Tracing Inspiration with Mollie Cox Bryan

Edith here, happy to welcome our cozy author friend Mollie Bryan, also published by Kensington, who had a first-in-a-new-series release only two days ago! I can’t wait to read Death Among the Doilies. And Mollie is giving away a copy to one lucky commenter here.

Here’s Mollie’s post, Tracing InspirationDeath Among the Doilies

“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. ” Alan Alda

When I approached the keyboard each morning, coffee in hand, and began writing any of the books from my Cumberland Creek Series, I felt comforted by my old friends there. But I became a little antsy because a new character kept pecking at me.  She might have fit in at Cumberland Creek with my circle of scrap bookers. But she felt strong enough to develop a book or a series around.

It’s hard to know what to do in this case, isn’t it? Invite her in? Start something new?

I love my Cumberland Creek characters and there’s probably still more exploration and fun to come with them. But sometimes, if you can figure out where your gut is leading you, it’s best to make the leap and try something new. So I did.

I’ve been thinking about what led to the creation of Cora Chevalier, the character who first grabbed me to build this new series around. As a writer of crafty mysteries about scrapbooking, I tried to keep up with crafty happenings and the latest trends.

I kept reading about these fabulous craft retreats. I nearly drool every time I think about getting away to do nothing but craft. No meals to prepare, no errands to run, no homework checks. Wow.

And in the mean time,  I’d run across posts about the healing nature of crafting, especially knitting and crochet. There’s a lot written about it.

This character poked harder at me. What could put her in the life situation  where she could run a craft retreat?  Why would she want to do it? What is her mission?

Cora leapt out of my imagination and onto the computer screen when I came up with her back story, which is what kept her out of Cumberland Creek—as she was a social worker in Pittsburgh (my home city). I imagine her as a cross between Zooey Deschanel and Stevie Nicks (odd combo, isn’t it?), and as she poked at me, she became more clear to me.

She definitely needed her own series. It was a thrilling decision to make—and a scary one, as well.

DSC_0049My readers expect Cumberland Creek, and I’ve been very pleased to write those books. (I still may write more!)  Of course, I don’t want to disappoint them. I think they will like Cora, her friend Jane, and Ruby. Also, I’ve decided that my Cumberland Creek characters will visit my new town of Indigo Gap, as well. I hope that tempts my readers to come along for the new series.

How it has come together is better than I expected. Cora left behind Pittsburgh and her job at a women’s shelter, which created a life-threatening anxiety disorder for her. Cora wants to help, but she is not cut out to be a social worker. Perhaps she’s found her way as a craft retreat purveyor and blogger, still helping in a different, way less stressful manner. Not completely stress free, of course, else we would not have a murder series.

Mollie Cox Bryan, author of the Cora Crafts Mysteries and the Agatha Award-nominated Cumberland Creek mystery series, is also an award-winning journalist and poet.  She’s recently published her first historical fiction, “Memory of Light: An Aftermath of Gettysburg.” She currently writes and crafts in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband and two daughters. Please visit her at, where you can sign up for her exclusive newsletter. For scrapbooking, recipes, and other crafty-freebies, join her on Pinterest

Readers, do you follow your favorite writers as they start new series or venture into other kinds of books? Writers, how do you make the decision to start something new? Remember, a copy of Death Among the Doilies to one lucky commenter!

44 Thoughts

  1. Yes, I usually try the new series of my favorite authors. I love doilies. Reminds me of my grandmother. My grandfather passed when I was just a baby and she never remarried. She loved to knit and crochet, needlepoint, etc. She made me doilies many years ago. Memories!

  2. Thanks for joining us, Mollie! Yes, I try out a new series by an author I love, and am rarely disappointed. And something new can be an inspiration that refuses to go away, which is what happened with my Quaker midwife, or an editor asking for a series on a particular theme, which I then get excited about (top secret, but I’m working on a proposal like that right now). Best of luck with the new gig.

