Good day, my fellow book lovers. I’m always interested in learning where authors find their ideas for writing, such as how they come up with their characters, how do they choose the setting, themes, etc. Today, Mary Ellen Hughes, acclaimed author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries, the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, and the Keepsake Cove Series including A Vintage Death stops by and shares with us some insight on creating characters. Thank you, Ms. Hughes, for taking the time to visit with us today.
Mary Ellen Hughes
When someone learns that I’m a mystery author, their thoughts seem to fly to the hard-boiled police detective or serial killer kind. But there’s many others, and I choose to write the less violent mystery that focuses on the puzzle. I like to explore motives that cause an every-day sort of person to murder, or the inner workings of the average-seeming person who’s hiding a secret darkness. People fascinate me, so I love to create characters.
For my Keepsake Cove series, I created Callie, a young woman whose life is suddenly changed by the death of an aunt who she didn’t know well. In the first book, A Fatal Collection, Callie inherits a music box shop and cottage in Keepsake Cove from that aunt, but after she moves into her new home and learns more about her aunt’s life, she finds it impossible to believe that the death was accidental. So Callie asks questions and studies the people around her to discover who might have actually caused it. This, of course, meant bringing in many characters, all of whom I enjoyed presenting to the reader for them to decide who could be trusted and who couldn’t.
In my latest release, A Vintage Death, Callie has settled into her new life. As part of Keepsake Cove’s fall celebration, she invites a popular suspense author for a book event that will draw a crowd. I loved creating that author, whose life and personality is a contrast to Callie’s. They quickly become friends, and Lyssa becomes an ally in a new murder investigation. My critique group liked that character so much they urged me to keep her in the series, so I have, writing her a big part in the next book that’s currently in progress.
The amazing thing to me is that someone who only exists on paper because I described her and wrote everything she said, becomes real, at least in the minds of readers. I’ve had emails from readers worried about what so-and-so was going to do next, or hoping a problem for them was going to turn out all right. That boggles my mind, while at the same time it delights me and motivates me to do more.
Writing can be hard. It’s time-consuming, and it often means giving up other things you’d like to do. But knowing that what you wrote has put someone into a world they wanted to be in, introduced them to people that they came to care about, and lingered pleasurably in their minds long after the book was closed, makes the effort so worthwhile.
I’ll continue to create those new worlds and new people as long as anyone wants me to, and probably longer. My worlds might not be anything you can touch and feel or my characters anyone you can actually have over for a chat. But they can become real in the imaginations of readers. If my readers have learned new things while walking through those worlds and understood the people around them a little better from looking into the minds of those characters, then that’s all to the good. I’ve done my job, and I was most happy to do it.
A Vintage Death (A Keepsake Cove Mystery)
by Mary Ellen Hughes
2nd in Series
Midnight Ink (November 8, 2018)
Paperback: 264 pages
As the new music box store owner and resident of Keepsake Cove, a quaint town full of collectible shops on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Callie Reed is eager to get more involved in her community. She volunteers to plan the Fall street decorations and welcome a visiting author who’s come for a special book signing. But the celebratory mood is cut short when the local B&B owner is found dead, killed by a pair of vintage scissors.
Suspicion is cast on the victim’s estranged wife, Dorothy, who owns Keepsake Cove’s vintage sewing shop. Callie is sure Dorothy is innocent, and the visiting author agrees. Together, they begin their own investigation, only to discover that many people in Keepsake Cove have secrets. Secrets that are worth killing to keep quiet.
About the Author
Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries (Penguin), the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. A Fatal Collection is her debut with Midnight Ink. A Wisconsin native, she has lived most of her adult life in Maryland, where she’s set many of her stories. Visit her at www.MaryEllenHughes.com.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MaryEllenHughesauthor
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/mehughes13/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/mehughesauthor
GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/402922.Mary_Ellen_Hughes
Purchase Links – Amazon B&N Midnight Ink
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