Saturday, August 23, 2014

HOW I CAME TO WRITE MY BOOK: WELL READ, THEN DEAD, Terrie Farley Moran




Hi Patti, thanks for inviting me to talk about my recently released cozy mystery, Well Read, Then Dead, the first novel in the Read ’Em and Eat series published by Berkley Prime Crime. I’ve always loved writing short mystery fiction and I’m fortunate that my short stories have appeared here and there in anthologies and magazines. Over the years I’ve written noir, crime, traditional mystery, and paranormal mystery short stories. I’ve even managed a cozy story or two.    


I must confess that when it comes to novels, I read cozies more than any other type and I have always wanted to write and publish a cozy mystery series.

I was actually inspired to write Well Read, Then Dead by Christine Begley, who works for Pennypress/Dell Magazines. She and I met several years ago at the annual Alfred Hitchcock/Ellery Queen pre-Edgar bash. Chris told me about a book she’d recently read called Shadow Country written by the late Peter Matthiessen. He introduces his readers to the untamed and isolated Ten Thousand Islands on the edge of the Everglades in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries He bases his fiction solidly in fact. I read the entire book (about 900 pages) in a few days and then re-read the parts I loved most. Matthiessen made the south Florida Gulf coast so fascinating that I knew I had to write about it. 

At first I intended to write a short story set in that time and place, but ultimately I decided that a modern story with references to the past would make a perfect cozy mystery. So I asked my daughter, who lives in southwest Florida, to suggest a barrier island that would make a nice home for the café and bookstore known as the Read ’Em and Eat. She suggested Fort Myers Beach and I have to say it is the perfect cozy community with an enduring cadre of full time residents and enough vacationers to add variety.



As a cozy reader, when I finish reading a book, I always want to spend more of my time “living” with the characters. I hate for our visit to end. Writing this series allows me to spend an expanded amount of time hanging out in the Read ’Em and Eat and roaming Fort Myers Beach with Sassy, Bridgy and the gang. Of course it’s all completely in my head, but isn’t that where we readers have the most fun?

6 comments:

Naomi Hirahara said...

Fascinating how a 900-page book on an island in Florida could inspire a cozy mystery! Love how setting is such an integral part of this subgenre.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've got this. Need to read soon.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi Patti, thanks again for inviting me to hang out with you this weekend.

Naomi, I know, right? But i just fell in love with Shadow Country and the Ten Thousand Islands and could not get the history and the exoticism of the place out of my head. It became a cozy because that is what I wanted to write.

Charles, I do hope you enjoy. Hugs to Lana.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Thanks for hosting Terrie.

Terrie - How interesting (and cool!) that you were inspired by a real-life meeting. I have to say I love your title too. I wish you much success.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Margot, Thanks so much. I think it always helps when we listen to what other people have to say. And sometimes someone else's words give us a gentle push down the right path.

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

Patti,
I enjoy reading the intriguing series, "How I Came to Write My Book." The posts are always fascinating and inspirational.

Terrie,
Congrats on the publication of your debut cozy mystery. It's a dream pursued and realized ~ an awesome accomplishment You're a gifted story-teller who has a fabulous sense of humor -- a winning combination :-)

Thanks for sharing "the story behind the story," Terrie!