Or simply a new pen name, a new identity, a new beginning.
Many of you know me as Melinda De Ross, writer of quirky romantic comedy and tension-filled romantic suspense. But like many of my favorite authors and role models, including Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Loreth Anne White, and others, I feel it’s time to expand my horizons. I’ve always wanted to write crime thrillers and mysteries, but only after being a professional writer for seven years did I feel I was ready. And this is how my new pen name, Melinda Colt, is born.
My first dive into the crime thriller genre is a series of detective mysteries with a twist of romance called The Irish Garda Squad.
Why Irish? Well, I felt there are enough FBI, NYPD, LAPD, and other PD’s books out there – some of them true masterpieces. So I wanted to write something new, something different. Ireland is a country with a low crime rate, but An Garda Síochána, their police service, is extremely competent and well-trained. I’d imagined how the fictional Garda detectives I have created would solve complicated, challenging cases, and this is how the first three Garda Books came to be: Dare Game, Killer Score, and Lost Girl. I hope the flesh-and-blood Garda members will never have to confront such twisted killers in real life, but I know they deserve to be the heroes in my books.
Researching this series was a huge operation and I’d like to thank the Garda Síochána themselves for being so helpful and patient when I reached out and asked for their cooperation. I was pleasantly surprised by their promptitude as they answered my questions and explained police procedures I didn’t know about. My books are fictional, but as crime thrillers go I wanted to offer you, my readers, the most authentic experience I could create. I hope you’ll be there with my detectives, both male and female, go over the clues, inspect murder scenes and cyber data, feel the tension that builds up when they know a serial killer will strike at any moment and it’s up to them to make sure there isn’t another victim.
The first three books in The Irish Garda Squad are up for pre-order, and I hope one day I will reach JD Robb’s record and publish the 50th Garda book. I’m just getting started and writing these books is incredibly fun and rewarding.
While I worked on them last year and prepared my launch, I outlined every detail, calculated the timing, worked very hard to make the moment when I present my new pen name perfect. I thought I had everything figured out – except I didn’t predict this moment will be in the middle of a pandemic. But you know what? I won’t let this get in the way of my celebration – not the virus, not the quarantine, not even the financial crisis that will follow.
This is just a phase and we’ll get through this together. What better way to practice social distancing than to escape in captivating stories that tear us away from every alarming piece of “breaking news”?
If you’re not subscribed to my newsletter yet, I would love to have you in my VIP club and share my journey with you! My author friends and I will offer you free books as often as possible to get through these difficult times. My social media accounts are just taking off and I very much hope you’ll join me there.
Stay safe and escape into books!