  3. Yes, I’ll try a favorite author’s new series. You just never know what kind of new things, people, or places (real or fictional) may find their way into a work and I love getting the opportunity to explore and learn about them all. Thank you for giving us all the chance to win and explore whatever you have come up with in Death Among the Doilies.

  4. I want to meet Zooey-Stevie! I’m always happy to try something new from a favorite writer (if only there weren’t so many!). As for starting something new–it depends. Sometimes the publisher makes that decision for you. Sometimes I’m drawn to a place and can see a character and a story fitting neatly in it, kind of a package deal. You never know when that will happen, but it’s fun watching for it.

  5. If I like the Author, I look forward to trying a new series! Indigo Gap sounds like a cool place to check out 🙂
    Kelly Braun

  6. Thanks for sharing today! Absolutely I will try a new series written by an author I enjoy. Once you have found you like their writing style it is usually a safe bet you will like other series written by them. This particular series has had a lot of buzz and it seems “the readers” are anxious to meet Cora. I know I most certainly am and would love to win the new book. Thanks for the opportunity and best of luck!

  7. Thanks for visiting the Wickeds, Mollie! As an enthusiastic knitter, I would have to agree that having something on the needles is a great way to restore the spirits.

    I write a few different series and I have been fortunate to have the main characters show up to play before I had a place to put them. I am always so pleased to get to meet them!

  8. Welcome, Mollie! I love how you describe a character poking you — I have one poking me and can’t wait to see where we go. Congratulations on the new series!

  9. I do follow my favorite authors when new series come out. It’s fun to see something fresh, new and different, but still stay true to my old character friends.

  10. Thanks for coming on the blog, Mollie! And congrats on the new series. I’ve felt that connection to a character a few times, my protag from Pawsitively Organic being one, and it’s never let me down.

  11. I will read new series or book by authors I like. I like to see new characters develop and grow. Thanks for the chance!

  12. Hi Mollie. Welcome to the Wickeds.

    I’m a scrapbooker and have been to several scrapbooking retreats. I love them. I love being about to focus on just one thing and feel the progress getting made in a concrete way. In fact, I have one coming up in October. Looking forward!

  13. I really think I need to meet Cora and do my crafting through her since I’ve not even attempted Color books for adults. yet. My mom was born with a hand that didn’t form from the knuckles down but as we say in my family there wasn’t anything she couldn’t do and do well. She knitted, sewed, canned, painted and washed clothes in the bath tub on a wash board and then ironed them.. Now my muched loved DIL does all the crafting.

  14. Interesting look at how a new character and new series began. Thanks for the look behind the scenes.

    If a favorite author starts something new, I’m always along for the ride. I might have a favorite series, but it’s rare that I don’t continue both series, and the one I don’t like as much often grows on me.

  15. I love seeing new paths/series that my favorite writers delve into. I’ve collected many different series lines and it keeps me in books between each publishing!

  16. I do follow fav authors and their books especially when they start a series as an example i love Edith Maxwell and so i wait and wait for a new book to come out and get so excited when i hear that she has a new one coming as i love her series that she has going on.

  17. I usually follow an author through a series-in between I love to read mysteries with a little romance thrown in!

  18. I love series! It connects me to the writer and to the characters! In between, I love to read stand alone books, with a lot of mystery and a little romance thrown in!

  19. Yes. If I read an Australian t hour I will try something as long as it is way off what they normally do. True time, horror,etc not my style

  20. I love books. Reading is my favorite hobby. It is also a wonderful stress reliever!

  21. Usually I will at least try a new series or venture if it is written by one of my favorite authors. I remember one of my grandmother’s made dollies, and she had them on most of the furniture in the whole house. Lol but they were beautiful work.

  22. I see new books coming out and I always want to try new authors. I like the books in a series a lot.

  23. I do follow authors when they start a new series. I know if I liked other series written by them, I’m going to like a new series too. I have enjoyed your scrapbooking series and look forward to reading “Death Among the Doilies”.

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