Creating a New Narrator with Pauline McCrory-Keegan in "To The Bone"


Branching Off the Keegan Mystery Series with a New Narrator

When I first introduced Pauline McCrory-Keegan in the Keegan Mystery series, I had no idea she would resonate so deeply with readers. Her character brought a unique strength and depth to the stories, complementing John Keegan's introspective and often sarcastic nature. As her presence grew in each book, it became clear that Pauline had a story of her own to tell.

She started as sort of a foil to John Keegan, her strength in the face of adversity keeping him centered. But, for a while, I felt she became a little too much of a trope. In books like The Fallen, she takes on a larger role, savior to her husband actively, and demanding more page-time. Unfortunately, she took a back seat to the plot in Never Look Back, and I knew I had to right that wrong.

In The Lies That Bind Us, I experimented with a dual narrative, allowing readers to dive into Pauline's perspective alongside John's. This choice was met with overwhelming enthusiasm. Pauline's voice was a fresh and compelling addition, bringing new layers to the unfolding mysteries. Her character's presence and likability inspired me to take a bold step: dedicating an entire novel to her perspective. I found writing for Pauline both challenging and incredibly rewarding, and I knew something would eventually come of it.

To The Bone is the result of that inspiration. Writing this book is not just a creative outlet, but an emotional journey. It allows me to explore the complexities of Pauline’s character in ways I hadn’t before. Through her eyes, we see the world differently – with a blend of vulnerability and tenacity that makes her uniquely captivating. I get to write in the same universe I've gotten accustomed to but with fresh eyes and more fertile ground to mine.

Pauline’s journey in To The Bone begins in the picturesque town of St. Michaels, Maryland, where she seeks refuge from her tumultuous marriage to John and the heart-wrenching distance from her children. The serene beauty of St. Michaels contrasts sharply with the gritty urban streets she must navigate to solve the disappearance of twelve-year-old Melissa Carver. This stark contrast mirrors Pauline's own struggles as she battles her demons and seeks redemption. Though she has in many ways created the rift between her and John, no relationship obstacles can be blamed on one partner. John's stubbornness in the face of adversity serves him personally but makes matters worse for the relationship.

Writing from Pauline’s perspective is a refreshing change, a creative challenge that reignited my passion for storytelling. Her voice allowed me to delve deeper into themes of loss, hope, and the relentless pursuit of truth. She has this connection to harsh truths right at the surface as opposed to John's burial of things he finds uncomfortable. She shares a lot with her husband in terms of personality, but the differences come about so strongly that it makes each page a new journey. Through her, I explored the emotional toll of balancing professional duties with personal turmoil, a narrative that many readers can relate to on a profound level. 

Pauline’s character is a testament to resilience. She comes from a time when women were still not accepted in the NYPD and blazed a new trail for them. She still holds the guilt of her generation, the pull to be a worker and a homemaker, something perhaps many women still struggle with today, even with all the social advancements we've made. No generation or time period stands as a monolith, and Pauline's battle, to me at least, reflects a portion of society still affected by both the sins and the perceived simplicity of the past. Her determination to find Melissa, despite her own personal struggles, highlights the strength that lies within all of us. It’s a reminder that even in our darkest moments, there is a glimmer of hope, a chance for redemption and renewal.

To The Bone is more than just a mystery; it’s a journey of self-discovery for both Pauline and myself as a writer. In it, I must face the contrasts between the past and the present and understand that we all carry remnants of previous thoughts and behaviors that somehow must align with current ways of living. It’s about peeling back the layers to reveal the raw, unfiltered truth – a process that cuts straight to the bone.

I hope readers will embrace this new branch of the Keegan Mystery series with the same enthusiasm that has carried us this far. Pauline’s story is one of courage, vulnerability, and unwavering determination. It’s a narrative that I’m incredibly proud to share, and I can’t wait for you to experience her world in To The Bone.

Thank you for your continued support and for joining me on this new adventure. Here’s to new beginnings and the uncharted paths that lie ahead.


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