How did Mayonnaise Murders begin? Funny story.
Not quite 20 years ago I reconnected with an old friend of mine whom I had not seen in almost that long. We had completely lost touch. But then, thanks to a newly introduced high school alumnus directory he was able to track me down. Turns out he had founded an education company dedicated to helping kids improve their learning skills online. As a part of that he wanted to know if I would be interested in writing a detective story for kids that would help them learn math and science. It was a bit of a challenge, but if I was willing to give it a go then he and his team were willing to work with me to bring the project to fruition.
I was more than willing to give it a go. At the time I had joined hundreds of my colleagues at the Detroit Free Press who had decided to go on strike. The strike went on for five years and turned out to be one of the longest newspaper strikes – if not the longest newspaper strike – in history. But that’s another story for another time. Point is I was essentially out of a job and looking for stuff to do while the strike wove its way in and around various complications and roadblocks. The chance to free my mind from stressing out over my rapidly eroding finances and other related dilemmas was just what I needed.
I can’t even remember why or how I came up with the title. I’m not even sure I came up with the title first. I think I just started writing, and the more I wrote, the more this strange new world began to unfold itself in front of me, and characters began introducing themselves to me practically fully-formed. I was loving it. So once I got about three chapters in I showed my friend and his team what I had come up with. Good news? They loved it. Bad news is the material was a bit too racy and advanced for the age group they were targeting. I had to agree. The solution was that Mayonnaise Murders became completely mine, no shared ownership, but that I had to start all over again with a completely new storyline for the kids detective story – this time with a sketch outline they gave me providing a better idea what they wanted. More about “Who Stole the Zmulobeast?” in future posts.
I could tell you a whole lot more right now, but my wife says to keep these things short, and she usually knows best, so I’m shutting up for now.
More to come, though. Honest.