Unringing the Bell
by Judy Higgins
In the small town of Goose Bend, Pennsylvania, people don’t forget. Especially something as sensational as 12-year-old Jacob Gillis burning down the town. Nineteen years later, Jacob returns, hoping for redemption. Instead, he finds himself entangled in a murder investigation. The prosecutor, taking advantage of Jacob’s involvement with the victim’s beautiful sister-in-law, threatens Jacob with loss of career and reputation if he doesn’t play by his rules. Only by outwitting the prosecutor can Jacob save his future.
When Jacob Gillis was twelve years old, he burned down the town of Goose Bend, Pennsylvania. The fire didn’t actually consume the entire town – only two blocks of the four-block business section went up in flames – but when the folks in Goose Bend spoke of the incident, they persisted in saying that Jacob Gillis, abetted by his friend Charlie Garrett, burned down the town.
Jacob watched Laskey walk back to the Sequoia, his limp barely detectable, and for the thousandth time he wondered why his friend kept what had happened to his foot a secret. But there were some places Laskey didn’t go – formidable Laskey with his gruff manner and hard-muscled body. He was a private person and sometimes a grizzly bear, but he had a goose-down heart which he tried like heck to hide. But Jacob knew.
Laskey grasped the arms of his chair and pushed his feet hard against the floor to contain himself. For a brief moment, the thought had rushed through his head that a jail term for assaulting a DA would be worth enduring for the pleasure of smashing Inglehook’s head against his desk.
Laskey squared his shoulders, turned around, and looked Jacob in the eyes. “Don’t get yourself in a mess, Jake. Extrication isn’t always possible.” He started for the door.
“Give back the painting,” he called over his shoulder. “And Jake,” he paused and twisted around. “Don’t ever mistake pretty wrappings for the quality of the gift inside.”
- What is the sweetest thing someone has done for you?
I have three older grandchildren who take the time to call me “just to talk.” And they always ask how my book is coming.
- How would you spend ten thousand bucks?
Oh dear! Here is a list for my consideration: 1) Take the mailboat cruise up the coast of Norway. 2) Go to Machu Pichu before they close it down. 3) Take the Queen Mary II for a cruise across the Atlantic, winding up in London or Paris, and then take the ship back again. 4) Set up a real library in the school I once visited in the Long Neck tribe region of Thailand where their library consisted of nothing more than a plastic box containing a couple dozen books. 4) Make a contribution to a xxxxxx promoting libraries. 5) Put a new roof on my house.
- Where do you get your best ideas?
My brain is like a radio, and it’s tuned into the “Idea” channel. Ideas float in, rain in, barge in, sneak in, force themselves in. The challenge is to figure out which ones are good and which bad.
- What comes first, the plot or characters?
The two have to intertwine to make a good story. I was once in an evening class of about eighteen people. A third of the members were either students in an MFA program and had already finished an MFA program. They wrote beautifully. The rest of us had never had a writing class of any kind. As it turned out, not a single one of the MFAers had a story. That isn’t always the case, I know, but in this particular class it was. The rest of us admired and envied their style, their xxxxx, but we kept waiting to hear the story. It’s nice to write beautifully, but the characters have to want something badly, or be devastated, frightened, broken because they’ve lost something or stand to lose something, and then the plot has to revolve around that. There are any number of mysteries I don’t care for simply because they’re only about solving the riddle. I don’t care about solutions if the characters aren’t much affected by the solutions, or lack of solutions. The beautiful writers in that class wrote great physical descriptions of their characters, but since the descriptions were unrelated to a real story the rest of us weren’t pulled in.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Judy Higgins was born in South Georgia where she grew up playing baseball, reading, and taking piano lessons. To pay for her lessons, she raised chickens and sold eggs to neighbors. She attended Mercer University for two years, and then Baylor University from which she graduated with a BA in German. She received her MA in German literature from The University of Michigan. After teaching German for several years, Judy decided to become a librarian and earned an MA in Library Science at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.
Judy’s life took an exciting turn when she left her teaching job in Pennsylvania to be Head of Library at the Learning Center School of Qatar Foundation. She lived in Qatar for eight years, enjoying the experience of living in a different culture and traveling to exotic places during every vacation. Recently, she returned to the United States and lives in Lexington, KY. Judy has two children, Julia and Stephen, two children-in-law, Jim and Erin, and four grandchildren: Kyle, Jon, Karina, and Addy.
Judy’s first book, The Lady, was a finalist in the 2012 Amazon Break-out Novel Award. The first two novels of her Bucks County Mysteries, Unringing the Bell and Bride of the Wind are available March 1, 2018. The series is set in an imaginary small town in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Call me Mara, the story of Ruth and Naomi, is scheduled for publication in March, 2019.
In addition to writing, Judy’s passions include travel, tennis, elephants, and playing the piano.
Amazon author page URL: https://www.amazon.com/Judy-Higgins/e/B00FZQOZPU
Barnes and Noble Author URL: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unringing-the-bell-judy-higgins/1128014473
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