Jessie: In New Hampshire, where there are more leaves skittering about on the ground than clinging to the trees!
I am so delighted that today is the release day for my third Beryl and Edwina Mystery, Murder Cuts the Mustard! I have had so much fun writing each of these books and this one was no different than the first two. With each passing book I love discovering more and more about my two intrepid sleuths!
Every time I sit down to write about these ladies I can hear them each chattering away distinctly in my ears. I love to eavesdrop on their conversations and take notes as they go about their business! I’ve mentioned before that I outline my novels so I have some idea what sorts of mechanics I am trying to accomplish with each scene I set out to write. I jot a couple sentences on a sticky note for each scene and arrange them into an order that feels right to me at the outset of the project.
But even though this is my ninth novel to be released I never know before I get started just how the story will actually unfold. Until I start to work in earnest I don’t know who will say what or how they will say it. I don’t know if a new quirk in one of the characters’ personalities will rise to the surface or if an unexpected backstory will flesh out. It is always delightful to experience the surprise of it all!
And speaking of surprises, I like to think of how surprised Edwina, and even Beryl, would be by the changes in the world since their era, the 1920s. In Murder Cuts the Mustard Beryl acquires a Remington portable typewriter and both she and Edwina make use of it. I would love to see either of their faces if they could watch me writing about them. While I am certain they would love my my computer, they would be even more intrigued by the fact that I dictate my books using Dragon dicatation software.
I open Scrivener, my preferred writing software, and turn on my dictation program. Then I pop my headset on and close my eyes or focus on a soft on the wall. I clear my throat and wait for what amounts to a movie to start running behind my eyes. I usually “see” the film from the perspective of whichever of my characters is narrating that particular scene.
Then I begin to describe what I am seeing. For the most part it doesn’t feel as though I am doing any of the decision making as the scene plays out. It feels as though the story just moves through my head and then on out of my mouth. From time to time, I flick my gaze to the screen to check that the software is keeping up with my steady stream of story. I still cannot quite believe the computer is able to keep up with me, especially when Beryl is the one with something to say!
I think they would also both be enchanted by the opportunity to correspond with each of you here, on the blog! Beryl would love to chat with you about places to travel and best spots to drop in for an illicit cocktail. Edwina would delight in swapping recipes or gardening tips or even to chat about reading recommendations.
They would also love to chime in on my Jessica Ellicott Facebook page for a live event this evening at 7:30 ET to help launch Murder Cuts the Mustard! Since they cannot really join me, I hope that you will!
Readers, who is one of your favorite fictional characters and what would you like to chat with her or him about? Leave a comment by midnight ET on October 31 for a chance to win one of three copies of Murder Cuts the Mustard.