As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours to celebrate the release of Death by a Whisker: A Cat Rescue Mystery, T. C. LoTempio stopped by to share her thoughts on writing murder mysteries. Enjoy.
Channeling Your Inner Jess Fletcher by T. C. Lotempio
If you’re a fan of mystery series, and MURDER SHE WROTE in particular, you might have heard of something called “Cabot Cove Syndrome”. Which is a term for a locale or a person whom death and mystery seems to stalk – ad nauseum!
Not a funny thing when you’re a writer of said mysteries! Plotting a mystery, particularly a murder mystery, is hard enough work! How many bodies can one stumble on before you get a “body magnet” label attached to you, as Nora Charles in my Nick and Nora series has! (although sometimes it’s hard to tell whether she or her cat, Nick, is the body magnet). Syd McCall in my Cat Rescue series is also well on her way to getting the same distinction!
Becoming a BM could be construed as a problem when writing a cozy series. How does one avoid boring the reader? Well, one way is to alternate the murder weapon – this time, a gun; next time, a knife, the time after that, poison—and so on. Alternate the mode of discovery as well. And even though the Nick and Nora series always starts out with a murder in its prolog, sometimes it’s good to wait a bit to have a murder occur in the body of the story until readers become invested in your characters! If they build up a rapport with your sleuth, they might be a tad more forgiving as to why so many folks come up dead in his/her balliwick!
Expand your character’s horizons, if at all possible. If you can send your sleuth on a trip to stumble across dead bodies, all the better! To quote Wikipedia:
— From a statistical perspective, coincidences are inevitable and often less remarkable than they may appear intuitively –
In short, where murders occur – and why – are just one of those things you can’t explain, one of life’s little mysteries. Which is my response when cynical readers remark on Nora’s penchant for coming across a dead body – or two, or three.
Sit back and enjoy the ride, and if you have to, channel your inner Jessica. You might end up solving the crime right along with our sleuth.
About Death by a Whisker
Getting used to life back home in Deer Park, North Carolina, Sydney McCall and her right-hand tabby, Toby, are helping her sister Kat run the local animal shelter. Syd and Kat are all excited about the prospect of the shelter’s newest fundraiser: shopping channel queen Ulla Townsend. Shelter admin Maggie Shayne vehemently refuses to have anything to do with the woman, but the fundraiser ensues as planned. That is, until Ulla turns up dead in the middle of the event.
The cause of death is determined to be an allergic reaction, but Syd and Toby are sniffing out something fishy. When Syd met Ulla, it was clear she was distasteful and rude. And right before the event, Syd spotted some behind-the-scenes drama between Ulla and her manager. As they begin to investigate, they realize there is no shortage of suspects, and Maggie is at the top of the list.
Now Syd and Toby must claw their way to the truth before everything goes paws up at their animal shelter in Death by a Whisker by national bestselling author T. C. LoTempio.
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About the Author
While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM. #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, was released in December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.net and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com.
Where to find them:
- ROCCO’s blog: www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com
- Website: https://www.tclotempio.net/<
- facebook: https://www.facebook.com/toni.lotempio.5