I had always intended that each book in my cozy mystery Watch series would stand out with an originality of its own. I had thrown some pretty serious issues at the main characters, Kathryn Frasier and Cece Goldman, in the first two books, and I wondered how I could keep things fresh.
So, in the third book, I decided to create new secondary characters to add spice to the story. At the same time, I had decided to dedicate the book to my cousin Joan, my best friend from childhood. While I was mulling over these two lines of thought, it dawned on me to combine them. Thus, ten-year-old Reen Penterson and her nine-year-old cousin, Joanie Finelson, were born. And, oh goodness, did they add spice to the novel.
The story takes place on the campus of fictional Bellevue University, and the plot revolves around mysterious codes left in the prayer box in the university chapel. Suspecting the codes might contain a clue to the recent death of Mr. Tyme, the university librarian, the chapel minister enlists the help of Kathryn and Cece to try to decipher the codes.
But when Reen overhears a conversation that convinces her the university librarian was murdered, she recruits Joanie, and they dive into their own “investigation,” with occasional hilarious results. Their all-out, no-holds-barred curiosity had me laughing out loud.
Contrasting the two teams of female sleuths added depth to the story. The adults, Kathryn and Cece, were analytical and responsible in trying to understand the meaning of the codes and how they related to the death of Mr. Tyme. On the other hand, Reen and Joanie turned the campus upside down with their “interrogations” of people. In the end, both teams contributed to solving the mystery and finding a killer.
Now that the book is published, I look back and realize that writing the story had taken me back to an era of innocence and childhood that I had almost forgotten. The antics, occasional disagreements, but unabridged trust between best friends in childhood is a special bond that lasts forever. And this is one of the reasons I find novel-writing to be so fulfilling. We as authors are renewed and edified by our own writing. Old experiences combine with new thoughts to lift us up to a new understanding of ourselves and others.
I may have to write Reen and Joanie into their own series as main characters. If they bring as much joy to others as they have to me, they would be a gift to the world.
Kay DiBianca is a former software developer and IT manager who retired to become an award-winning author of cozy mysteries. She loves to create literary puzzles for her readers to solve, and her characters come to life as they struggle to solve murders and create relationships amidst the ongoing themes of faith and family.
Kay is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and the Collierville Christian Writers Group. She is also a regular contributor to the Kill Zone Blog. An avid runner, she can often be found at a nearby track, on the treadmill, or at a large park near her home. Her background in software development fuels her fascination with puzzles and mysteries, and her dedication to running helps supply the endurance and energy she needs to write about them!
Kay and her husband, Frank, live, run, and write in Memphis, Tennessee.
You can connect with Kay through her website at https://kaydibianca.com.