How I Got Four Books From One Golden Nugget by Sally J. Ling

From city history to double homicide, to cursed ring, to stolen statues:
How I got four books from one golden nugget. 
By Sally J. Ling

Every author seeks inspiration for his or her next book. In fact, we desperately search for that golden nugget of an idea that tugs at us until we can’t wait to get it out of our head and onto paper. Such was the case with me; only my golden nugget morphed from one book into three more. How? Not only was the original story compelling—the shocking murders of an Italian sculptor and his wife—but because of its nature, other hidden stories were dying to be told. Let me explain.

My first historical nonfiction book was on the history of a secret military installation that played a vital role in winning World War II. Since the base was located in the town of Boca Raton, Florida, once I concluded that book, the publisher asked me to write a second book on the history of the city. While researching that, I found my golden nugget—a 1948 double homicide that, to this day, remains a cold case. 

Information regarding the murders wound up as five paragraphs in a section of the book entitled Murder and Mayhem that included other sensational crimes committed in the city. Yet this particular crime took hold of me and wouldn’t let go, so I researched every facet of it for over five years. That culminated into a second book that delved more deeply into the killings and later became a short documentary on WLRN – PBS Miami.

The night of the murders, a jewelry box was stolen to make it look like a burglary gone wrong. Two days later, that same jewelry box reappeared at the crime scene in the exact location from which it was taken. One of the pieces of jewelry was a gold ring set with diamonds and blue sapphires. It had been given to the female victim by her employer, a Palm Beach socialite who purchased the ring in Paris in the early 1930s. Since my research revealed the ring still existed and was in the possession of the victim’s niece, I wondered what history the ring had. That led to a fictional account of the ring’s history from its origin as the world’s first engagement ring to the redesigned ring given to the victim and later, the niece—the third book.

After the murders, all the statues and artwork fashioned by the sculptor were stolen from his locked studio. Their whereabouts still remains a mystery. Enter book four, UNRAVELED. Following FRAYED ENDS, the first book in my cozy mystery series A Randi Brooks Mystery by Anaiah Press, in UNRAVELED, Randi searches for the stolen artwork.

From the history of a city to a double homicide, from a ring some say is cursed to stolen artwork—one story can spin off into subsequent tales when certain compelling aspects are expanded.


Frayed Ends by Sally J. Ling will be released in 2021 by Anaiah Press!

About the Author:

Sally J. Ling is known as Florida’s History Detective and is an author, speaker, and historian. She writes historical nonfiction, adult and children’s historical fiction, specializing in little known or fascinating stories about Florida history, and biblical mysteries with a Florida setting.

As a special correspondent, she wrote for the Sun Sentinel newspaper for four years and was a contributing journalist for several South Florida magazines.

Based upon excerpts from her book Run the Rum In, Sally appeared in two TV documentaries (“Gangsters”–National Geographic Channel and “Prohibition and the South Florida Connection”–WLRN, Miami). She served as associate producer on the latter production. Two additional short documentaries based upon her books “Small Town, Big Secrets” and “Who Killed Leno and Louise,” are in production and will be aired later this fall on WLRN (Miami).

She has been a guest on South Florida PBS TV and radio stations, a guest presenter at the Lifelong Learning Society at Florida Atlantic University, guest presenter at Future Authors of America, and guest speaker at numerous historical societies, libraries, organizations and schools.

Sally lives in Deerfield Beach, Florid

Meet author Sally J. Ling on our blog HERE.

Find more about Sally J. Ling at her website: http://sallyjling.com/

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