Full-Circle, or How to Roll When Your Past Writing Goodness Boomerangs Back to You

“And last, and most certainly least…” Devereux motioned toward the last member of the group. “This handsome devil is my little brother, Parris.”

This must be what a deer feels like right before the car hits, Kate thought to herself as she looked at the young man standing up in front of her. To call Parris Devereux handsome was an unbelievable understatement. The man was gorgeous, beyond gorgeous. His hazel-blue eyes were framed by miles of dark eyelashes, and Kate thought it might be physically possible to drown in them if she looked for too long. His jawline was square and covered by a well-kept growth of beard, a sensual mouth with soft full lips finishing off his face. He was slender, but athletically built, though Kate noticed his hands were like those of a musician as he offered one to her.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, Miss Gardener.” His voice was soft, yet decidedly masculine, and had that deliciously well-educated RP cadence that was so highly sought-after by thespians and politicians alike.


Excerpt from “De Profundis”, Kate Gardener Mysteries #2

It’s funny how you often come full-circle. In life, it can mean going back to your home town, or returning to the arms of your first love. In writing, it usually means coming back to something that was in those first drafts and notes months, even years ago.

In the early days, when Kate Gardener was born (around 2002-2005), the stories and characters went through several incarnations. There was even a brief period when the story was going to be set in London 1893. Eventually, the story came back to modern times, new characters were added and the storylines took shape. At one time, I literally had five 13-episode seasons worth of story blurbs, plus character bios and everything!

Back to the full-circle topic. Back when KGM was just “Yard Work”, and the year was 1893, a character named Doyle was born. Doyle was young, 18 to 20 years old, and a street-smart Glaswegian who jaunted about London and into the life (and eventually, bed!) of Kathleen Gardener.

When the time and such changed, Doyle moved forward, becoming an Irishman with a great talent for undercover work, languages and generally fucking-up his life. He and Kate met as a one-night-stand, and became close friends throughout the course of the series, though the physical relationship did not continue. Doyle was from an upper-class family, despite his grubbiness, and was very well-educated. He was a very heroic character, and I knew that people watching “Yard Work” as a TV show were going to love him.

Now that I’ve moved on to adapting the scripts and outlines into books, I’ve found myself sifting through the notes and bits I made over the past 15 years, looking for goodness that can be worked back into the overall story arc. I wasn’t planning on creating anything new, but sometimes when you start writing, you find something, or someone, and it just clicks. Kind of like real life.

When I was working the other night on the chapter that contains the passage up above, I started out just writing up a simple scene that originally focused only on Kate and barrister Jerome Wilkinson. The context: Kate goes to question Wilkinson about cigars at a cigar bar. As I developed this chapter, Wilkinson went from being alone to being out with some former school mates from Oxford, members of a club (think Bullingdon or “The Riot Club”). This club, and the members, could possibly turn up in future stories, so I wanted to make sure that they made suitable impressions in appearance and personality. I “cast” them in my head and proceeded to introduce them to readers as they are, in fact, introduced to Kate. And it all went along normally until I hit the last intro…

And it was like really being thunderstruck by a real person… And in a split second, I realized that this character was not only going to be important to future stories, but to Kate on a personal level. I realized that, in a strange way, I had circled back to those early drafts set in 1893… back to the original “Doyle”. Sure, the new character of Parris is decidedly not poor, but his youth and charm, as well as his easy way of stepping up to Kate’s side whenever needed, were totally the original version of Doyle. Will the other version of Doyle make an appearance in time? Possibly. He’s still a good, likeable character and if the story requires him to make his entrance, it would be difficult to keep him out.

Another fun note: When I cast Parris Devereux and his brother, Oliver, I kind of pictured two specific actors — Douglas Booth and Tom Hiddleston. Then, what should show up on my Pinterest page?


Funny, huh? I don’t know if my description of Parris truly does Douglas justice but…

<sigh> Sorry, I just drifted into the cougar zone there for a moment… down, girl… Okay, what was I doing? 😉

Back to work! Chapter 11 calls!


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