day at her job I would probably come away with at least one idea for a book – to which Meg extended an open invitation for a complete behind-the-scenes tour of a funeral parlor.

I never took her up on the offer, but after Backseat to Justice and Pump It Up were released I found myself in need of a new story idea, and I started thinking about Meg and her job.

I thought about how, for most of us, death was something we rarely had to think about, but Meg dealt with it all day, every day. I wondered how much thought she gave to the people she worked on and the lives they left behind…which led me to the thought of how, no matter who the person on the table was, there was something in their life that was left unfinished when they passed.

That’s when the “what if” moment struck me.

What if Meg was somehow tasked with resolving the unfinished business of her clients?

I immediately knew the idea had the potential to be a great book…the only problem was that I was not sure about my ability to write a book with a paranormal element to it.

Regardless of my uncertainty, I decided to go for it.

I pitched the idea to Meg and she loved it.

I went to her house and interviewed her for over three hours. She walked me through every aspect of her job…not only the technical details, but, more importantly, the personal aspects.

When the first draft was finished I gave it to Meg for her review and comment. She loved the story and made several key suggestions, which, of course, I followed without question.

Naturally, I named the protagonist of the story Meg.

Since I didn’t know Meg’s last name, I named my character Meg Hargrave – which I thought was pretty clever, until Meg asked why I didn’t use her real last name – Seabury…


…and that’s the story behind that story.


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