Four years ago I retired from a thirty-nine-year career in pharmaceutical development, including the FDA, industry and a consulting group. I retired to try my hand at writing fiction novels. I have always been an avid reader. My favorite genres are murder mysteries and science fiction. Being a workaholic by nature, I jumped in with both feet. I started with a couple of dark murder mysteries that involved FBI Agent Donald Cooper and some seriously evil villains. Guardian Angel: Unforgiven included a serial killer and Guardian Angel: Indoctrination a depraved cult leader. I self-published those books. I have had some success at selling them, although back then I didn’t know very much about marketing on social media.
At that point, I had written two murder mysteries with the usual formula. This includes good guys, really bad guys, the inciting incident (murder), the detective takes the case, the investigation proceeds with clues and suspects, perhaps a setback, some twists and turns, the detective’s ‘aha’ moment and the reveal. Granted, it’s difficult to write a murder mystery without following this general formula to some extent. However, I wanted to write something unique, a story like nothing else out there.
I decided to start a new series. Since the Guardian Angel series included dark murder mysteries, I decided to change it up and try my hand at a comedy murder mystery. Because of my career I am very familiar with drug development. I wrote this story as a medical comedy murder mystery staged in the pharmaceutical industry. I’ve heard that you’re supposed to write what you know.
I wanted to push the envelope even further with respect to unique, to reach for comedy of the absurd. I decided to go with an amateur detective in midlife crisis with a jealous and strong-willed wife, adult comedy (as in humorous sexual situations) and a unique murder weapon involving an outrageous drug side effect.
This approach must have worked well. When I submitted the manuscript to agents and publishers, within two weeks I heard back from two publishers, Koehler Books and the Wild Rose Press. They told me that I had a wicked good sense of humor and that the book contained laugh-out-loud comedy. One of them, Koehler Books, came up with the name PLEASURIA: Take As Directed, and published the book in November of 2018. The editors from both of these publishers agreed that there is nothing quite like PLEASURIA out there anywhere, so I guess I nailed ‘unique’.
Writing PLEASURIA (get the book at http://bit.ly/pleasuria) was an interesting process. With my first two books I outlined each chapter carefully from beginning to end. With PLEASURIA, I am very familiar with the pharmaceutical industry, so it didn’t require a lot of research on my part. I wrote the first chapter, the alleged murder, developed the characters, and followed them to the logical conclusion. The story practically wrote itself, no outlining, no definitive path. I didn’t know for sure where the story was going until I got there.
The medical comedy murder mystery seemed like writing two separate books. The first draft included an interesting and coherent murder mystery. I worked hard to color outside the lines as much as possible to make it unique, but it lacked the level of humor that I was shooting for. I needed to write many drafts, adding humor and several additional chapters until I had a story that I was happy with. This why writing a medical comedy murder mystery seemed like writing two books.
I’m currently working on a sequel to PLEASURIA, entitled ‘Dr. Jason Longfellow and the Traveling Killer’. This is another medical comedy murder mystery, and it’s also turning out to be like writing two books, for the same reasons. After this, I think I’m going to go back to dark murder mysteries, where writing the book seems like writing a single book. It’s not as much work, and I could probably write twice as many books in a given year:)