Jessie: In New Hamshire, enjoying the lengthening of daylight.
Alexis Morgan is our guest again today and I as someone who is also a plotter rather than a pantser I was delighted to read her post. I am sure you will find it fascinating too! She is offering ARCs as giveaways to two commenters with US shipping addresses.
Abby McCree spends a summer showing family films under the stars—only to end the season with an unexpected slasher flick . . .
Ushered once again onto another committee by the mayor of Snowberry Creek, Washington, Abby is tasked with keeping the box office receipts of the town’s Movies in the Park nights. Cut to the director’s chair from where she’s suddenly organizing the summer’s last feature. From the opening scene through the final credits, Abby feels she’s earned nominations for best volunteer, best movie date with her tenant Tripp Blackston—and best daughter for ignoring her mother Phoebe’s own movie date with Owen Quinn.
Unfortunately, Abby and the others are treated to a post-credits scene: the body of local insurance agent Mitchell Anders. This discovery is followed by a plot twist revealing that the murder weapon comes from Owen’s food truck. With her mother’s boyfriend suspected of murder, Abby starts her own investigation determined to shine a spotlight on the real killer . . .
LAWN CHAIRS AND MURDER…
Did you know lawn chairs can be lethal?
Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s true that a lawn chair did play a starring role in my newest release, DEATH BY INTERMISSION. You see, when I start at ground zero to begin plotting a story, I often start with a single image and the plot develops from there. That object needs to be something the reader won’t expect to be significant to the plot.
In my first Abby McCree Mystery, it was a missing quilt, one held special significance to Abby, my amateur sleuth. In the second book, it was a beautifully carved jack-o’-lantern. In the third book, it was a something hidden in a toilet tank.
But as I began plotting the fourth book, I immediately imagined a man sitting in a lawn chair, the bill of his baseball cap pulled down low over his face. I could see him so clearly. At that point, I started asking myself questions.
Where was he? There were so many possibilities, but I settled on him being at the city park in Snowberry Creek, the town where Abby lives.
When was he there? That was a bit harder. In theory, it could be any time of day. I liked the idea of him sitting in the deepest shadows just inside the tree line at the top of a small rise long after dark.
But why was he there? Whatever the reason, it would also have to account for why Abby would be there, too. Well, Abby has an ongoing problem with being “volunteered” to take on various committees and events in town. It only made sense to me that this time she should be in charge of a movie-in-the-park night. The movie is over, and Abby is patrolling the area looking for trash and personal articles left behind by the other movie goers.
So far, so good. But why did the man in the chair not leave when everyone else did? Well, it is a murder mystery after all. Once again, Abby gets drawn into a murder investigation to answer the hardest question of them all: Whodunit?
I love plotting a book and the whole creative process behind it. As an avid reader myself, I often wonder what the author’s initial moment of inspiration was that led her to write a book that I particularly love. So here’s my question for everyone today:
If you could ask any author to explain how one of your favorite books came to be, who would it be and which book/series would you ask about?
USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. She is the author of over forty novels, novellas, and short stories that span a wide variety of genres. DEATH BY INTERMISSION is the fourth book in her first cozy mystery series, The Abby McCree Mysteries.