I promised myself some years ago that one day I’d write a cozy mystery. That day came earlier this year when I began the first book in a new series. I knew right from the start it would be a paranormal cozy, so one of the first choices I had to make was what kind of paranormal? Should I use ghosts? Vampires? Werewolves? Witches? I love the idea of using magic and creating spells, so it was a no-brainer to make my amateur sleuth a witch. I added an extended family of witches—some good, some not—gave her a potential boyfriend and a best friend with a mysterious past. Then I had to create a place for her to live.
Small towns and cozy mysteries go together like Holmes and Watson. It was so much fun creating a community that is warm and welcoming, where everyone cares about their neighbors. It’s just the kind of place I’d like to live. Well, except for the murders. But then, it wouldn’t be a cozy mystery without a couple of bodies, would it?
The terrain around the town was particularly important for this story. I wanted the murders to occur in isolated places so I created a hilly district of woods and walking trails, which attracts tourists and provides some extra suspects who weren’t townspeople.
Creating the townspeople was the next step. The cast of characters included elderly retired people, owners of local businesses—baker, chef, innkeeper—the mayor and, of course, the sheriff. Not that he solves the murder mystery, that’s the job of the amateur sleuth.
Looks like I have everything in place for my new book...except for a title. I’m considering several possibilities, but I've yet to make a decision. Not to worry, everything will be fine...just so long as I come up with something before the release date in fall 2017.
Janni Nell writes paranormal mysteries. Her latest book Dead Lady Vanishing is available now.