Where Did You Get the Idea for the Series? by Catie Murphy

Hi Friends of the Wickeds. We’re here today with author Catie Murphy celebrating the release of The Death of an Irish Mummy, the third book in her Dublin Driver mystery series, released on June 29th.

Here’s the blurb.

Squiring a self-proclaimed heiress around Dublin has got limo driver Megan Malone’s Irish up—until she finds the woman dead …
American-born Cherise Williams believes herself to be heir to an old Irish earldom, and she’s come to Dublin to claim her heritage. Under the circumstances, Megan’s boss Orla at Leprechaun Limos has no qualms about overcharging the brash Texas transplant for their services. Megan chauffeurs Cherise to the ancient St. Michan’s Church, where the woman intends to get a wee little DNA sample from the mummified earls—much to the horror of the priest.
But before she can desecrate the dead, Cherise Williams is murdered—just as her three daughters arrive to also claim their birthright. With rumors of famine-era treasure on the lands owned by the old Williams family and the promise of riches for the heirs, greed seems a likely motive. But when Orla surprisingly becomes the Garda’s prime suspect, Megan attempts to steer the investigation away from her bossand solve the murder with the help of the dashing Detective Bourke. With a killer who’s not wrapped too tight, she’ll need to proceed with caution—or she could go from driving a limo to riding in a hearse…

Take it away, Catie!

I was contemplating a topic for this post, and a friend of mine suggested the “hideous ‘where did you get the idea for the series’ question,'” which made me laugh because I actually enjoy “where did you get the idea” questions—especially when the answer is clear, which this one definitely is.

I moved to Ireland (from Alaska!) the better part of 20 years ago, and have always wanted to write cozy mysteries. Over the years, my husband (who is an absolute idea machine) had suggested several different cozy ideas, one of which was “a limo driver keeps getting tangled up with mysteries that her clients are involved in.”

The idea of making that limo driver an American in Ireland seemed like a perfect fit for making use of the endless “it’s like living in a foreign country” moments of, well, you know…living in a foreign country. The Dublin Driver mystery series has given me the chance to showcase the Ireland I’ve come to know, as well as to put a funny twist on being an incomer and seeing a culture from the outside.

Now, of course, there can be issues with writing about Ireland for a mostly-American audience! My copy editors (who are the people who check your grammar and commas and a number of other sorts of details in the last stages before publication) really struggle with some of the Irish phrases that are simply not part of the American lexicon. The Irish will say, for example, “It’s only gorgeous,” to mean “it’s tasty,” so I get a lot of “Are you sure you mean this?” kinds of questions at the copy editing stage, and I’ve gotten to where I just respond with “Irishism” in the comments. 🙂

On the flip side of that, I also spend a lot of time running terminology by my Irish-born friends, making sure I’ve got the phrasing right. At this stage, I have it right about 70% of the time. Most of the rest of the time, when they give me the Irish version of the phrase I’m looking for—for example, “What’s up?” or “What’s going on?” in Irish vernacular is generally, “What’s the story?”—I recognize the ‘correct’ phrasing immediately and am mortally embarrassed that I didn’t remember that myself—or, as they’d say here, “I’m scarlet.” 🙂

The truth is, it’s actually harder for me to remember American phrasing these days than Irish! I’ll be working on a piece set in America and I’ll write something—”She went for takeaway,”—and then I sit there and stare at it and think, “No, that’s…that’s not how Americans say it, how do…what do we call…take…away? Takeaway makes sense! We can’t possibly call it something else! We…oh take OUT, it’s takeOUT food, not takeAWAY food!”

And the truth is, all of this feeds exactly in to ‘where the idea came from.’ It’s not just the high concept: it’s the details that make building the Dublin Driver world so much fun. That’s where the story comes to life, and that’s where I really get to revel in what I’m doing.

Readers: What parts of a story bring it to life for you, as readers? I’d love to know!

About Catie

CE Murphy began writing around age six, when she submitted three poems to a school publication. The teacher producing the magazine selected (inevitably) the one she thought was by far the worst, but also told her–a six year old kid–to keep writing, which she has. She has also held the usual grab-bag of jobs usually seen in an authorial biography, including public library volunteer (at ages 9 and 10; it’s clear she was doomed to a career involving books), archival assistant, cannery worker, and web designer. Writing books is better.

She was born and raised in Alaska, and now lives with her family in her ancestral homeland of Ireland.

11 Thoughts

  1. Welcome to the blog, Catie – your books sound delightful and I’m not sure how I’ve missed them so far. I get the same pushback from copyeditors about southern Indiana dialect in dialog. I push back with “Dialect.” Also, one of my sisters (we are native Californians) became a Canadian citizen (she introduced me to Louise Penny’s books early on) and lived in Quebec for many years. Her English was starting to get a little wonky after twenty years. Now she’s in Ottawa and her English is taking on that flavor (but not yet flavour…).

  2. The characters, the conversations and the locations. I like some humor with my mystery too. I love a great looking, cute cover also.

  3. Each individual part of a story blending together to form that cohesive whole that strikes a chord with me is what brings the story to life in my mind. You have to have the characters, the setting, the mystery and make them all work together or there will always be something just not quite right about a book.

    I’ve recently picked up all three books in the series and I’m looking forward to sitting down and reading them as I do seem to really enjoy mysteries set in Ireland.

  4. Hi Catie! I love the little bits that really make the setting pop – local speech, descriptions of setting and culture. That kind of thing.

    Congrats on the book!

  5. Three cheers on the new release, Catie! For me, it’s the tandem of dialogue and setting working together that really bring a story alive. I love reading local “-isms” in the dialogue that help provide such a sense of place. Sláinte!

  6. Congratulations on the rapidly approaching release of “The Death of an Irish Mummy”, which sounds amazing.

    For me what brings a story to life is the author’s attention to detail and consistency – especially in a series. Love when facts, especially the quirky ones, have been researched and possibly having us learn something new.

  7. The parts of a story that bring it alive for me are when the author describes the location, the weather, the houses…the little things, I guess. Helps me to form a picture in my mind, making it more realistic. Your books sound like a fun read!

  8. Congrats on the new book!

    I always enjoy hearing how ideas come about, so thanks for sharing your story. Takeaway makes sense to this American as well, actually. Do you think we can start a trend and get it changed here in America?

  9. Does that mean it’s THREE countries separated by a common language? Well, maybe common vernacular since Gaelic is a different language. The books sound delightful, and the language would make the story pop.

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