How I Began My Book
Years ago, my legal secretary complimented my writing and said I should write a book. I chuckled and replied that I didn’t have anything to write a book about. Today I do and WHEN TOMORROW NEVER COMES will be out in 2017.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, I began writing my book in Issaquah, WA during the winter of 1989-1990. I had moved as far away as I could from my hometown of Shreveport, LA following Julie, Tom, and Sean Grissom’s murders. From my undergrad psychology studies, I learned that writing down your innermost thoughts and feelings while going through a tough time is cathartic and therapeutic. I was going through a very tough time after their murders so I began writing a daily journal to help me deal with all I was fearing, feeling, and experiencing. As the days and weeks slowly passed during that gray and snowy winter, with the trail of the Grissom killer growing colder by the day and the odds of finding the killer dwindling with each passing day, I grew increasingly frustrated. I believed someone must know something that would lead to the killer and to stop him from killing again. A good book about the murders could prompt that someone to come forward, but I didn’t know any writers. And, as I thought through it, I doubted that any writer would write a book about three murders when no killer had been found. But, while looking over my growing journal, it finally dawned on me that maybe I should write it.
Although I had done a lot of writing during my legal career, it was mostly court filings like motions or briefs. While every one of my cases was a story that needed to be told to a judge or jury, my legal writing was not like writing a novel or true crime book. Especially after taking a couple of writing courses at LSU, I had received compliments on my writing from friends, secretaries, and even a few judges. I had also read many good books in my life. So I decided to try to write my own book to inspire someone to come forward to help find the killer.
Partly as therapy and partly as my way to help find the killer, I began writing what I initially called Julie’s Story and began an independent Grissom Murder investigation. It ultimately led to a man already charged with five other murders who I believed could also be Julie’s killer.
I got some encouragement about my book idea when I heard Seattle news report that a first time local author had written the bestselling Stranger Beside Me book about her experience working with serial killer Ted Bundy. Curious to know what she might think about my book, I looked up her published Seattle telephone number and called Ann Rule.
I left a brief message about who I was and the book I had started and asked her to call me. I really didn’t expect she would have time to return my call, but a couple of days later a sweetsounding Ann Rule called and invited me to meet with her at an upcoming writers’ workshop where she was speaking. After she spoke at the conference, we met for about an hour. I gave her newspaper clippings, a sample of my book, and a rough plot summary. A few days later, she called to say my book was compelling and the most intriguing true crime story she had ever heard and encouraged me to complete my book. She liked it enough that she even recommended me and my book to her New York City literary agency.
Never having thought about writing a book and knowing almost nothing about the literary and publishing world, I did not realize at the time what a compliment and break Ann Rule’s recommendation was. But I did realize what an opportunity it was for this novice writer when her literary agency wanted to represent me and sell my book to a major publisher.
Unfortunately, the agency wanted to represent me only if I wrote it as a straight truecrime book. Although I began this book as a true crime book, as I wrote I realized that just as importantly, it was a spiritual story sparked by an eerie dream about Julie Grissom that awoke me only minutes after her murder. I explained to the agent that I could not eliminate the spiritual aspect of my story from the murder plot and
passed up a golden opportunity, especially for a first-time writer.
I have struggled to go on with my life since that literary agency and publishing opportunity as years have passed without completing my book. As it turned out, it was best that I did not sign with the agency. It was because national newsworthy developments in the murder and spiritual story since then have made this an even richer and more compelling true story.
Since those developments, I have needed to look after my father before completing my book. My father had a stroke so I moved back to home for a few months to be his caregiver and help him gracefully pass. But those few months stretched into over seven years until my father recently died from a second stroke.
I am determined to turn something very bad into something very good by making this world a little better through sharing what I have learned from my journey following Julie, Tom, and Sean’s murders. So, today I am finally pursing my passion completing my book and a screenplay of it.