My two amateur sleuths, Carrie and Charles Faraday return in my latest cozy mystery Take Stock in Murder. However, there are changes for our detectives since they first appeared in Take a Dive for Murder. In addition to joining together to solve crimes, they have joined together as man and wife.
They are thoroughly enjoying married life except for one small detail—Carrie has been charged with the murder of Todd Barrington, the son of a prominent member of the community and the Tri-County Country Club. Carrie is innocent but the evidence keeps mounting –and it all points to her as the murderer.
There is no shortage of suspects, but which one actually committed the murder? More importantly, will the Faradays find the clues to uncover the real killer before time runs out for Carrie?
(Hopefully this quick summary entices you to grab a copy and read the next installment in the Faraday Murder Series.)
After writing a new book I always look forward to chatting with my readers. In addition to questions about the current book they always want to know about my writing process. Do I write at the same time each day? Do I outline my stories? Where do I get my ideas for plots and characters, etc., etc.? In this blog I’m going to spend a few moments answering questions about characters ─ specifically some of the characters from Take Stock in Murder.
Let me first introduce a new character that comes to live with Carrie and Charles Faraday in their home. Although he is not human, he is a very special addition to the family. They have adopted a stray cat they name Baxter. Baxter is an orange Maine Coon cat and yes he’s based on a similar cat that was part of my family. While Baxter is just a kitten in this book, he will be back for additional appearances in future books. And he might just help with solving mysteries.
Christopher is Back
This is an example of listening to my readers about characters. The second book was almost complete when several readers asked if Christopher would return. I originally did not have him scheduled to make an appearance in the second offering. However, by popular request Christopher was written into the plot and does make a brief appearance. However, I assure his fan club that in future books he will be back. In fact in the planned fourth book he joins his aunt and uncle to help solve a murder at a haunted inn.
The other question I’m often asked by the readers is how I pick a character’s name. My first rule is that I never use the name of anyone I know for one of the main characters and absolutely never for the villain.
My characters are purely fiction. I draw upon personality traits of many people I have met. I wouldn’t want any one individual to think that a character was based entirely on them. So I deliberately choose names not associated with people I know. However, just for fun I do occasionally use names of family members for minor characters.
Selecting First Names
Names go through generational or popularity periods. The names I use for my characters in their fifties are different from the names I pick for my thirty year old characters. For instance, a couple of new characters introduced in Take Stock in Murder are Madge Luther and Marge Millford. These two sisters own the local book store and are in their fifties. Somehow names like Courtney, Ashley, or Shelby don’t seem to fit their age bracket or their personalities. On the other hand Madge and Marge seem just right for these older ladies.
Selecting Last Names
How do I pick last names? I keep a notebook of possible names. However, even with this rather large list I still get stumped.
In the current book, I needed a last name for the murder victim and his family. I wanted a name that implied wealth and social status. I didn’t want to be too obvious by using a name like Worth.
I struggled for several weeks and then while driving home I found my name. I was stopped at a red light and there was a house with a neon sign advertising psychic readings. The name of the psychic was Mrs. Barrington. Even though the professions of my financial family and the psychic couldn’t be farther apart— the name works.
So there you have it─a little bit of information about the book and some insight into my characters.
I hope you enjoy this latest book because Carrie and Charles will be back. Book three is underway and is called Take a Byte out of Murder. It involves murder at a software company owned by Carrie’s father.