Years ago, I did some research in information retrieval while working on a Ph. D. in mathematics. Later, I left technology behind and began to write. As I scanned ideas for plots, the thought of using informational retrieval in a book popped up often.
Several years ago, I read an old Texas folk tale about a wagon load of precious metal being hidden in a lake. I was intrigued by the tale. But I write contemporary novels. How could I use that idea? How could a 178 year old bit of folk lore affect people today?
For some time, that folktale hung around in my mind. And lurking there, as usual, was the idea of information retrieval. They began to tumble together and before long, the plot for A Ton of Gold began to take shape. And the folktale causes murder, arson and kidnapping in modern Texas.
The book starts with a prologue set in 1834. But after three pages, we are suddenly in 2012. The protagonist is Crystal Moore, a computer scientist engaged in, you guessed it, informational retrieval.
Crystal is very bright, but lacking in self-confidence. While trying to finish her Ph.D., she encounters a man who destroys her self-esteem. But rather than introducing too much back-story, I have this man coming back into the picture, and once again in a position to have an impact on her life.
While Crystal is very smart, I paired her with Brandi, a housemate who barely finished high school, but has a lot of street-smarts. She proves invaluable to Crystal.
Crystal also gets help from her boss, a former bull rider.
In the end, it is Crystal and her feisty, seventy-five year old grandmother, who provide the key elements in capturing the murderers and arsonists.
As for the man from Crystal’s past, she and Brandi must deal with him or he will destroy Crystal’s career.
This was a fun book to write, primarily because it brought together the ideas of informational retrieval and an old Texas folktale. It didn’t hurt that Crystal’s grandmother and Brandi turned out to be such great characters. In places, they grabbed the reins and took off. When that happened, it was always a wild ride, laughing all the way.
After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing. He has had four non-fiction books published. He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense. His eleventh book is scheduled to release in 2016.
http://amzn.to/1eeykvG Author’s page on Amazon