Why do I write what I write? My most immediate answer is that I love to read traditional and cozy mysteries. By that I mean mysteries solved by a regular person who doesn’t solve crimes as part of her job, but instead is strongly motivated to figure out what went wrong. She might have a personal connection with the victim, she (or a loved one) might be accused of the crime herself, or she might have a strong need to see justice done. And why not write the genre I prefer to read?
I have grown to love writing this kind of book. In our tumultuous, often violent world, it’s very gratifying to restore order to the village by the end of the book. To put the villain behind bars and clear the innocent. To solve the puzzle.
The technical aspects of writing a mystery are challenging but deeply satisfying to make it all come out right in the end. I have to keep you, the reader, guessing, but I also have to be fair. I can’t dump the whole story on you at the end if I haven’t dropped clues like breadcrumbs along the way. I always have to backfill clues and red herrings – false clues – after I’m done with the first draft. But if I give away too much, you’ll guess the killer too soon. It’s quite a balancing act.
I also enjoy bringing experiences from my past into the stories in my three series. I’m really excited about my new historical series, the Quaker Midwife Mysteries. Delivering the Truth will release in April. Rose Carroll is a Quaker, a midwife – and now an amateur sleuth, hearing secrets and birthing the truth about murder. Many years ago I taught prepared childbirth classes and supported couples through their births, although I was not a midwife.
In the Local Foods Mysteries I get to plunge back into the world of organic farming with geek-turned-farmer Cam Flaherty and the Locavore Club. I owned and operated a certified organic farm in the nineties. The fourth book, Murder Most Fowl, will be out in late May.
And in my Country Store Mysteries (written as Maddie Day), I enjoy immersing myself in southern Indiana small town life as I did when I lived there while in graduate school. Flipped for Murder came out in October, and book number two, Grilled for Murder, will also release in late May.
In Flipped for Murder, Robbie Jordan remodels a country store full of antique cookware and turns it into a local breakfast and lunch establishment, she doesn’t plan to have murder on the menu. But small-town secrets and bitter rivalries put sand in the batter and before Robbie knows it, her new life is a lot more complicated than she had expected.
Everyone in town shows up for the grand re-opening of the store, but when the mayor’s disagreeable assistant is found dead, Robbie realizes that not all press is good press. With all eyes on her, she’ll have to summon her puzzle-solving skills to clear her name, unscramble the town’s darkest secrets, and track down a cold-blooded killer–before she’s the next to die…