Sunday, November 16, 2008

Well, I Had to Start Somewhere

In the world of mystery novels, lawyers, police officers, PIs, FBI agents, and journalists often take leading roles. Few authors choose an accountant as an protagonist but when you’re a beginning writer as I was when I started to write Taxed to Death, the old adage, “write what you know” was sound advice.

I was working as a secretary for a mid-size accounting firm and spent many lunch hours sharing a table with articling students. One day, I found myself talking about my writing (something I still rarely do at work) when one of them said, “How come no one writes about us?” It was a good question. A lot of the accountants I’d known we’re pretty interesting: funny, smart, cocky, shy, arrogant, kind, neurotic, lecherous. Some loved their work, others loathed it, but most were ambivalent.

The idea for Taxed to Death came easily, but the words didn’t. I’d written a few short stories, but I quickly discovered that writing a novel was completely different. Concepts like point of view changes, inner monologue, pace, red herrings, and dialogue were skills that came slowly with practice, workshops, and a helpful agent.

The book took twelve years and ten drafts to complete while I maintained a day job and had two babies. Needless to say, writing time was squeezed between feedings, diaper changes and the hundred household duties most of us have. But I finished it and Taxed to Death was published in 1995. The book received some terrific reviews, one from a CA, no less. I thought the sequel, Fatal Encryption, would go a little faster. Boy, was I wrong. But that’s another story.

To read excerpts of Taxed to Death visit

1 comment:

Laura Jayne said...

Ok... just about at three years on my novel, so feeling so much better after seeing your twelve. Though I supose sitting down and writing it would probably help the process. I keep finding new projects. But always writing related ;)