When I was a little girl my father had a book about people who had disappeared never to be seen again. I was about ten pr eleven years old. My mother did not think it was appropriate reading for a child. She may have been right. But I shared my father’s interest in mysteries and crime. I often raided Daddy’s stash of books. Growing up on Sherlock Holmes, Edgar Allen Poe, Dashiell Hammet, and Raymond Chandler to name a few, were flavorful fodder for a young inquisitive mind. To this day I wonder what happened to Judge Crater, why did Agatha Christie go off the grid for ten days, and what happened to Amelia Earhart? How can a person just disappear?
Of course with early literary nourishment as I had it is only natural that my first published book should be something of a mystery. I began with the question; did Lee Harvey Oswald assassinate President John F Kennedy? Why would he do it? Why wouldn’t he do it? Then I began to wonder why Jack Ruby, by all accounts a low level hood who owned a strip club, why would he shoot the accused assassin? And how did he get into that basement with a gun, killing a man surrounded by police and press? There were so many questions unanswered about those terrible days. Tales of conspiracies and conspirators filled volumes of books, newspapers, and magazines. Speculation on who did what and why flooded every form of media back then and it continues today.
After extensive research I developed my own theories. It was a small step on to develop a story idea. Suppose Lee Oswald did not die? Suppose he managed somehow to escape and survive, creating a new identity? How long could he live before someone found him and exposed him? What would happen then?
“View From the Sixth Floor” was born rather quickly once it was conceived. Some of the twists and turns surprised even me. I created an Oswald based partly on what I had read about the man and partly on what I thought he might have become over time. Tormented and troubled, years of living a semi-normal life mellowed him. Softened by his ability to remain hidden in plain sight he does not see the dangers encroaching on his comfortable existence until it is almost too late. He certainly does not see the love affair that will change his future for better or worse.
It may sound like ego but I truthfully fell in love with my own book. I loved the characters, the settings, the story. I re-read it a few days ago just to see if I felt the same way. I do. I hope everyone will fall in love with the book. I hope everyone will see the characters I created as real people. Most of all I hope it will make people think. Suppose all the answers we think we have are wrong? Will we ever know the truth? Does anyone know the truth? Has everyone who knows what happened in those fateful days already died? Will someone one day open a discarded dusty file in some locked room and finally be able to say, “Here’s the truth.” Maybe my children or grandchildren will learn what I would love to know. Maybe I am not so far from the truth myself.
Birth of a Book, Mystery Solved