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.”
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.
“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.”
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.”