PARK RIDGE: A Senior Center Murder
Cheryl Hagedorn writes that she was amazed when a banana lover wrote protesting the use of a banana as murder weapon. But she persevered and wrote an “inverted mystery” which she explains is where the reader knows the murderer, but can the police prove it.
Here are her answers to my pithy questions. (No I don’t lisp.)
Since we’re talking mysteries here, I have changed the order of the questions. It’s up to you to figure out which answer goes with which question.
- Other than your writing, what do people compliment you on?
- What books are your guilty pleasure?
- What is your most painful high school memory?
- Writing is hard, why are you going like sixty?
- If you were Queen for a day, what would you do? (remember Queens have no real power)
A. Because I AM sixty and, like yourself, totally in synch with myself! I read an article about writing in the first person by Jeanette Clinkunbroomer (All Out of Heart: A Journalist’s Memoir of the Civil War) in which she said, “In my novel, the narrrator/main character was a man (I’m a woman), and he lived 150 years before me. I might want to lapse into a phrase like ‘It was moving like 60,’ but nothing in 1861 moved like 60, except maybe a cannonball.” What is the equivalent phrase for today? When you and I were younger, going sixty meant fast. Nowadays, if you’re not doing sixty on the expressway, people honk at you to get moving!
Writing CAN be tough. But since I didn’t start writing seriously until I was in my late fifties, I’ve got a lot to do to catch up.
After I got my master’s in writing from DePaul University at age 58, I dug in and began producing pages. Enough pages to make my first mystery novel, PARK RIDGE: A Senior Center Murder. Enough research and pages to get me half-way through the writing of a biography of Theodora Van Wagenen Ward. Enough to make a second book, Senior Games. I also have a stack of mystery short stories!
B. Oh, wow! You’re one of those men! Here I was thinking that we were closer in age, but you’re older than my dad who’s 85! No power?!!
Hmm, Queen for a Day. Do you remember that TV show? It started in 1956. Will you give me a sable-trimmed red velvet robe and jeweled crown? And at the end of the
day will I get a washer and dryer?
Oh, all right. Queen for a Day. No power 🙁
I’d have a cheese and broccoli omelet with a side order of bacon for breakfast before heading to O’Hare to hop a jet for the East Coast. Then I’d have a private guided tour of the National Museum of Art in Washington. I would have lunch with the largest publisher in New York. He/she would offer me a huge contract based on my new status (not my impressive writing ability). I would immediately cash the advance check, getting stacks of fifty dollar bills. Then I’d spend the afternoon counting and re-counting the
money. Once I had washed the dirt off my hands, I would fly to Paris to dine at some place decadent. No need to return home since I took the money with me.
C. My watercolor painting. My sense of humor. My cat.
D. Biographies and memoirs. You really ought to read A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett (1834) — he doesn’t write at all like I imagined Fess Parker
would. Austin and Mabel (Austin was the brother of Emily Dickinson) is a really racy read considering it, too, is from the mid-1800s. Life in the Iron Mills an 1861 classic of social realism by Rebecca Harding Davis made me grateful I didn’t live then.
E. Failing journalism.
Cheryl Hagedorn, former Salvation Army officer, computer programmer, and writing instructor for the Chicago Department of Aging and the Park Ridge Senior Center.
PARK RIDGE: A Senior Center Murder
Available as trade paperback, $14.95 or Ebook, $8.95