Behind The Book: GIRL THREE

Girl Three, my recently released gritty and glamorous DC thriller, was plotted on the balcony of an eleventh-floor condo with a view of the US Capitol. At the time, I was a new resident of Washington, inspired by the city’s energy and charisma—the people, the places, the power. I spent numerous hours on that balcony, mulling over the twists and turns of the story, and gazing over the city that unexpectedly stole my heart.

Premise

In Girl Three, Dr. Jessica Croft finds out her estranged sister’s suspicious death has been classified as natural, and she resolves to expose the murderer of the beautiful young lobbyist. Jessie pursues elite suspects in Washington, DC, revealing a fertility scandal surrounding the enigmatic Girl Three, and risking her life to expose the truth.

The idea for the story was inspired by the book The Baby Business by Harvard professor Debora Spar that highlights how money, science, and politics drive the commerce of conception. I was fascinated and disturbed when I learned about the fertility industry and its controversial elements of stem cell research, surrogacy, egg swapping, human cloning, and designer babies. After reading The Baby Business, so many “what-if” questions began to flood my mind and gel into the story that ultimately became Girl Three.

People

The story I envisioned included elements of politics, science and medicine, so I chose to make Dr. Jessica Croft a bioethicist—a PhD who is educated in those areas and focused on the typically controversial ethical questions brought about by advances in biology and medicine. I hoped she’d be the perfect amateur sleuth to solve the mystery of Girl Three.

As Jessie immerses herself in her sister’s business and social circles, she begins to suspect some of the most powerful players in DC of murder. Two senators, a federal judge, the head of a prestigious lobbying firm, a high-level diplomat, an ex-Secret Service agent, and a cutting-edge fertility specialist are all in the mix.

It was an intriguing cast of characters to write, and readers seem to enjoy getting to know them—for better or worse—and rooting for or against them as they wind their way through the story wondering who the murderer really is. Jessie finds herself debating similarly, knowing there’s someone who will stop at nothing to keep dangerous truths tucked away.

I’m sorry,” Nina said. “I hate that this is so hard for you. But you’re getting closer to the truth about Sam’s life. Some of the things you’re finding out might be better understood over time.”

Or not,” Jessie said. “I’m filling in the years that might’ve been better left blank. And I still can’t figure out which person killed her.” She pressed her fingers to her forehead. “I have this unsettled feeling.”

What do you mean?”

Like I’ve looked that person in the eyes, and didn’t see a murderer.”

Place

Recently, my husband and I had the incredible opportunity to live in DC for two years on a temporary assignment for his job with NASA. We simply fell in love with the city (after living most of our adult lives around Yorktown, Virginia). There are so many diverse neighborhoods in DC, incredible history and architecture, sports and the arts, and the hum of the power of politics. We discovered so many off-the-tourist map places that I ended up featuring in Girl Three such as Congressional Cemetery, with its timeworn tombs and statuary, and little Dickensian chapel, D Dock at the Capital Yacht Club with its infamous law-breaking residents, and the bar at the former Market Inn—a congressional hangout rightfully referred to as the Naked Lady Lounge.

He’s a regular here,” Helena said, “just like a lot of other senators and congressmen.”

Jessie found it a little disconcerting that Talmont would show up just as he’d become the topic of conversation—as if he’d entered on cue. As she looked back toward Helena, she scanned the pictures on the walls and realized that most of the photographs, paintings, and drawings were of nude women, in styles ranging from classic to bawdy.

Helena grinned knowingly. “Some people call this place the Naked Lady Lounge. But that’s not politically correct, now, is it?”

My favorite inn is also featured in the story—The Embassy Circle Guest House that’s located near majestic Embassy Row and ever-popular Dupont Circle, and Red Velvet Cupcakery where you’ll find some of the tastiest vanilla bean cupcakes EVER!

I also included a few familiar DC sights in the story, one of my favorites being the East Garden Court in the National Gallery of Art—a beautiful oasis among master works of art, where I often visit and write—yet I was eager to show readers DC beyond its cherished memorials, monuments, and museums, too.

My goal was to bring the city to life for readers, and hopefully show it to them from a perspective they hadn’t imagined before, whether they were previous and future visitors, or residents of the area. Using a real city as a setting also posed a challenge because readers can be particular about the details of a place they know. Because I was eager to do right by them, I worked extra-hard to make sure my facts were straight for my fiction.

Payoff

I hope the combination of premise, people, and place in Girl Three leads to a satisfying payoff for readers who enjoy a unique, head-scratching who-done-it that’s light on the police procedural. In the story, everyone has a secret, and no one is without blame. But can you decide who’s really guilty?

Praise

GIRL THREE is a twisty, page-turning thriller that has it all: suspense, duplicity, romance, and a compelling heroine you’ll root for. Exhilarating!”—Allison Brennan, New York Times Bestselling Author

“GIRL THREE sparkles with thrills and romance, glamour and grit. I fell in love with Jessie Croft from the first chapter and couldn’t put the book down. Tracy March delivers a gripping story, as well as a whip-smart exploration of some of the most important scientific and ethical issues of our day.”—Allison Leotta, author of Law of Attraction and Discretion

Sophisticated and satisfying. A breathtaking, breakneck blend of political intrigue, unrelenting suspense and romance.”—USA Today


Tracy March

Award-winning author Tracy March writes romantic thrillers influenced by her career in the pharmaceutical field, and her interest in science and politics. She also writes lighthearted romances inspired by her real-life happily ever after.

Always up for travel and adventure, Tracy has flown in a stunt plane, snowmobiled on the Continental Divide, ziplined in the Swiss Alps, and been chased by a bull in the mountains of St. Lucia. She loves Nationals baseball, Saturday date nights, and Dairy Queen Blizzards—and rarely goes a day without Diet Coke and Cheez-Its.

Tracy lives in Yorktown, Virginia, with her superhero husband who works for NASA. They recently spent two years living in Washington D.C., and enjoy visiting often—especially when the Nats are in town.

Visit Tracy online at www.TracyMarch.com.