Saturday, August 22, 2015

What We're Writing: Julia Spencer-Fleming and HID FROM OUR EYES

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Sorry for getting this posted so late! I have not been writing for the past few days; instead spending the time shopping for dorm stuff, packing and repacking, and then taking the loooong drive to the far north of Maine to deliver Youngest to her new boarding school, the Maine School of Science and Mathematics. We went up Thursday, and the yesterday was the big day - moving in and orientation for all the "First Years" (MSSM's term for all students, regardless of grade, who are entering the school for the first time.)

It was a flurry of unpacking, making the bed, moving furniture, as well as the long limes to check off our financial papers (as  public magnet school, MSSM charges no tuition to Maine residents, but parents do have to pay room and board) drop her allergy meds with the school nurse, set up her mail and get her an account at the local bank... by the time Ross and I hugged and kissed her goodbye, we were so tired we didn't have enough energy to be all emotional! (I confess to getting a little teary in the car, headed back out of town.

We didn't get home until midnight, and fell into bed exhausted. Sorry for the delay in this, another excerpt of HID FROM OUR EYES. This part is the tail end of the morning briefing, four days after the discovery of a dead girl in the middle of a country road.

Paul Urquhart started, his mouth half-open in a yawn. Lyle had moved him off night shift to help with their manpower shortage during the investigation.

Tim and Duane will be splitting the road construction shifts. You're going to be on traffic, and our swing responder.”

Ticketing tourists. Yay.”

Think of them as paying guests. We want them coming back, so use your company manners.”
Paul sketched him a salute. Russ wasn't happy with leaving Paul as the public face of the MKPD, but he'd be worse on the investigation. Russ supported the police union, but sometimes he wished it didn't make it so hard to fire guys like Paul. Being lackadasical on the job and aggressive with motorists wasn't enough. Of course, with the budget the way it was, even if he could get rid of Urquhart, the aldermen wouldn't pay for a replacement. And then he'd be even more shorthanded than he was right now.

Okay,” he said. “Dismissed. Noble, Knox, let me know immediately you find anything.” The group rose, gathering their notebooks and laptops before leaving. He noticed Knox went out of her way to avoid Urquhart, which probably meant Russ was going to have to drag the man into his office for another lecture on respecting his fellow officers.

Trouble there?” Lyle nodded toward the now-empty doorway.

You noticed it, too?”

Ayuh. She's been a lot less chatty, more businesslike with all of us since, you know. The tapes. But she's ducking and weaving to keep away from Paul.”
Russ shook his head. “Christ on a crutch. I must be the only police chief in history who has to deal with one of his people being a former porn star.”
Lyle picked up the cell phone numbers printout. “You could cut her loose, you know. Morals charge.”

I don't want to cut her loose. She's a good cop. Better than Urquhart, for sure. Plus, she needs the job.”

So doesn't Paul. He's paying child support for three kids.”

And Noble won't be able to find a position anywhere else, and Tim and Duane need the health insurance, and being a cop is the only stable thing Eric's got in his life right now. Everybody needs these jobs.”
Lyle grinned. “Excepting maybe us.”

Retirement's looking better and better all the time.” Russ sighed. “I'm going to call a press conference.”

Why on earth for? The 'possible hit-and-run' story ran, and everyone's been satisfied with that.” Lyle leaned against the whiteboard, somehow managing to avoid getting smudges on his summer uniform sleeve. “I get a daily call from the Post-Star and the TV stations, tell 'em we've got no leads, and they're satisfied.”

We've got nothing, Lyle.” Russ gathered up his briefing folders and slid off the table. “No ID, no evidence, no cause of death, no suspects. We've got to shake things loose. I need the girl's face out there. I need people seeing her dress, and hearing some of the details, and calling in with tips. We need to get a—” he twisted his hand in the air, “a handle on something. One thing we can pull on and crack open the rest of what we don't know.”


  1. Sometimes I think it seems like Russ is herding cats . . .
    Thanks for this glimpse into the investigation [and a hint of what's to come with Hadley?]

    I think it's always tough sending the kids, no matter what their age, off to new adventures.

  2. I apologize to any of you who tuned in early this morning to see who was writing what! Hopefully, you're all sleeping in late...

