The Tao of Doo

In his kind and generous review of my first mystery, DEATH NOTICE, author James Reasoner said the plot was vaguely reminiscent of something found in Scooby-Doo, only played seriously. He meant it as a compliment and I took it Read more


Another October, another release date. Since BAD MOON is my second book, you would think I'd be used to it. But nope, I'm not. BAD MOON's publication date feels as surreal as DEATH NOTICE's did last year. For readers, the Read more

Writing With ... Louise Penny

I am thrilled beyond words to welcome one of my favorite writers, Louise Penny, whose Armand Gamache mysteries have appeared on bestseller lists worldwide.  Her last book, BURY YOUR DEAD, won the Ellis for best mystery in Canada, and Read more

Is Browsing Dead?

I'll be the first to admit that I was a nerdy teenager. Not pocket protector nerdy, but no sports star, either. I was bookish, I guess you could say. I read A LOT back then, and nothing pleased me Read more

Why We Left Earth

Outer space has always been a mystery. Even before mankind fully grasped its vastness, they wanted to go there. Early astronomers, fascinated by the stars, invented ways to get a closer view. Think Copernicus, Galileo, Cassini. Writers not content Read more

Writing With

Writing With … Todd Ritter

Posted on by Todd Posted in Writing With | Comments Off on Writing With … Todd Ritter

Is it corny that I’m answering my own questionnaire? You bet it is. But I honestly felt that I couldn’t send these questions to other writers without taking a stab at them myself. So here goes nothing.

Q. Tell us about your latest book and what inspired you to write it.

My mystery is called DEATH NOTICE, and it’s about a small-town police chief and an obituary writer who team up to stop a killer who’s sending obituaries of his victims to the local newspaper — before they’re killed.

There were two moments of inspiration for the book, and both came in the newsroom where I spend my nights toiling with ink-stained fingers under humming flourescent lights.
The first flash of inspiration came via a crackle of voices over the police scanner kept nearby to alert reporters of breaking news. It seems a coffin had fallen off a flatbed truck and was sitting on the side of the highway, alarming everyone who drove past it. One unlucky cop had to pull over, open it and see if, God forbid, there was a body inside. It turned out to be empty, thankfully, but I couldn’t stop thinking that it would be a pretty cool way to start a mystery. Only in the fictional version, the coffin would be occupied.

The second flash arrived a few days later, when I was proofreading the obituary page — no doubt the most bizarre aspect of my job. Usually I didn’t find too many mistakes. But that night, I discovered a typo. A big one. An obituary mistakenly listed the deceased’s date of death as the next day. Again, I started thinking: What if a crazed killer alerted people to his intentions by writing the obituaries of his victims before they died?

With both ideas swirling around in my brain, it occurred to me that I could combine them into an intriguing and suspenseful read. That is how DEATH NOTICE was born. 

Q. Did you need to do any special research for the book? If so, what’s one of the most interesting facts you discovered?

I decided that my killer was going to try to embalm his victims. That meant doing a lot of research about the embalming process. It was icky, but fascinating. One of the things I learned in my research was that formaldehyde is flammable. I decided to make that a major plot point for the end of the book.

Q. Many people are content to just be readers. How did you become a writer?

I’ve always been a big reader, and secretly dreamed of writing myself. There’s nothing like being enthralled by a great story, and I wondered what it would feel like to be the one telling the story. Once I got the idea for DEATH NOTICE, I knew I had to write it. I wrote a book that I would want to read. I thought that, if it was good enough, others would want to read it, too.

Q. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to travel. I love going to the movies. I also enjoy being a homebody. For me, a great night is one where I can cook an elaborate dinner, drink some wine and then settle down on the couch to watch TV or a movie. Boring? Maybe. But I love it.

Q. What are you reading right now?

I’m doing a ton of writing at the moment, and I don’t like to read while I’m in the midst of writing something. But the last book I read was Laura Lippman’s I’D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE. She’s an amazing writer.

Q. If you were stranded on that proverbial deserted island, what five books would you want to have with you?


THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald




Q. What’s your favorite movie?

I love so many. But if I had to narrow it down, I’d say Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. It never gets old.

Q. What’s your favorite food?

As a kid, I never thought I’d say this, but sushi. I could probably eat it everyday.

Q. Cats or dogs?

Dogs, definitely. I’m allergic to cats, so that already makes me biased. But there’s something wonderful about dogs. All they want to do is eat, sleep and make you love them. More creatures should be that way, in my opinion.

Q. Name one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you.

I have a tattoo of Curious George on my left arm.

« Previous   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8