My guest this week is Julie Anne Lindsey who writes a mystery series set on Chincoteague Island, Virginia. She discusses the challenges, and the joys, of creating an amateur sleuth. Take it away, Julie!
• • • • • •
Mystery writing can be a load of fun, especially where an amateur female sleuth is involved. Women are tenacious, curious and resilient, not to mention crafty. Let’s face it, once we get it in our minds to accomplish something, it’s going to happen. Period. Clean that stubborn grout? Done. Find Egyptian cotton sheets at a discount low enough to crumble the pyramids? Easy. Catch a killer? Well…why not?
Creating the perfect heroine was simple. She’s every woman. Creating the perfect crime was harder. If mystery writing taught me anything, it was that I am no criminal mastermind. But I do know how to cause trouble. So, I outlined the crime, put myself in my heroine’s super cute shoes and asked myself, “What would I do first?”
Right? If we have a problem, we need a plan to solve it. Normally, we start with the facts we have and the resources already available to us. That part’s easy enough, but what happens when our resources run out? Well, that’s when a girl’s got to get resourceful.
My heroine’s curious and motivated, but she’s not a criminal and this isn’t a James Bond book. She has to get information in legal ways without a crack team of gun-toting, tech-savvy backup waiting in the wings. This is where I had the most fun. Thinking outside the box. I wondered: How can she get answers? Where should she look next? Better yet, how much trouble can she get into while looking? The short answer to my last question is SO MUCH TROUBLE.
In my new release, Murder Comes Ashore, body parts are washing up on the beach and Patience is eager to know if there’s a serial killer on the loose. Is her little island community in danger? She learns about the parts first. The cuts are clean. Who would know how to do something like that and who has the room, equipment and privacy to get the job done? All good questions. So, Patience asks the locals. The fishermen. The hospital pathologist. And so on. Pretty soon she asks the wrong person and the killer gets wind of her snooping. As it turns out, killers don’t like snooping. And then the real fun begins.
Hey, launching a private investigation is no easy task, especially for an amateur. Stakeouts and tailing suspects can ruin a girl’s sleep and worry her parents. It can also irritate her FBI boyfriend who insists she drop her investigation and stay out of his way. Not something a woman wants to hear, so she doesn’t listen. Obviously. Who does he think he is?
Then, there’s her real life. Patience has plenty on her plate without an amateur investigation and life keeps getting in her way. Finding trouble for this character was easy and kind of a hoot. She’s quick to act and slow to worry. She’s loved by her community and has commitments to tend to when she’s not being chased, threatened or car bombed. Writing the antics and shenanigans of a small town counselor turned investigator was so much fun. The locals are quirky. The tourists are cramping her style and her ex-boyfriend is a temptation hard to ignore. Then again, who has time for temptation? She’s got obstacles galore, but curiosity prevails. Patience is everything I would be, if only I weren’t afraid of my shadow, and writing the investigation of an amateur sleuth was a blast. I hope reading the story will be just as much fun.
If you’re looking for a fun new series, I hope you’ll consider my stories. Murder Comes Ashore is available now and there’s a whole island of fun just waiting for you.
Murder Comes Ashore
Patience Price is just settling into her new life as resident counselor on Chincoteague Island when things take a sudden turn for the worse. A collection of body parts have washed up on shore and suddenly nothing feels safe on the quaint island.
Patience instinctively turns to current crush and FBI special agent Sebastian for help, but former flame Adrian is also on the case, hoping that solving the grisly crime will land him a win in the upcoming mayoral election.
When the body count rises and Patience’s parents are brought in as suspects, Patience is spurred to begin her own investigation. It’s not long before she starts receiving terrifying threats from the killer, and though she’s determined to clear her family’s name, it seems the closer Patience gets to finding answers, the closer she comes to being the killer’s next victim.
Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.
Murder Comes Ashore is a sequel in her new mystery series, Patience Price, Counselor at Large, from Carina Press.
Learn About Julie at: Julieannelindsey.com