Wednesday, July 3, 2019

#57 Inside the Emotion of Fiction: MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT by Saralyn Richard

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****Saralyn Richard’s MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT is #57 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece. 

Name of fiction work? And were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us? MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT
. The working title was THE ONE PERCENT, but that gave no hint of genre. It might even have been a nonfiction title. Once I inserted the word MURDER into the title, I knew I had the perfect title.

Has this been published? And it is totally fine if the answer is no. If yes, what publisher and what publication date? Published by Black Opal Books, 2018.

What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? I did not record these dates, so I don’t remember either of them.

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work? And please describe in detail. And can you please include a photo?
When I’m in the middle of writing a novel, I am writing in my head 24/7. I compose passages in my sleep, while exercising, while I’m observing people, and while I’m interacting with others. The actual typing is only the smallest part of the process. This part takes place in my home office, where I have a desktop computer and two sweet dogs at my feet.
What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? My best writing is done when I am focused on the story for many continuous days at a time. National Novel Writing Month ( (November) is always a good time for me to commit myself to daily writing. I don’t eat or drink or listen to music. I don’t want anything to interfere with the character images in my head. I don’t pay attention to the time of day or the day of the week. I’m totally “in the zone” of my book.
What is the summary of this specific fiction work? Someone comes to the party with murder in his heart and poison in his pocket. A powerful and rich playboy, a rare but naturally occurring poison, a newly divorced woman with an ax to grind, and pressure from the former President of the US—these are just a few of the challenges that African-American Detective Oliver Parrott faces when he answers a routine call for back-up and discovers someone died at a country estate the morning after an elaborate birthday party. When Parrott learns the deceased is the wealthy former US Secretary of the Treasury and just about everyone at the party had a motive to kill him, he realizes this will be the investigation to make—or break—his career. (Above Right:  Archie)
Can you give the reader just enough information for them to understand what is going on in the excerpt? Preston brought his young wife to the party, not knowing he’d encounter his first love, the woman he jilted at the altar years ago. Margo’s timeless beauty tantalized him once again, making Nicole wonder, Is the honeymoon over? (Above Left:  Bridget)

Please include the excerpt and include page numbers as reference. The excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer.  
Alone on the fourth floor, Mr. and Mrs. Preston Phillips were having a marital spat. Having no clue that he had behaved boorishly throughout the evening, Preston had climbed the three flights of stairs feeling good about himself. He was sure Margo still had feelings for him, and he had to admit, he was still attracted to her. He had enjoyed the attention of Kitty Kelley, too. I’ve still got what it takes to attract a woman, he thought with a grin. And I rather enjoy aggravating the men, as well.
“What are you smiling at?” Nicole asked.
Her tone pierced Preston’s reverie. He had been expecting her to fall right into his arms. “What do you mean?”
“Don’t play innocent with me, Preston. I’ve been watching you with your friends all night. Frankly, I think you’ve made a fool of yourself.”
“And how do you think I’ve made a fool of myself, Miss Expert? A few months of marriage, and you think you know me and my friends that well?”
“Totally. I know enough to know there’s something going on between you and that Margo, and the others either detest you or barely tolerate you. I may not have been around for the back story, but I’m not blind.”
Nicole sat at the dressing table and stared at her husband in the mirror.
Preston returned her stare in the mirror, aiming for sincerity. “There’s nothing going on with Margo and me. I haven’t seen her in forty years, for God’s sake.”
“Oh, yeah. Then what were you two doing for fifteen minutes when you both went upstairs?”
Preston turned away from the mirror, pacing. “Maybe we shouldn’t have come this weekend. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
“Answer my question. What were you and Margo doing?” Nicole’s voice rose in pitch, as if she were about to cry.
“Keep your voice down. We weren’t doing anything. We were talking. We are old friends.”
“You could talk to your old friends all night long, right in front of everyone. You didn’t have to leave the table to follow that old hag. I asked you not to leave me alone with these people, but I never dreamed you would go off pussy-chasing. I’m mortified.” She stood and paced around the room, brandishing her hairbrush.
“I’m not going to apologize to you, Nicole, because I didn’t do anything wrong. I love you, and I married you. End of story. Now let’s go to bed.”
“Don’t think this is the end of this discussion, Preston. If you do one more thing to upset me this weekend, you’ll live to regret it.” Nicole’s voice trailed off at the end of the threat, as Preston grabbed her from behind, both hands sliding smoothly into the front of her panties.
Annoyed as she was with him, her first impulse was to push her husband away. On the other hand, this was how she and Preston communicated best. She moved against him, signaling that the argument was over, and the making up was underway. Let them eat their hearts out, she thought. Preston Phillips belongs to me.
“Mmmph,” Preston groaned into her ear, feeling the full effect of the blue pill he had taken earlier. “Don’t worry. You’re the only woman I need, baby.”

Why is this excerpt so emotional for you? And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? The excerpt runs the gamut of emotions from anger and suspicion to pride and desire. The characters are caught in the drama of a love triangle with all of the insecurities and entanglements that go along with it.
Other works you have published? Naughty Nana, a children’s book.

Anything you would like to add? MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT
is the first in the Detective Oliver Parrott series. The sequel, A PALETTE FOR LOVE AND MURDER, will be released in January, 2020.
Award-winning mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard, is a writer, who teaches on the side. Her children’s picture book, Naughty Nana, has reached thousands of children worldwide. Murder in the One Percent, semi-finalist in the Chanticleer CLUE awards for best suspense/thriller, pulls back the curtain on the privileged and powerful rich. Look for the sequel, A Palette for Love and Murder, at the end of this year. Saralyn has published stories, articles, and poems in a variety of collections and magazines, and she edited the anthology, Burn Survivors’ Journey. A member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, Saralyn teaches creative writing and a literature class.


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