Jeff Nania asks WWWWW and H?

Jeff Nania used to catch bad guys and restore wetlands. Now he writes The Northern Lakes Mystery series. You can find out more about him here, see his books here, and read his last post here. Fairly frequently I get asked where I came up with the characters that appear in my books. That is good news to me because it means someone is reading my books. My characters are the foundation of the tales I tell, and most are people I have come to know.  When I started writing I wrote mostly police reports in my first career and…

Continue Reading Jeff Nania asks WWWWW and H?

Saralyn Richard on Why Mysteries Make Us Hungry

Saralyn Richard's most recent book is a Murder of Principal. She is also the author of the Detective Parrott mysteries and children's book, Naughty Nana. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here. Did you know reading murder mysteries burns a lot of calories? It’s true. Research studies conducted while readers were reading mysteries showed the nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat sitting, and heart-pounding scenes burned way more calories than those burned by reading books in any other genre. Well, at least we think so. That gives mystery writers poetic license to include…

Continue Reading Saralyn Richard on Why Mysteries Make Us Hungry

Avanti Centrae asks How Far Would You Go to See the Future?

Avanti Centrae is the author of the VanOps thriller series, and is working on the third one now. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her latest post here I’m currently six chapters into my next action-packed VanOps thriller and thought it would be fun to share a behind-the-scenes look into my writing process and some background on my current research subject. From what I can tell, every author has their own method, whether it’s flying by the seat of their pants until the very last words hit the page, or the other…

Continue Reading Avanti Centrae asks How Far Would You Go to See the Future?

Tracey S. Phillips asks: How is Setting a Character in Fiction

Tracey S. Phillips is not only the author of Best Kept Secrets, she is our esteemed founder and leader. You can find out more about her here, see her book here, and read her last post here. It’s almost springtime in the state that I call home, but I’m not overly anxious for it. My  favorite room in our house was an add-on designed by my husband and is directly above our two-car garage. The four season sunroom faces south. Expansive six-foot windows open three sides to the outdoors where our home nestles in old maple and oak trees. Heated…

Continue Reading Tracey S. Phillips asks: How is Setting a Character in Fiction

Maggie Smith on Writer’s Block

Maggie Smith hosts the Hear Us Roar podcast for WFWA (70+ episodes available on major streaming services). Her debut novel, Truth & Other Lies, was a finalist in the WFWA 2019 Rising Star competition. You can find out more about her here. The email arrived at ten o’clock last night. It was from my best writing buddy with the subject line HELP!  A week had gone by and she hadn’t produced any new work. Not a single chapter, not a single paragraph, not a single sentence. But she was a pro—she knew what to do. So she walked her dog. She…

Continue Reading Maggie Smith on Writer’s Block

Margaret Mizushima asks Do You Have a Pet That’s an Everyday Hero?

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the Timber Creek K-9 mysteries. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here. I’m married to a veterinarian who loves dogs, and throughout our marriage we’ve had two to five dogs in our lives at any given time. It helps that we live in the country, so the occasional bark fest doesn’t bother neighbors. Right now we have three dogs: two German shorthaired pointers named Hannah and Bertie and a border collie named Tess.  All of our dogs have been special, but today I…

Continue Reading Margaret Mizushima asks Do You Have a Pet That’s an Everyday Hero?
Marilyn Levinson on Writing a Series
Marilyn Levinson

Marilyn Levinson on Writing a Series

Marilyn Levinson writes three mystery series, the Golden Age of Mysteries Book Club, and Twin Lakes series as herself, and The Haunted Library series as Allison Brook. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and see her last post here. I love writing mystery series. Judging by the comments I receive, readers love to read them, too.  A series has a sleuth and a supporting cast of characters that live on from book to book. My characters form the backbone of my stories. While they have distinct personalities, they often surprise me as they mature…

Continue Reading Marilyn Levinson on Writing a Series

Tim Chapman Says, “Let’s Have Sex (Fictionally)”

Tim Chapman is a former forensic scientist for the Chicago Police Department and is the author of A Trace of Gold and The Blue Silence. You can find out more about him here, see his last post here, and get his books here. A few summers ago, at the Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago, author Clare O’Donohue and I gave a talk about writing sex scenes. It was essentially a conversation in which we shared opinions and read the nasty bits from a few famous novels, as well as our own. To prepare, I perused books that contained well-known…

Continue Reading Tim Chapman Says, “Let’s Have Sex (Fictionally)”

Sharon Lynn asks: Do you have an untended tradition?

Sharon Lynn writes short stories which have appeared in numberous anthologies, including her most recent, Final Curtain, which is in the 2020 Malice Domestic anthology, Mystery Most Theatrical. Click here for her latest post. Her books are here, and you can find out more about her here. One year my husband decided to spend two days making bagels to surprisemy daughter and me. It was a Valentine’s Day morning, and we awoke tofresh, heart-shaped bagels in our favorite flavors: salt for ourdaughter, jalapeño for me. Needless to say, the whole endeavor was ahuge hit! So much so, that the poor…

Continue Reading Sharon Lynn asks: Do you have an untended tradition?

Christine DeSmet on Questions and Writing

Christine DeSmet is the author of the Fudge Shop Mystery Series set in Door County, and the Mischief in Moonstone Series set in northwest Wisconsin. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and see her last blog post here. Valentine’s Day candy hearts say “Be mine.”   That’s an implied question:  Will you be mine? It’s akin to Mister Rogers asking: “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Will you be my neighbor?  In writing, authors often begin plotting—and steer our stories and protagonist—with the “Will” question. We call it the story’s “Central Question.” In my forthcoming Fudge Shop…

Continue Reading Christine DeSmet on Questions and Writing