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#HeistClub: Writing Classified

BY GEORGETTE S. GONZALES

I am not a stranger to crime fiction. As a young reader, I devoured Nancy Drew stories. Although many of the cases Nancy handled as a young sleuth were not the hardcore of crime as many adults know it from books for more mature audiences (ones that I enjoy now as an adult), I can say that Nancy, her friends Bess and George, their boys Ned, Burt and Dave, and series author Carolyn Keene were responsible for igniting in me the desire to uncover whodunnit, how and why.

And then I became a published author.

No, I didn’t go into writing crime fiction at once. I stumbled into it quite by accident.

My alter ego was born into the world of Tagalog romance in 2003—Edith Joaquin of My Special Valentine,  published by Bookware Publishing Corp. Six more years would pass before I wrote anything resembling crime fiction—Safe In Your Arms, the story of an Army Lieutenant and a female NBI agent.

I enjoyed writing the story so much and I loved the research that went with it. I came up with a few more books highlighting men in law enforcement and military men. With each book, I received great feedback from fellow authors and from readers. Apparently, I had the knack for coming up with mystery-suspense stories.

So then sometime in 2011, a fellow author handed to me four plots for a Charlie’s Angels type of series highlighting kick-ass girls. Author friend said she believed I could write it better than she ever could. That she had high hopes for the series, and rather than risk getting it botched by her lack of flair for action, she’d rather I took over.

Well, I haven’t gotten down to writing them yet. But I have started on the first book and readers who have read Classified will get to read them soon-ish.

Available here

Speaking of Classified, I had thought of using the first of the hand-me-down plots for my #HeistClub submission. (#HeistClub was an online class for writing crime fiction organized by Mina V. Esguerra in 2015) But I had just read a written piece by an online friend on his personal experience as an American missionary to Mindoro at a time when militarization was rife in the area. At the time, I had also just watched PETA’s remounting of a 2006 play by Dr. Nic Tiongson, which is Noli Fili Dekada 2000, a modernized and updated version of, yes, Dr. Jose Rizal’s classics.

To add, I had a brief in my hard drive’s plots folder for a story inspired by the movie Shanghai (starring John Cusack, Li Gong, and Chow Yun Fat). Classified then became an aggregate of these three, and an introduction to the story of the girls.

I am still struggling with moving on with the next book but I believe it won’t be too long now before I am able to smoothly weave the story of the Black Rose. Until then, I shall immerse myself in research (and other work unrelated to Rose’s story), and fall down the rabbit hole of web information on drugs, espionage, biological weapons and combat. ☁️

#HeistClub is a community of Filipino crime fiction writers. Watch this space to read more from them.
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