People ask me why I decided to set a new series in Montana. After all, I’ve pretty much settled into New Orleans. Well, the truth of the matter was that I wanted a new, fresh extremely different locale for LEFT TO DIE and the books that follow in the series. I figured a small podunk fictional town like Grizzly Falls was nearly a one-eighty in atmosphere from the French Quarter or Garden District of the Crescent City. I wanted away from the southern bayous and into the mountains of the west.
What I didn’t expect was the new characters and how I’d come to love them. I’m a small town girl at heart–born and raised in a tiny timber town in Oregon–and so the back-woodsy rural part was natural. But the characters, wow. First of all the heroine, Jillian Rivers is on the warpath, trying to find out if her first husband, the one whom she thought died in the jungles of South American, the jerk who left her holding the bag when he disappeared and owed tons of investors money, might be alive. Then there’s the hero, Zane MacGregor, a loner’s loner, sexy as hell and once charged with murder, who has no interest in any woman. My killer’s a true psycho, the kind I love to write about, the kind of serial killer who leaves cryptic notes for the police. Finally there is a pair of female homicide detectives whom I adore.
My editor originally suggested two female cops and I resisted the idea; they just never came to mind. But when I started writing LEFT TO DIE, twice-married, wild single mother Regan Pescoli entered my head and she pulled her partner, tightly-wound, secretive Selena Alvarez with her. They are partners in the Pinewood County Sheriff’s Department. Those two hard-headed women just wouldn’t go of me. Together with the main characters of the story and the crazies that inhabit Grizzly Falls, Montana, I became lost in my story.
Currently, I’m creating myspace pages for Regan and Pescoli—I know, kinda weird–but I really do love them both and they are with some of the more interesting townspeople in a character gallery and map I’m putting up on my web site at lisajackson.com. Come and visit, see if they match your vision of the town. Let me tell you, Pinewood County is where it’s happening!
I loved writing it. No kidding.