I recently had the great pleasure of writing a mystery for Journey Fiction’s Nosy Parker series based on ‘grown-up’ fans of the girl detective—girls of the fifties who’d obsessively read those books many of us also grew up with. My original idea was to have a 1950s heroine with a history degree become involved with a missing historical heirloom donated to Sturbridge Village. This gave me a good excuse to travel there (finally!) and incorporate my love of history into my love of mystery!
But then I made a spontaneous decision to take a trip to Scotland for a big round-number birthday. I’d waited all my life and suddenly I could wait no longer when I found an amazingly low airfare.
“It’s too bad,” I told my publisher. “Here I am going to Scotland but my story is set in Massachusetts.” It all seems so obvious now, but she simply said, “go ahead and change your setting! Scotland will be perfect.” I guess that’s why she’s the publisher and I’m the author!
Scotland certainly offered a lot of possibilities for history and a crime. I focused my plot on the history department at the University of Edinburgh but through some digging, I had the pleasure to hear from two retired professors in the archeology department. More research proved that archeology would be a wealth of opportunity. Indiana Jones, anyone?
Fast forward to my first day in Edinburgh last October. My travel buddy asked if I would mind meeting a young friend of hers for high tea. Great! But you know where it got just a bit crazy? This particular friend was an archeology post-grad… just like my heroine! After our lovely meal, she took us on a tour of the department and inside the archives room. And that’s when I saw it! The murder weapon. A large stone bust on the counter top!
I have to laugh at the way this worked out. The trip has proven to give my story rich details, and seeing that big heavy statue was more than a coincidence. It was a God job!
Never have I so missed writing and polishing a story as when I finally had to send The Case of the Clobbered Cad off to the publisher. It had provided a daily immersion into the most incredible vacation of my life. Scotland will always be calling me back!
Debra E. Marvin is a member of ACFW, Sisters in Crime, is a Grace Awards Judge, and serves on the board of Bridges Ministry in Seneca Falls, NY. She’s one of the founders of Inkwell Inspirations Blog, and is published with WhiteFire Publishing, Forget Me Not Romances, Journey Fiction and Barbour Publishing. Debra works as a program assistant at Cornell University in upstate NY, and enjoys her family and grandchildren, obsessively buying fabric, watching British programming and traveling with her childhood friends