I based the story in Candy Apple Dead on real-life events, the death of a personal friend that I never believed happened the way the police said it did. My friend, Terry, owned a clothing store in Salt Lake City, and back in the day I was a member of a local band. We were known for wearing matching clothes--clothes that Terry tailored for us in his shop.
One morning I woke up to the news that Terry's shop had burned down in the middle of the night and his body had been found inside the store. I was devastated. Truly devastated. The police determined that Terry had set the fire himself, but I never believed it, so when I found myself at the start of a brand-new mystery series with a whole new set of characters to create and a new protagonist to work with, I thought it might bring me some closure to solve a case like Terry's.
Am I suggesting that Terry's death happened the way I wrote it in Candy Apple Dead? No. Not at all. I want to be very clear on that. As any writer can tell you, we might begin with a particular person or situation in mind, but the characters in the book soon come to life, take on personalities of their own, and say and do things the original inspiration would never have said or done.
People appeared in Brandon's life that never existed in Terry's. The one true character that existed in both Terry's life and Brandon's was Max, the inventory retrieval specialist. No, I didn't end up with the real Max after Terry died, but Terry did give me my doberman, Pride, and I loved that dog like crazy.
You can read an excerpt from Candy Apple Dead and find buying information here.
Did working through my friend's death in a work of fiction help? Yes, I think it did. If you're new to the series, I hope you'll enjoy getting to know Abby and the folks of Paradise, Colorado. If you try any of the candy recipes included in the books, please let me know how they turn out.