Finders Keepers

Mass Market Paperback $7.99

Bantam | Apr 26, 2005 | 480 Pages | 4-3/16 x 6-7/8 | ISBN 9780553587982

  • Ebook$7.99

    Bantam | Apr 26, 2005 | ISBN 9780553901801

Author Q&A

From Sleuthing to Starships: One Author’s Journey
By Linnea Sinclair


Let’s start with the facts: I’m a retired private investigator who writes science fiction and fantasy. Believe me, I know that makes no sense because–believe me–the dichotomy between my two careers has frequently been pointed out to me. I’m told I should be writing mysteries, cozies, gum-shoe noir.

But I don’t. I write fast-paced, fun, space-opera stories.

Why? It’s not because I didn’t love being a PI. I did. It’s just that investigations wasn’t my first choice of professions. Being a starship captain was.

However, there’s the slight problem in that starships have not yet been invented.

So I opted for my second favorite career while pursing my first favorite solely on paper.

Not that being a PI was a waste. Far from it. Subject Biographic Questionnaires, found in most PI case files, make terrific character bio sheets. The reverse thinking process that’s so helpful in discerning a subject’s motivation works just as well for creating the motivations for a book’s characters. I’m not quite sure what I learned from sitting surveillance for five hours in 92-degree heat–in an un-airconditioned van–but trust me, it’ll show up in a scene in one of my books, somehow, somewhere. The locale won’t be a quaint Florida beach town but a pirate-plague rim world. And instead of van in a marina parking lot, it’ll be a small cargo storage shed at a ramshackle space port.

If my characters are adept at tweaking computer programs–‘wogs and weemlies’ I call ‘em in Finders Keepers–know that’s because I maintained my PI agency’s computer systems and attendant spy-toys. Small PI agencies don’t have big tech budgets. Just like small independent starfreighter captains don’t have bulging bank accounts.

I know what it’s like to have a gun pointed in my face. Okay, so it was a sheriff deputy’s Glock and not a laser rifle. Moot point. I learned (and so my characters know) what it feels like to be forcibly calm while terrified (I also learned that just because you’ve told the S.O. dispatcher that you’re sitting surveillance on a certain street doesn’t mean that same dispatcher will inform his replacement when he goes off-shift). That deputy could have just as easily been an intergalactic bounty hunter. And the dispatcher’s oversight? Bureaucratic foibles plague my star-faring characters with annoying regularity.

So with all my detective experience, why do I write science fiction? Because it offers me a canvas that is so much larger than any aspect of real life. With SF I can take my characters and my plots beyond the limits of my experience. Motivations, emotions (and yes, I write emotion), conflicts and complications are simply that much more intense when played out against an unknown galaxy’s star field. Stakes are higher. Passions are deeper. Threats are deadlier.

And–at least in my books–all intergalactic surveillance vans can be air-conditioned.


From the Paperback edition.

 

From Sleuthing to Starships: One Author’s Journey
By Linnea Sinclair


Let’s start with the facts: I’m a retired private investigator who writes science fiction and fantasy. Believe me, I know that makes no sense because–believe me–the dichotomy between my two careers has frequently been pointed out to me. I’m told I should be writing mysteries, cozies, gum-shoe noir.

But I don’t. I write fast-paced, fun, space-opera stories.

Why? It’s not because I didn’t love being a PI. I did. It’s just that investigations wasn’t my first choice of professions. Being a starship captain was.

However, there’s the slight problem in that starships have not yet been invented.

So I opted for my second favorite career while pursing my first favorite solely on paper.

Not that being a PI was a waste. Far from it. Subject Biographic Questionnaires, found in most PI case files, make terrific character bio sheets. The reverse thinking process that’s so helpful in discerning a subject’s motivation works just as well for creating the motivations for a book’s characters. I’m not quite sure what I learned from sitting surveillance for five hours in 92-degree heat–in an un-airconditioned van–but trust me, it’ll show up in a scene in one of my books, somehow, somewhere. The locale won’t be a quaint Florida beach town but a pirate-plague rim world. And instead of van in a marina parking lot, it’ll be a small cargo storage shed at a ramshackle space port.

If my characters are adept at tweaking computer programs–‘wogs and weemlies’ I call ‘em in Finders Keepers–know that’s because I maintained my PI agency’s computer systems and attendant spy-toys. Small PI agencies don’t have big tech budgets. Just like small independent starfreighter captains don’t have bulging bank accounts.

I know what it’s like to have a gun pointed in my face. Okay, so it was a sheriff deputy’s Glock and not a laser rifle. Moot point. I learned (and so my characters know) what it feels like to be forcibly calm while terrified (I also learned that just because you’ve told the S.O. dispatcher that you’re sitting surveillance on a certain street doesn’t mean that same dispatcher will inform his replacement when he goes off-shift). That deputy could have just as easily been an intergalactic bounty hunter. And the dispatcher’s oversight? Bureaucratic foibles plague my star-faring characters with annoying regularity.

So with all my detective experience, why do I write science fiction? Because it offers me a canvas that is so much larger than any aspect of real life. With SF I can take my characters and my plots beyond the limits of my experience. Motivations, emotions (and yes, I write emotion), conflicts and complications are simply that much more intense when played out against an unknown galaxy’s star field. Stakes are higher. Passions are deeper. Threats are deadlier.

And–at least in my books–all intergalactic surveillance vans can be air-conditioned.

Wordandfilm.com
Back to Top