Continuing the discussion of The Peace Tree Mystery.
It was decided to add the word ‘mystery’ to the title. The hope was to gain more attention than just The Peace Tree. There is a mystery involved but don’t think it’s a typical private investigator or police procedural story.
Despite the frustrations I felt in the months before publication, I did have fun writing many of the chapters. I tried to stick with the original visions of each.
Jacob Wildcrow – Part of the Sac and Fox tribe. Widower. Used to own an artifact and gift store in Harvey. He is a caretaker around Lake Red Rock. Lives in an Airstream trailer. Spry and energetic for his age.
Grace Snow – Jacob’s granddaughter. Vet in Ames. Grew up separated from her Indian heritage. Her Indian name is Gray Swan.
Justin ‘Digger’ Clay – Yeah, nice play on words considering he’s into archaeology. History teacher at the high school. Enjoys cigars and will often take a few moments to contemplate the current smoke. When I wrote extra scenes with him, I had to inquire the original writer of his character to learn about certain cigars this character would enjoy.
Bubba and Cole Smith – Brothers who live south of Knoxville in a trailer. They produce meth and grow marijuana and make their money selling both. Bubba is a bit overweight. One of their early scenes had them arguing over certain words. I made that a running theme throughout the book.
Unfortunately, the Peace Tree is no more. Well, I shouldn’t say it’s totally gone. The last remnant of it has been preserved by a conservation group and is on display. During the original writing of this, weather and time took out the tree that was still standing in the lake.
One particular scene I really enjoyed revising featured the Smith brothers and what REALLY happened to the Peace Tree. (At least I like our version better than what others may say. Lol.)
The brothers provide a lot of comedy relief.
Peter White aka Kyle Brewer – Chicago gangster, womanizer, works as a clerk in the hardware store.
He had some scenes written by someone in the original group effort. While most of the group had no issue with them, there was a remark about the use of profanity. When I was revising and writing chapters, I remembered this. While there are ‘adult’ scenes (not sexually graphic or gore, just adult material), there is no profanity. Well, there might be a ‘hell’ somewhere.
Writing no profanity with a gangster was a little difficult. Also challenging was finding non-profane insults for the Smith brothers to throw at each other.
Kathryn Van Steele – Short, blonde, real estate developer. Justin’s girlfriend at the beginning of the book.
Hank Oliver– Owner of the hardware store. Volunteer fireman. On the city council.
Brett Lockridge– Marion County sheriff
Rudy – Lives in Flagler. I loved writing this character. He was included in the original effort. His scene includes Grace and Justin on part of their journey to find the sacred bundle. When researching to be able to revise/rewrite the scene, I visited Flagler. It’s a very small town near Knoxville. While I created the old mine that the characters visit, I didn’t invent the house where Rudy lives. The one in the story is based on actual property. Wow! As I mentioned, I love this character and had fun writing this chapter and the subsequent one with the Smith brothers.
Next week, let’s wrap up this discussion with one more point about The Peace Tree Mystery.