The Story Behind The Plan

A Quick Story of The Plan

A Mississippi "hall of justice"

The Plan is an alternative, paranormal, historical, murder-mystery novel set in the years from 1971 to 2014. Clinton Moore, a gay, black Mississippi lawyer, tells his personal story (as a ghost) while trying to discover who killed him, and who murdered his lover, Joe Means. He must also save Joe's ditzy wife, Tara!

The Plan started as an idea after living in Mississippi and researching the modern civil rights movement as it had developed in the delta. Of course (!!) I’d read all of John Grisham's southern crime novels, beginning with A Time to Kill. Even saw him while listening to BB King and his band playing the delta blues in an Indianola juke joint! His portrayal of characters living in Mississippi captivated me in my vision for developing my own characters as fallible, strong and fascinating southerners.

But I became interested in writing my own book after hearing about the real murders of two very real black lawyers from Mississippi and Alabama. I didn’t trust what I was told about their deaths by a range of people—from neighbors, friends and relatives to police and other investigators.

After tracking down and viewing a questionable autopsy report, I knew that I had to write The Plan. Especially after discovering questionable accounts of the "accidental shooting" of a white, racist Mississippi detective who'd been working in New Orleans with possible planners of the John F. Kennedy assassination. Were there ties? I had to know.

Finally, I had the time to write this book when we moved to Cuenca, Ecuador as active retirees. For the first years of my professional career, I’d written for regional and city daily newspapers with the pressure to produce entertaining and informative stories on deadline. The pursuit of my writing goals led me to papers and/or freelance work in Nevada, Indiana, Texas, Iowa and Missouri. I also worked as an acquisitions and development editor for the largest computer book publisher in the world, Prentice Hall, the division located in Indianapolis.

But now, moving to a new country with no deadlines or pressure, I knew this would be a perfect time to begin my first novel.

I longed to know more about what happened to these two lawyers: who did this to them and why? I could not understand why so many people had turned their backs. One colleague, a lawyer, yelled at me when I tried to set up an appointment with her; they had been close friends.

So after writing about this history in nonfiction terms, as best as possible, I created my own version of their murders, to possibly tell their stories in more depth, but using the facts I’d collected. Further, I decided to explore a story line in which paranormal themes are used.

Other favorite works of literature influenced The Plan. I love historical fiction, especially the grand storytelling style that is the signature of James Michener, who sweeps us back through time, taking us to so many places throughout the world. I thought of Hawaii as I took this book into the Andes of South America, and the colonial city of Cuenca.

This is my first attempt at a fiction work, and during my writing process, I wanted to prove to myself that I could finish a novel, not just tell myself that I could do it someday without putting my feet to the fire. I took a year to write this book, and it only came about because of the help I had from the Writers in Transition group in Cuenca, and because of the editors who I hired. My development editor, Frances Hogg Lochow is a retired lawyer who writes chilling short stories, and who edits for an international magazine. My copy editor, Geri Jeter, is an accomplished editor who has edited and publishd quality arts publications for many years.

The Plan represents the first book in my paranormal crime series. My next book, Dignidad, will continue the series when it is released sometime in 2014.