February 26, 2018

The Magic Carpet of “What If?”

By Blanche Day Manos

One of the nice things about being a writer is that a writer is not limited by time or space. One of the nice things about being a reader is you are not, either. When you open the pages of a book, you are hopping on that magic carpet of what if and going with the writer, wherever that phrase takes you.

People often ask writers where we get our ideas for stories. I see story starters all around me. A news item reports a missing man. But, what if he did not want to be found, went to another state, assumed a fictitious name, and then was accused of committing a crime years ago. Unknowingly, he had chosen a notorious name.

When I wrote Moonlight Can Be Murder, I began with the premise of Ned McNeil receiving a letter from her one living relative, her uncle, asking Ned to come home. He was clearly worried about something. What if, when Ned arrived at her uncle’s house, she found him dying? His last words to her were about a rose. The story centers on Ned trying to find what he meant. Of course, the more she tried to unravel that tangled mystery, the more mysterious it became. The “what ifs” were abundant.

What if a retired kindergarten teacher, with time on her hands, decided to try writing the type of story she most liked to read? What if she found a willing publisher who brought her cozy mysteries to life as completed books? The answer to those questions could lead to a new career and many fulfilling hours at the computer, tapping out one puzzle after another. As I said, the “what ifs” are endless and the answers are the way mysteries are born.
Blanche Day Manos is the author of the Darcy and Flora series about a mother and daughter sleuth team: The Cemetery Club, Grave Shift, Best Left Buried, and Grave Heritage. She also writes the Ned McNeil mysteries, following courageous heroine Nettie Elizabeth (Ned) McNeil through breath-taking scenes in Moonlight Can Be Murder and By the Fright of the Silvery Moon. In addition to her cozy novels, she has been published in children’s magazines, educational magazines, and Christian periodicals. She welcomes visitors to her daily blog site. A native Oklahoman and retired teacher, Blanche now lives in bustling and energetic Northwest Arkansas. Her mysteries are set in the small towns she knows so well. You can find Blanche at these places:

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