Hey! I was gunna write that book!
You know, I have heard of this phenomenon... a writer has an idea and maybe even gets started on it... and then they find it on a bookshelf by somebody ELSE. But up until Friday, this had never happened to me. There IS the case of my friend Liz and I both pondering Microbrew-based mysteries, but as she writes erotica and I am thinking almost Cozy, I doubt we threaten each other. But there is another idea I've toyed with... thought 'this should be done and I'm a great person to do it'... and NOW... it's been done...
I am originally from Idaho... wild huge Idaho with so few people... grand mountains, turbulent rivers... My uncle runs a whitewater rafting company (Salmon River Experience) out of a tiny town called Riggins on the Salmon River (check them out, if you ever think you might want to try a raft trip—they put on a classy, good time—that's him in the back).
The Salmon is the longest river in the US to start and stop within the same state.
The Salmon is ALSO the longest un-dammed river in the US.
My time as a guide was brief, but my river time was significantly longer. It was my DAD who got my uncle into rafting... I grew up with it. My first REAL rafting trip (as in for days on the river, rather than day trips) was when I was 12. We were on the Main Fork of the Salmon while then-president Jimmy Carter was rafting the Middle Fork—seriously--same exact week, same river, just different parts. We'd canoed a lot before that—the St. Joe River in northern Idaho, mostly... I was a legitimate river rat from a very young age. And until I left home for good, it was a regular summer event.
The Writing Years
I had finished my first book but hadn't gotten much farther when it first occurred to me... those 5 day trips with no road access—where you are part of a group dependent entirely on each other because other than a check-in point here or there (part of the agreement when you get your license, and about 3 days apart) there is nobody else but your party... Talk about a GREAT set-up for a 'closed-room' murder mystery! I wasn't thinking Deliverance (though that is an excellent example of a river-based thriller and seriously probably STILL the freakiest book I've read because it is so vividly real), but it really seemed like a wonderful mystery set-up!
Friday I stopped by Patricia Stoltey's and she was hosting Beth Groundwater (one of the first authors I started paying attention to when I 'came out' and a fabulously nice person). Beth was talking about River Rangers—the specific brand of Forest Ranger that helps keep river people safe... to go with her new book Deadly Currents.
Now I hadn't gotten to my planning point... my experience as a guide is an interesting PoV, but as a SERIES... well who wants to book a trip with a company where murders keep happening, right? So I think Beth's call to write from a Ranger PoV is PERFECT (and possibly a conclusion I would have reached myself) but you know what... I'm THRILLED somebody as capable as Beth has taken this on. I think the setting is more suited to her style than a Cozy, which is the mystery brand I write, and these days I have more ideas than time, so honestly, I'm not sure when I would have gotten here... besides, there is still plenty of opportunity for me to feature rivers in my other stuff (my first book, in fact, Confluence, starred a pair of rivers)
So it's out tomorrow—I can vouch for Beth's brilliance in writing gripping mystery... I think you should check it out!
So what about the rest of you? Anybody nurse any great ideas, only to find it on the shelves?