Thursday, March 15, 2012

How The Story Began - Murder and Mint Tea

An autographed copy of Murder and Mint Tea will be given away to someone leaving a way for me to reach them to let them know where to send the book

This story began many years ago and originally it was to be a single story called And So We Walk On Eggshells. The first draft of the story wasn't great because of the use of First Person. My heroine put in her every observation of life and went on for pages. I put it aside and let it steep for years and then decided to look at the story again. Having learned many things about writing in the meantime, I was able to come up with ways to keep the character, Katherine, and her cat Robespierre. Unlike many mysteries, this one starts with the premise of when is the "nasty tenant and neighbor going to be murdered. WHer impact on the neighborhood and those near and dear to Katherine are shown through her eyes. This has been one of my most successful books to date and there is even an audio version of the book.

Writing in first person was an interesting idea and while I enjoyed it, I also don't like it. There are times when I would like to show another person's view but when a series is started with this. In some ways this book is based on my neighborhood. The story takes place in a Hudson River village and some of the characters are loosely based on people I have known. Loosely is the way to describe how I radically changed things but kept the flavor of the neighborhood. I moved houses to where I wanted them to sit and created a neighborhood of people who were close to each other.

Robespierre, the Maine Coon cat was a real cat and he had many of the characteristics shown by the cat in the story. My children and friends used to call him my familiar and from the moment he was found in the wire rims of my car at the time he was mine. The small kittn fit in my hand and we fed him with a baby doll bottle. He used to perch on my shoulder while I typed my stories. That is until he got too large, say 25 pounds.

Murder and Mint Tea tells the story of Rachel and her troubled past and the way she troubles everyone who comes under her sphere of influence, including her young children. There are hints of child abuse and that of an unhappy woman who seems to enjoy making the lives of other people as unhappy as hers. Like me, Katherine is a retired nurse, but I have never been a church organist or have had anything to do with murders other than in a fictional way.


Charmaine Gordon said...

How interesting to read about your early writing, changes you made as you learned, and the background of a book I'd love to have. And thanks for opening my eyes the past two years.
Charmaine Gordon
23 Paul Ct.
Pearl River, NY 10965

joye said...

Your book sounds really good. I do not know what a coon cat is-do they just appear in Maine only.

RoyalCheryl said...

I just love your cover. Your story sounds like it has a mix of everything. I like that you incorporate people that you have met into your characters. Also your cat. How cool. Congrats.
Cheryl English
1930 Glenwood Rd
Vestal, NY 13850

Janet Lane Walters said...

Maine Coon cats are a breed of cats. Long-haired with a thick undercoat. They look a bit like racoons and are very loveable.

Anonymous said...

I love the cover and the story sounds interesting. As a registered nurse, it also attracts me.
Dr. E. Ben-Sefer
1750 Kalakaua Ave.
Apt. 3501
Honolulu, HI

MaDonna Lemmen said...

That's a cool cat name, my brothers name is Pierre. My mom got it from a little french poodle she liked lol. You're a new author for me. Looking forward to reading your books :)
Thanks, MaDonna

GladysMP said...

The title of this book is fascinating, The words "Mint Tea" just sound so friendly some how. The name of the cat is definitely different, too; as is the place you found the kitten. Cats make good friends.

Renee Simons said...

The Kathryn Miller series by Janet is my very favorite American Cozy (my term for this wonderful series). It's interesting to know how it all began and I'm waiting for the next episode in Mrs. Miller's adventures.