Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Writing Roni Rainer Mysteries

Reflections From The Author

writing mysteries
It starts with a blank page (image courtesy of pixabay.com)
I thought that a review of my journey writing the Roni Rainer Mysteries might be a little interesting to those of you thinking about writing your own novel. Those of you who do not have that desire but enjoy reading the works of other authors might like some insight into what it takes to provide those books for you.

Before we start with a blank page like the one on the left, there has to be an idea in our mind. From the time I was a little girl, I have wanted to write novels. Several times over the years, I started different stories but it took me decades before I finally reached the point where everything began to fit. I would get so far with the early ones and then give up. I just couldn't make it all flow. It wasn't until Veronica (Roni to her friends) popped into my head one day as clear as if she were standing in front of me that I was able to write that first book. I introduced her in Death Takes A Spin. Oddly, many of those early book ideas have worked their way into each of the three completed novels and also in book four of the series that I am writing now.

Okay, so I had my protagonist but there were other things to consider before the first book could be written. What genre would her story belong in? Where does she live? Who are her friends? Since mysteries have always been my favorite, the genre was a no brainer for me. Thinking that I might struggle with detailed murder scenes, I opted for the lighter Cozy Mystery sub-genre of Mysteries. Roni could be a sleuth but she wouldn't have to be professional to solve the mystery. I decided early on that I wanted her to be very amateur in her methods. An accidental sleuth, if you will. It isn't so much that she is driven to solve the crime or that she thinks that she can do a better job than the police. Her desire comes more from her empathy and compassion for those affected by the crime. She doesn't want to be a Miss Marple, Nancy Drew or Jessica Fletcher. Roni sort of stumbles upon information that she can then share with the real investigators. 

The next question in my mind was where does she live. I have always heard that a writer should write what they know. Having grown up in a small town and lived in other small towns, I know that life the best. I also, knew that if I put her in a town that really exists I would have to make sure to be accurate with every location in the story. Using a fictional town allowed more leeway. I can create the locations, businesses and people in any way that I want. So, Roni lives in the fictional town of Beaver Falls in the fictional county of Butler in the very real state of Indiana. 

Who populates the town of Beaver Falls with Roni? A very diverse group of people because that is what we find no matter whether we live in a small town or a large city. I've tried really hard to create a cast of characters that come from all walks of life. In book one, readers meet a few of her friends, family and neighbors. Most of them continue in book two, Illegal Harvest with a few new additions. Some play a larger role than others while some just sort of pop in and out from time to time. I've grown to love these characters as I hope my readers have. One person said to me after reading book one, "Please don't kill off any of them!" I promise that I don't intend to at least not any of the favorites. 

Each book in the series continues to reveal more of each character, not just Roni. Book three, The Puzzle of Talking Rock brings back the favorites with a little more about them along with a couple of new people that have joined the growing cast of characters. These new people are just too much fun to include and keep weaving their way into the books. As I write book four, I have some people who may or may not come back. Perhaps they will have intermittent interactions with Roni but not be an integral part of future plots. 

What I am trying to convey is that authors don't just sit down and write a book without giving a lot of thought about who will be in it and where it all happens. We have to get to know our characters and we have to be able to see where they are in our minds before we can come up with the words to tell you the story. A lot happens in the author's mind before that first sentence in the first chapter ever gets put onto the first page of the book. We love it or we wouldn't do it. 

One last thought, when you read a book, any book by any author, consider taking a few minutes to leave some feedback for that author if you can. We need your honest viewpoint. It lets us know if we have written something worthwhile, enjoyable, or enlightening for you. We also need to know if a reader did not enjoy the book and why. It isn't much fun to get a bad review but I think they are extremely helpful. I want to grow as an author; I want each book to be better than the last one. I think that every author hopes for that growth in themselves but they won't know unless their readers tell them.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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4 comments:

  1. I absolutely love Roni, her employees and friends. I have thoroughly enjoyed the mysteries and solving the murders. I think the books also appeal to me because Roni and Charlotte are so creative when recreating/upcycling a beautiful piece of furniture or home decor. Crafts, mystery, lovable characters, funny & witty dialog ... It doesn't get better than that! I just opened the 3rd book on my Kindle last night. I am very excited to have a new book from my all time favorite author.

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    Replies
    1. Ooooooh, and how exciting to know book 4 in the series has already been started! How awesome to have something to look forward to.

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  2. I have read two of your books and need to read that third one soon. I have enjoyed the two I have read and really admire that you were able to write such an interesting series. This is one of my favorite genre of books too. Thank you for all you put into writing a good story and continued success.

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  3. I have to admit I have yet to begin your cozy mystery series about Roni and her friends. Although I do enjoy this type of novel very much. I've been slow to begin but this review has re-sparked my interest and now look forward to your Roni Rainer series. Well done, Bev.

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