Lorraine writes the Jeff Resnick paranormal suspense series and the Booktown cozy mystery series under the name Lorna Barrett. Her current books are MURDER IS BINDING and DEAD IN RED.
“My cousin is dead.”
Those words, in my latest paranormal suspense novel, DEAD IN RED, start Jeff Resnick on an adventure to find a pair of sparkling red, stiletto shoes--and possibly save a life.
Talk about a woo-woo moment, when I wrote that line of dialog, a picture flashed in my mind of these beautiful, sparkling shoes and I gave that image to my protagonist. Then I didn’t do anything with the story for several months. But I went on a quest for those shoes.
Unlike a large portion of the women our society, I did not receive the “shoe” gene. I don’t go shopping for them. I live in Crocs. I love them! (Hey, they cured my plantar fasciitis.) I haven’t worn a heel higher than half an inch in 17 years.
I remember watching MOONLIGHTING and checking to see if they filmed Cybil Sheppard’s feet, because it was well known she refused to wear uncomfortable shoes, opting instead for track shoes. She wasn’t about to abuse her Achilles tendons.
When I read that, it made a lot of sense. I started wearing more comfortable shoes. The hell with fashion, Cybil was right: comfort came first. I began to wear a hat and leg warmers in winter. too. (Okay, the leg warmers were a fashion disaster, but I wasn’t freezing in my pantyhose like the rest of the women at the office and it was a LONG walk from the parking lot to my building.)
Getting back to the new book… Why was I, who had no interest in shoes, so fascinated by those sparkling red ones? I did Internet searches. I printed out scores of pretty red shoes and I could find nothing like what I’d pictured in my mind. And what were those sparkles? Were they sequins, rhinestones, or just glued-on sparkles? I was never sure. I mean, I’d only gotten a flash of a mental image. (I’m not as good as my protagonist when it comes to tuning into woo-woo wavelengths.)
My publisher likes input on covers. I’d blown it last time by not sending a visual. Instead of one Phrenology head, I got four. Ick! This time, I had a concept and with the help of my former graphic-designer husband, we put it together. But the shoes didn’t work. I found a pair of black shoes with rhinestones, and they were the closest to what I think I imagined. A little Photoshop action, and voila! Red! We sent off the cover idea and crossed our fingers.
Well, you can imagine my surprise and delight when the real cover came through. The shoes were perfect! And they were stock photography. Add that to a cool blend of gray to black and I had a really wonderful cover. (My second this year. Do I dare hope for a repeat when my next book comes out in February?)
Everyone has commented on the shoes. Men especially seem to appreciate them. My husband in particular. “Can’t you ever wear something like that?”
Okay, I would--if you paid me a million dollars. (Okay, I’d do it for a hundred, but don’t tell my husband that.)