Careful, or You’ll End up in My Novel
Wendy Delaney, author of Sex, Lies, and Snickerdoodles
Much like a running gag used in movies and books, Careful, or You’ll End up in My Novel is a line I’ve seen a lot over the years, especially on merchandise geared for writers. Yes, for those of us who have seen or heard this a bazillion times, the line/gag is a little tired. But that doesn’t make it any less true because everything—and I do mean everything—I see and hear is fair game when it comes to fictional fodder.
Since I set my Working Stiffs Mystery series in a small port town near Seattle (where I live), I frequently borrow from news stories and regional events. In fact, a 60 Minutes segment featuring a doctor who had been murdering his elderly patients inspired me to write Trudy, Madly, Deeply, book one in my cozy mystery series. As I was developing the characters for that book, a television commercial featuring Sunny Sixkiller, a well known local athlete, interrupted my thoughts. Good thing it did because on that day my series detective, Steve Sixkiller, was born, and oh did his character come to life the moment I was able to infuse a bit of danger into his moniker!
Like a lot of writers I draw on personal experience, especially when crafting scenes between family members. I remember the look my father used to give me when I behaved as something less than the perfect child. Didn’t we all get that parental gaze at least once in our youth? My dad was a big, strong former Navy man who walked with attitude and had a voice you could hear in the next county. When the time came to putting a voice to the older character who would dispense some not-so-subtle fatherly advice to Charmaine (my sleuth), it seemed only fitting that her great-uncle Duke should sound a lot like my dad. Since Alice, Duke’s wife, is based on my pie-baking spit fire of a granny, I’m usually smiling when I write their scenes. I’m also often hungry for pie!
Some of the favorite scenes I’ve written are between Steve and Charmaine. They’ve grown up together, so in many ways they are like an old married couple. Steve’s probably a blend of every guy I’ve ever known, but he’s also heavily influenced by the main guy in my life: my husband. Every once in a while, my hubby will say something that turns on the light bulb in my writer’s brain and I reach for pen and paper to record that idea or turn of phrase. I’ll usually get the “What?” reaction and then he’ll shake his head with the realization that in some form or fashion, he’s going to make an appearance in my novel. Again.
Yes, any interesting bits I come across in my daily wanderings can work their way into my novel. I’ve borrowed snippets of dialogue from strangers in line at Starbucks, grocery clerks, feisty senior citizens (who I love!), dinner guests, friends, and relatives. Truly, everyone with a voice and something to say is fair game. So are their names. Case in point, one of the guys I used to work with met his demise in Sex, Lies, and Snickerdoodles. Sorry, Russell, but you gave your name to a good cause.
You’ve been warned, friends, family, and strangers. Most of the time the names are changed to protect the innocent (or guilty), but no one is safe from ending up in my novels. Not even your pets!
About the book: Everybody’s got a secret.
A secret crush. A secret liaison. A secret recipe. And for a deadly few, a secret murder.
Port Merritt’s favorite bad boy, Russell Falco, was a seasoned veteran of secret liaisons. But after his body washes up on the shore of Merritt Bay, Deputy Coroner and human lie detector, Charmaine Digby, suspects one of those liaisons got Russell killed.
Secrets. Lies. Cookie-baking rivals. And a dead guy. Char’s on the case and is determined to find the killer . . . if the killer doesn’t find her first!
About the Author: Wendy Delaney writes fun-filled cozy mysteries and is the author of Sex, Lies & Snickerdoodles, the second book in her Working Stiffs Mystery series. A long-time member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America, she’s a Food Network addict and pastry chef wannabe. When she’s not killing off story people she can be found on her treadmill, working off the calories from her latest culinary adventure. Wendy makes her home in the Seattle area with her husband and has two grown sons. You can connect with Wendy on Facebook and via her website: www.wendydelaney.com.
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