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For me, every novel begins with character rather than plot. I know something bad is going to happen, but the central question to every story I write is "how will my characters respond?" Over the years, I’ve certainly thrown some hard times at my Grant County characters. Jeffrey, Sara and Lena have changed a lot since Blindsighted, my first novel. They’ve seen hardship and adversity, grown together and grown apart. They have helped me explore the way crime can change not just people, but entire communities.
When I started writing about Will Trent in my Atlanta series, I wanted to take that exploration a step farther. As a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Will is generally called in when the local police either can’t handle or don’t want to deal with a case. Not only does he have to find the bad guy, he has to juggle the various egos already involved. This is certainly the situation in Broken, when Will is called into Grant County to investigate a possible suicide in police custody. He butts heads with Lena Adams and Frank Wallace, and uncovers a truth that most in the town do not want to see.
Bringing Will Trent into Sara Linton’s world was a fun challenge for me. With Undone, it was in many ways easy to put Sara in Atlanta. I live in the city, and the landscape is already painted for me. As a writer, I need only draw in the fine lines. Dropping Will into Grant County was a different...