Write Them and They Will Take Over
Part of the fun of writing a series for me is exploring the characters in greater depth with each new book. Finding what makes everyone tick and using that to build believable stories.
When I wrote Éclair and Present Danger, book # 1 in my Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, I had a blast drawing my readers into a brand new world with new faces and a fresh new business idea. And, as is the case with a first book, the sky was the limit so to speak.
But once that first book is out there, readers know the characters, too. So with each new book in the series, every future storyline you set up has to be true to those characters—those friends you’ve now given your readers.
The good thing is, that as the writer, these same characters have become my friends, too. They’re as real to me as they are to my readers…and to themselves.
As weird as it sounds, the characters in a series really do take on a life of their own. They know the situations that make sense for them to be in, and they know how they’d react when they’re in them. And if I try to make them do something they don’t want to do? Yup, that’s when writer’s block (or, as I call it, “character temper tantrum time”) sets in.
It happens in every series I write: The Amish Mysteries, the Tobi Tobias Mysteries, The Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (as Elizabeth Lynn Casey), and now, the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries.
My characters drive the story. Period.
Weird, I know. But it’s true.
So when it came time to plot out the second book in the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, I found Winnie Johnson (my main character) sitting across a desk from Jay Morgan, the college business professor she’s now dating. And while Winnie seemed happy, Jay wasn’t.
When I saw Jay’s face in my mind, I had an immediate uh-oh moment because I was afraid he was about to break Winnie’s heart.
Fortunately, I was wrong. He was simply upset over the lackluster performance of one of his students.
Next thing I knew, Winnie was volunteering to let the student work with the emergency dessert squad. And it made sense. The student would get some hands-on experience capable of boosting her grade, and Jay would be happy again.
I just wish Winnie hadn’t ignored Jay’s warning regarding this particular student and her troublemaking ways.
Because if Winnie had listened, the dessert squad wouldn’t be tied to a murder at Silver Lake College.
Then again, if Winnie had listened, my readers wouldn’t have a mystery to solve…
Guest post provided by the publisher.
Series: An Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery (Book 2)
Publisher: Berkley (March 7, 2017)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository
The second delectable Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery from the national bestselling author of Éclair and Present Danger.
Baker Winnie Johnson does her best work when the heat is on. As owner of the Emergency Dessert Squad, she has a deft touch in the kitchen and a soft spot for lost causes. So when her business professor beau, Jay Morgan, expresses misgivings over having to fail one of his fourth-year students, Winnie cooks up a sweet solution.
She’ll offer an extra credit opportunity in exchange for a little help with her growing business. But when her protégé’s first dessert delivery poisons a student journalist, the publicity threatens to burn Winnie’s business to a crisp. Now the entrepreneur-turned-detective must uncover the ingredients behind a recipe for murder before she crumbles under pressure…
Thanks to the publisher I have one (1) copy of The Silence of the Flans to give away.
Giveaway open to residents of the US only.
Giveaway ends on April 2nd
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Winner will have 48 hours from the time of notification to confirm their win or another winner will be chosen.
While spending a rainy afternoon at a friend’s house more than thirty years ago, Laura Bradford fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil.
Those early attempts at the craft had her writing and illustrating stories for young children. Wise beyond her years, Laura saved her first writing attempt in a hand decorated shoe box (complete with sparkly stickers) and moved on to her next idea. Her second book—O’Casey’s Wish—was so utterly brilliant, she sent it off to a well-known New York publishing house at the tender age of ten, confident she was on the verge of becoming the next Don Freeman (Corduroy) or Shel Silverstein (Giving Tree).
Months later, she received her first form letter rejection.
While she wasn’t of the mindset to save that first crushing blow for posterity, Laura did save the original copy of this particular literary masterpiece in the event the letter was a mistake.
Desperate to prove her flexibility as a writer, Laura soon found herself dabbling in jokes (for her Girl Scout troop’s newsletter), stories of angst (a somewhat autobiographical look at her teenage years), movie reviews (for the Xavier University Newswire), and countless news and feature articles (for newspapers in CT, SC, TN, and MO).
It wasn’t until Laura was home raising children of her own though, that she was finally able to dust off that rainy day dream and bring it back to its original form—writing fiction. Today, she is a bestselling mystery author with Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin Publishing), and an award winning romance author with Harlequin American. She lives in New York with her family.
Oh, and if you meet Laura at a book event in the future, ask her about O’Casey’s Wish. It tends to travel with her everywhere she goes.
Emergency Desert Squad Mysteries