    Although even with, I still can't beat Joan out of the gate! :-)

  3. LOVE your writing Julia, truly, a master class.

    OH, gosh, college first day. TRAUMA. Followed by joy. xoo

  4. What good parents you are to let her go when and where it is best for her.
    Thanks for the heads up on Hadley. We were worried and still are of course.

  5. the youngest is gone? Let the care packages and snail mail cards commence! Always good to catch a glimpse of Clare, Russ, and the MKPD.

  6. I slept late -- no worries!!

    You are the best!

    Good luck with the new adventure for your family.

  7. Best of luck to Youngest, Julia! You and Ross are going to be having a bit of empty nest syndrome, I think...

    Love the excerpt!

  8. What a great picture to grace the Reds blog today, Julia. Your youngest is so full of joy and so cute! She looks excited about her new school adventure.

    So great to read some Russ story today. He usually has his hands full with the different personalities and conflicts in his crew. I'm really wanting to know more about Hadley and how things work out for her, and, of course, I'm still rooting for Hadley and Kevin Flynn to come back together.

    Hope everyone has a great weekend!

  9. Math and science? I am so impressed. Youngest looks so excited and happy too. That is wonderful. I'm always happy to read what Russ is dealing with. Too much going on and not enough hands to deal with it. Boy, do I relate.

  10. That's quite a day Julia! I bet she will thrive and shine at that school. Oh, and I cannot wait for this book. Is there a pub date we can look forward to?

  11. No need to say, "Go, Youngest!" One look at her face says she's in high gear for her new adventure!

    Even a bit late, another snippet of the new book is great, Julia!! CAN. NOT. WAIT. TO. GET. MY. GRUBBY. PAWS. ON. THIS. BOOK!!!!!

  12. Yes, to the excerpt, and to a request for pub date info.

    Does this mean that the Spencer-Fleming household is an empty nest? Ish?

  13. So you and Ross are empty nesting now, Julia? It's always a complicated time when you send your youngest off to school. The day you've waited for, the beginning of your independence again, but at the same time, your baby is leaving! Youngest looks thrilled and excited, however.

    Loved the excerpt. Russ is as cool as usual, and a glimpse of Hadley to whet our curiosity about what's going to happen with her. Can't wait!

  14. Thanks, all!

    We're not quite empty nesters yet - the Smithie is living at home while attending her last semester of grad school this fall, and The Boy is "on leave" from college, trying to figure out his next step. Plus, of course, the two cats and two dogs....sigh.

    No pub date yet, as I have to *ahem* actually finish the book.

  15. Took my oldest to college. Got home, went to the library (where else for comfort) and wandered around wishing your next book was out to be my Balm in Gilead. So glad to find this! Thanks.

  16. I had the opportunity one year to live at school. It was the greatest thing.

    Thank you for a taste of your book. When? Oh when?

  17. Julia, the more I reread you books the more timely they are. You write about this small town but they face the big social issues. As in this excerpt, Lyle's sexism is showing, fire Hadley because Paul is a pig, "he's paying child support on three kids." But so is Hadley caring for her kids. "Morals charges" when he slept with the chiefs wife. Good stuff, keep it coming!

  18. When will Hid From Our Eyes be published? Just finished Through the Evil Days, and I've been personally traumatized by Flynn's resignation (run from Knox).

  19. Pub date? Please, please...don't leave us hanging any longer!

  20. I've read/listened to the previous books so many times, I have segments memorized. Due to brain issues cannot read but must listen. Suzanne Toren is simply amazing! Please please please? Tell us how Gilead is going. I'm desperate! Even my 86 year old are hooked!

  21. Spent the summer of '16 re-reading the entire Clare/Russ series. What a blast! Cannot WAIT for "Hid From Our Eyes". Do we have a date? I' m a church musician, too, so love these texts in each story. Thank you!

  22. Spent the summer of '16 re-reading the entire Clare/Russ series. What a blast! Cannot WAIT for "Hid From Our Eyes". Do we have a date? I' m a church musician, too, so love these texts in each story. Thank you!

  23. I am waiting....not quite patiently....for the next adventure. Do not want to rush your magic, but want you to know Clare and Russ have many friends who want to catch up with them.