Thursday, April 04, 2013

Please Welcome Crime Novelist Mell Corcoran

Omnimystery News: Guest Author Post
by Mell Corcoran

We are delighted to welcome crime novelist Mell Corcoran as our guest.

Mell's new book is Shadows of Doubt (Mill City Press, March 2013 trade paperback and ebook formats), the first in the "Shadow" series.

Today Mell writes about a question she's frequently asked, "Where did you come up with that?"

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Undoubtedly once or twice in a person's life they are asked, "Where did you come up with that?" Whether it be a witty retort, a clever comment, or a little known or obscure factoid, usually the response is that we read it somewhere, heard it from someone, or most likely we saw it on television. For me, personally, that question is often far more complicated then that. I write mystery/crime fiction and my inspirations are endless and know no bounds but until recently I didn't realize just how far back and how deep they went.

Mell Corcoran
Photo provided courtesy of
Mell Corcoran

A few days ago I was asked the "Where did you come up with that?" question and although my answer at the time was brief and cursory, I thought about it for a very long time afterward and realized that my path as a fiction writer was pretty much set when I got my first doll as a child. I grew up in an era that did not have video games or three hundred television channels that ran twenty-four hours a day and on demand. It was my generation that created all that and when I think about it, it was inevitable for those things to be born if anyone had the same type of childhood that I had. Saturday morning cartoons and after school specials were really the bulk of being glued to the television but for the most part when I was told to "go out and play" that mainly meant outside, weather permitting. My toys were everything from dolls to twigs, to any unfortunate bug that happened to be crossing the patio at that particular moment and the worlds I created in my mind ranged from alligator infested swamps to alien planets with seas of molten lava. I was an original Star Trek fan, after all.

I was blessed with a mother who fostered using one's imagination. She set an extra place at the dinner table for our imaginary friends and welcomed them whole heartedly. She saved the umbrella toothpicks for me in case Barbie was taking a Hawaiian vacation sometime in the near future. She made the press badge for my hat when that old crank calculator became my typewriter and I was writing that hard-hitting front page story for my imaginary newspaper. My mother endured losing her good sheets to my tents that I would build in the back yard and many a summer night, she delivered dinner via pony express to the secret entrance just so I could continue my journey in my own make-believe world. I was blessed, indeed.

Had circumstances been different, my life could have gone very wrong. For all intents and purposes I could have made a left turn somewhere in my mind and I quite possibly could now be on large doses of anti-psychotics, in desperate need of a comb and a toothbrush. Fortunately, my family support system did not begin and end with my mother. My aunts and uncles fostered my creative side as well and welcomed my stories and made-up games with open arms. To this day my family laughs at the epic recounting of the dreams that I had as a child. Apparently my dreams were very long and very detailed and I shall never live that down, no matter how old I get.

My childhood, however ordinary was also indeed unique as is my family. We are a mix of writers, law enforcement, tradesmen and artists of one sort or another. The stories told around the table are always rich, vibrant and captivating. I remember as a child I would sit under the dinning room table and listen to my uncles and aunts tell their tales during poker games or over my mother's famous tacos. How could my imagination not run wild? How lucky am I that I figured out how to channel that into my own stories that I now share with the world? Lucky doesn't even begin to cover it.

I feel sorry for these later generations. Their imaginary worlds have been created for them and slapped onto discs or for download all pre-formatted and ready to pop in and participate. But what about creating their own? What about their own adventures? I am encouraged by the massive growth in young adult writers out there because that means that children are still reading. If they are reading that means they are using the words to create a picture in their own head, their own creation but with the words on the page guiding them. Even so, I feel that so much is missing for them. I wish for them the blank canvas that I was given so that they can grow and create their own worlds, their own personalities, their own futures in the brilliant hues that life lays out in abundance for us all when we are young. Maybe that's why I give the beads and string to my cousins' girls rather than the ready-made necklaces. Giving them the room and tools to create just as I was given at their age, maybe in some small way it might help them find their bliss the way that I found mine in my writing.

To answer that question, "Where did I come up with that?" From so many different places in my memories and in my daily life. Being able to string those things together, shape and move them to create a story that my readers can lose themselves in, even if its just for a little while, is something I am so fortunate to be able to do. Absolutely nothing compares to hearing a reader tell me that they laughed out loud or they held their breath while reading my words. If you have ever experienced this, then you know that no dollar value could ever be placed on that feeling. It is truly priceless and a gift. Lucky, lucky me.

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While her formal education and professional background is rooted in law, Mell Corcoran has always had a passion for writing and a deep love of literature regardless of genre. She and her mother, who also happens to be her best friend, are well known for their shared love of a good mystery and crime fiction. When she is not dreaming up new plot lines for a juicy murder mystery, Mell can often be found attempting to play golf, laughing with her family, often at the same time. To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website at

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Shadows of Doubt by Mell Corcoran

Shadows of Doubt
Mell Corcoran
A Shadow Mystery (1st in series)

Los Angeles County's best Detective, Lou Donovan and her partner Vinny DeLuca are thrust into a case where every twist and turn reeks of a possible serial killer on the loose. It's a case Detective Donovan was never supposed to be a part of, but once inside, there was no getting out.

In the midst of Donovan's hunt for the hunter, a second body turns up and once again the case is yanked from her jurisdiction and passed onto LAPD. Have you ever been in far too deep to turn away? Welcome to the world of Detective Donovan. With a little help from her best friend Caroline, an assistant medical examiner for the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, they work to put the pieces together and solve the case.

The deeper they dig, the more layers are uncovered. Add to the mix a mysterious and handsome stranger that throws Lou way off her game. Soon they will discover there are others, outside the normal channels of law enforcement, who have more power and are far more deadly. Donovan's fearless approach to crime has caught up with her and what was once a usual suspects case has now become life or death. Print and/or Kindle Edition  Barnes&Noble Print Edition and/or Nook Book  Apple iTunes iBookstore


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