My Writing Style... Do I have one? By A.. Y. Stratton

December 19 2014

My Writing Style…Wait, do Have One? By A. Y. Stratton


My writing style is definitely “freestyle.” I plan the first scene, setting up the characters and a bit of the plot, and then I let the characters collide and react.

Travel inspired the plot for my first book. My husband and I were on a tour through Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize, visiting Mayan ruins. I remember the moment our guide stood at the top of an ancient staircase and mentioned how the Mayans made paper from dried bark of a fig tree or deer skin, coated with stucco, and used it to record their history. I found that fascinating. When the Conquistadores arrived in the new world in the 16th Century, they followed orders and burned every codex they found, because it was the work of the devil.

What a loss to the world! I keep thinking what if that there was one codex? What if my hero found it? And Buried Heart was off and running.

I wrote the first scene of Buried Secrets on a summer morning. I’d been thinking about a young woman and a young man sneaking into the same house on the same night. My challenge was to give each of them a good reason to risk burglary charges.

After several stabs (not literal stabs), I decided my female protagonist was on a mission to retrieve important papers for her grandmother. (At first I had no idea then what the papers would be or why they were in a stranger’s home, but I knew they had to be in a hidden drawer. Don’t we all love mysteries with a hidden drawer?)

To make my heroine’s task tougher, I set the story in my home town, Milwaukee, in the midst of a whirling snow storm.  (The weather, I have learned, can play a vital part in a story.) 

My husband’s brother and his wife lived in the perfect house for the opening scene.  Of course my heroine’s escapade wasn’t going to be easy. To complicate her mission, a young lawyer had entered the house before her. He too was on a quest. While the two are having a stand-off over who should leave, someone else arrives, and the two flee into a closet. While they are hiding, they overhear a murder.

(When I finished that scene, I called my sister-in-law and told her I had killed someone in her bedroom.)    

My next story (tentatively titled Buried Temptation, unfinished, so far) begins with a young woman helping her grandmother clean out her house before she moves to a nursing home. In the attic the granddaughter finds Mayan artifacts that seem to be rare, valuable, and obviously stolen. Of course there’s a handsome guy who happens to be a G-man tracking down those artifacts. I added a few dead bodies, always a fun tough) and bango, I have plenty of conflict and a new romantic mystery! Do I know how it’s going to end? No, but I know there will be some romantic scenes. 

I hope my readers enjoy the romance, along with a few hours away from their jobs, and their worries. I also hope they will lose some  sleep when they can’t put the book down!