by C.L. Bauer
While most writers produce work based on what they know, I find I begin there, and I grow with my characters. I’ve just published my fourth novel, The Sweet Pea Secret, and I’m just as excited as when I saw my first one in print. This novel is no different.
When they tell you to write about your own environment, don’t you wonder what the author has lived through to write a mystery? Hopefully, we never discover a drug shipment in a box of flowers; we never have our car stolen and used in a drug run; we never go on a trip and end up embroiled in a street shooting in Paris; and we never attempt to take down an international terrorist. But that’s what my dear character does. But I didn’t! Or did I?
Lily Schmidt, of The Lily List Mysteries, has lived in her very comfortable world. It’s cozy there, until she discovers a drug shipment in a flower box. She’s just a Kansas City florist who has made everyone around her very happy. A mysterious man walks into her shop, and she is stalked by drug dealers who want their shipment returned. This did happen to a real florist several years back. I just took that event and elaborated. It’s called fiction for a reason.
My car was stolen, and unlucky for Lily, the same thing happens to her. In my third novel, I took Lily, or she took me, to Paris, France. It is one of my favorite places in the world. Poor Lily becomes involved in international intrigue. Thankfully, my trips to Paris have only involved intrigue of the food variety! My florist who loves her post-it notes and lengthy organized lists begins to discover that “normal” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I tend to agree with her.
Lily, on the page, has her fears and feelings of inadequacy. Perhaps, in the beginning she was afraid of just about everything, but never her job. She knew she was good at her profession, and she strived to always do better. Her personal life was a wreck, but as she goes on adventure after adventure, her confidence begins to grow with the love she has discovered. And always, as in this latest escapade, Lily gives out and is surrounded by humor. Can you really go a day without laughing? Hopefully, no.
My series always has at least one wedding thrown in for good measure. All those wedding stories are actually based on true events that my family has seen over the years. We do wedding flowers. We’ve seen the dog destroy the marriage license before the ceremony begins. I’ve seen the failed cake, and the wedding coordinator who can wear stilettos all day. We’ve delivered in ice storms and floods. We have cried with the jilted bride, and during this pandemic, we have virtually held a hand.
By now, it seems that Lily runs the show. Oh, I still come up with the ideas, the characters, and the plots, but she is now part of a team, and a family who realize just how valuable she is. She has turned her normal, comfortable life in for a new model—one with danger, love, and lots of laughs.
She’s not afraid to play with the big boys. She can face her past, even when it is in the form of her former boyfriend. Score one for all of us who have been dumped unceremoniously for no good reason! Lily manages to say all the right things to him, finally. Haven’t you ever wanted to do that, but your head and your mouth just don’t connect? Whew, it’s like therapy. I just go to my laptop, and Lily does the work.
For better or worse, my characters always carry just a bit of me in them. Some of my family say they can hear my voice when Lily is thinking her internal thoughts. Lily and I do love an organized schedule, and I can wallpaper with my post-it notes. She and I also eat thin mints when stressed, and on a particularly bad day we need a real soft drink with all the caffeine and sugar. We both have hips and hair that curls in the Missouri humidity. We find comfort in a rerun of Jessica Fletcher.
In The Sweet Pea Secret, Lily even gets a nickname. I’ve had several over the years. For both of us, a cozy mystery gives us the opportunity to take a risk. It’s not that frightening because Lily and I both know that by the last page of the book, I’ll make sure we are safe, happy, loved, and thinking about what we’re going to have for dessert.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week!
You can use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.