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Aspiring writer finally has time to do it

Emily Ross at a book signing.
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Emily Ross at a book signing.

Emily Ross always wanted to be a writer, doing so “around the edges,” she said, crafting short stories while raising two children and working as a software developer. When the kids grew up and struck out on their own, the 64-year-old Quincy resident had time to devote to her craft.

Which she has done in winning style: Ross’s first novel, “Half in Love With Death,” was released in December and named a finalist for Best Young Adult Novel in the International Thriller Writers Organization’s 2016 Thriller Awards. Winners will be announced July 9 at the group’s annual gala in New York City.

“For the first time in my life,” Ross said, “I can focus on writing.”

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Her novel was inspired by the true case of serial killer Charles Schmid of Tucson, and it is dubbed a “psychological thriller,” with 15-year-old Caroline as the story’s voice.

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“I worked on it for seven years and was struggling with it, and talked to my sister, who suggested I use a true crime as a basis with the Tucson case in mind,” Ross said. “So I researched it and decided to use it.”

Ross gives a lot of credit for completing the novel to GrubStreet in Boston, a creative-writing center, saying, “I never would have finished the book without their support and guidance.”

The book has sold well and has gotten a lot of blog buzz, she said. She’s done appearances, which she confessed “is a bit out of my comfort zone,” and has one coming up May 14 at Barnes & Noble in North Dartmouth. Ross is also working on another young-adult novel now, one set in Quincy.

“That will be fun,” she said. “It’s about a girl on a dance team, and there will be a murder. I like the city of Quincy; it’s a great, diverse place, and has this whole Dennis Lehane dark feel to it.”

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The satisfaction she derives from fiction writing, she said, “is in creating a world with characters and places -- it keeps life interesting. I need this; I can’t imagine not doing it.”

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at pkandarian@aol.com.