A Shifty Proposition: Transitioning from Non-Fiction to Fiction—Katherine Dean Mazerov

I never planned to write a novel. As a lifelong journalist, I’ve written and edited thousands of stories, from fires to armed robberies, personality profiles to trend pieces, author interviews to technology advances in the energy industry. I was quite happy in the non-fiction world. When people asked me if I’d ever consider writing a book, my answer was always the same: No. Nope. Never. And certainly not a novel.

Things changed when I quit my job to get on the Mommy Track—only to immerse myself in volunteer work. Eventually, I found myself as president of our neighborhood swim and tennis club, where the petty complaining, constant whining, mishaps and messes, power plays, cheating, drunken soirees, snarkiness and more made my days in the newsroom seem like child’s play. You can’t make this stuff up, I kept telling myself. I’ve got to write a book.

So I took the plunge, embarking on a years-long journey of writing a novel that forced me to push the envelope of my creative abilities. Unlike the newspaper, where I had been confined to facts and real people, this new adventure had few boundaries. While the story was based on my own real-life experience, I soon discovered the joy of tapping into my imagination.

Fortunately, my early days as a reporter had been inspired by the New Journalism movement of the 1960s and ‘70s, which melded research and/or investigative journalism with the techniques of fiction writing: powerful descriptive prose, gripping scene-setting and character development in relating stories about real-life events. The non-fiction novel.

One of the most iconic examples of this is Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, published in 1966, the true story of the 1959 murder of a Kansas family by two ex-cons that is one of the most riveting crime reads ever published.

Now was my chance to put that writing style to full use by creating vivid characters and scenes to give readers not just a book, but a literary experience. Summer Club combines the crazy, often-hilarious goings-on at the club, exposing the interpersonal dynamics that emerge when people are thrown together in a situation, with a dark and dangerous fraud scheme—foreshadowed with an opener designed to immediately capture readers and, hopefully, make them hunger for more.

Weaving the two sides of the story together was certainly challenging, but that transition from non-fiction to fiction proved to be my biggest hurdle. As a reporter, I had learned to write on deadline and construct a story to fit a finite amount of space. For the novel, I had to work at slowing down, taking my time to flesh out scenes that readers could savor and absorb and develop colorful characters that people would connect with and experience an emotional reaction toward—good or bad. 

Once I got the hang of it, I realized that dreaming up characters and events to create a compelling narrative is much more fun and gratifying than sticking to the facts.

About the Author: KATHERINE DEAN MAZEROV is a former reporter and editor for The Denver Post. She has been a magazine writer, worked in corporate communications for a Fortune 500 company and written extensively on trends, market outlook and emerging technologies for the global energy industry. Summer Club is her debut novel. She lives in Greenwood Village, Colorado, is passionate about writing, and can’t imagine a world without dogs. Summer Club, a Novel was published by Outskirts Press and released August 2020. It is available at:

https://outskirtspress.com/SummerClub

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/summer-club-katherine-dean-mazerov/1137496816?ean=9781977222039

Please visit Katherine’s website at https://www.katherinedeanmazerov.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Summer-Club-by-Katherine-Dean-Mazerov-225069535599238

Twitter: http://twitter.com/KMazerov

Page One of Summer Club

The big black SUV slowed to a stop next to the small fishing pier that jutted out over the river. Two men got out and walked toward the back of the car. The moonlight was dimmed by heavy cloud cover—a good omen. The darkness was punctuated with a flame as one of the men lit a cigarette. The other clicked his key ring to open the trunk. Together, they lifted a large bag out of the vehicle and carried it to the end of the pier. It was heavy; at least 170 pounds. They set the bag down on the edge of the pier then, on their hands and knees, slowly edged it into the river. It lay on the surface for just a moment, then sank beneath the inky black water. The men quickly returned to the car and sped off.

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