Showing posts with label author. Show all posts
Showing posts with label author. Show all posts

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.



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Friday, January 30, 2015

Author in Review: Cheryl Paton aka CherylsArt

For several years, I have been reading articles written by Cheryl Paton, but I did not realize she had published a book until I interviewed her for Review This!

Funny how you think you know someone well after reading their articles, only to discover even more to admire and appreciate about them during an interview.  
 

Author of The Phonics Guide 

 

As a literacy tutor, Cheryl discovered a real need for a literacy reference guide for adults.  Instead of grumbling or complaining, Cheryl stepped out on her own and met that need by publishing The Phonics Guide, which is a quick resource handbook that lists common spelling patterns and/or letter combinations, alphabetically.  According to Cheryl, it can be used by both tutors and intermediate readers.  

I think we all understand how time consuming it can be to have to search several resources for information when we need to be spending our valuable time actually focusing on teaching and learning.  There are few things more valuable to a teacher than a well written reference guide by an experienced professional.



Cheryl Paton


I found Cheryl to be very open and candid in her interview.   Cheryl shared that her proudest achievement was when she started her art business, but I was personally touched when she stated "the most important thing was that I overcame old childhood beliefs about what I could or couldn’t be."

I was intrigued when she told me that her favorite movie is "Saint Ralph" and went on to explain that it is a story about a teen boy whose mother goes into a coma. Ralph is in a Catholic school and comes to believe that he must do something of significance in order for his mother to come out of the coma. He decides to run in the Boston Marathon.  There are funny spots in this movie too, and it ends with one of the best renditions of Hallelujah she has ever heard.

Cheryl's favorite book is No Attachments No Aversions by Lester Levenson which she personally reviewed.  I encourage you to read it today by simply clicking on the book title link above.  

I began to see a strong thread in the tapestry of Cheryl's life.  Her choice in books and movies, her work to help adults overcome illiteracy, as well as her own determination to discard childhood insecurities, are examples of her belief in success over complacency and a zeal to move beyond adversity.   


CherylsArt on Zazzle

http://www.zazzle.com/CherylsArt*

Cheryl offers her custom designs for weddings, birthdays, holidays, and more on Zazzle.  She has over 7000 items currently listed.









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