Every person has a story. Some are more interesting than others. Some are more interesting than they first appear.
My personal story has an international twist. I was born in Canada to a Polish mother and English father. When my sister and I were still young, we were moved to the U.S., first California then New Jersey. I had the benefit of traveling often as a child, as my brave and determined parents dragged their kids along on travels to visit relatives or see new parts of the world.
When I wasn’t visiting other places in person (or even when I was), I visited them through books. I read voraciously, not only mysteries (though they were always my favorite), but anything I could get my hands on.
I suppose it was no surprise that my interests turned to anthropology, the study of other cultures, a field I would spend a decade in.
As an anthropologist, I conducted fieldwork in Warsaw, talking to university students about their stories, the narratives they used to explain their lives, their choices, their futures. Stories about their parents and grandparents. Stories about history they’d never experienced but would never forget. Stories that sometimes brought me to tears, sometimes to laughter, and always to respect those doing the telling.
I left anthropology when I was pulled into the world of international diplomacy. Now, talk about stories! Some more true than others, I assure you. But perhaps that’s a story for another day…
It was thrilling. Exciting. Exhausting. I’m still grateful I was fortunate enough to have that opportunity.
Eventually, real life intervened, as it tends to do. I returned home, to my adopted home of Philadelphia (a city I long ago learned to love).
I met and fell in love with an amazing man who, for reasons still unclear to me, decided to marry me. He and my brilliant step-sons continue to support and guide me in all my endeavors. I’d spent my life up to then digging into other people’s stories. With their support, it was time to turn the tables and start creating stories of my own. Some based loosely on real events, some spun from whole cloth.
My current series (available September 2015) features a Philadelphia cop who gets drawn into murder investigations far from home – and on one occasion far too close to home. From Warsaw to Washington and back home to Philadelphia, Adam Kaminski digs into the secrets behind murders and the secrets of his own family legacy. In future books, Adam will find himself in Galway, Cornwall and the south of France. Once again, I have to pinch myself to believe I have this opportunity, to write my own stories and have other people read and enjoy them. Something that gives me such joy and such satisfaction.
Why do I write mysteries, you ask? Because every person has a story. I want to explore the motivations that might drive an ordinary person to do extraordinary things. What makes one woman a hero, willing to sacrifice herself to help others? And what terrible fears and hatreds drive another to kill?
Plus, trying to figure out whodunit is fun!
So have some fun of your own. Follow along as the Ladies of Mystery spin our tales. And share some stories of your own if you’re so inclined. We all have a story, and I’d love to hear yours!
8 thoughts on “Everyone has a story”
HI Jane, Wow, a world traveler in the mix! Now I know who to email if I have a story set outside the U.S. 😉 Looking forward to your book.
Thanks Paty, I can’t wai to share them!
Looking forward to the posts from all you ladies of mystery (and adding more books to my TBR list). Jane, your travels should lead you to some very interesting stories. I’ll especially look forward to the one set in the South of France — I lived there for two years in the mid-80s and consider it the one setting closest to perfect (except this little spot in Northern Colorado where I live now which is also hard to beat).
Thanks, Patricia. You are so fortunate to have found two perfect places to live! Part of my wanderlust, I think, comes from seeking that one perfect place …
Hi Jane, what a delight to read your story! Your book sounds incredible too. So glad to have you on the blog.
Thanks Sally! I’m really looking forward to this!
This was fascinating–far more interesting than mine will be. But what you said is great about why we write mysteries.
Thanks Marilyn! I can’t take credit for the motivation or claim it’s original, but it certainly explains my reasons for writing. And I’m looking forward to reading your intro, since I know it will be interesting, too!
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