Michele Pariza Wacek is visiting Ascroft, eh? today to tell us about Murder Next Door, her latest novel in the Charlie Kingsley Mystery series.
Welcome, Michele. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
Murder Next Door is Book 3 in the Charlie Kingsley Mysteries series. The series takes place in the 1990s and Charlie runs a tea and tincture business out of her home. She also has a knack for solving mysteries and her tea clients have a knack for needing someone to help them get out of a jam.
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
It’s a vampire/Rear Window mashup. I always loved Alfred Hitchcock movies, including Rear Window, and I started to wonder what Mildred, one of Redemption’s most notorious nosy neighbours, saw next door. Was it a murder? Something else?
I know! She thinks her next door neighbor’s housesitter is a vampire!
(I should probably note this is not a paranormal cozy.)
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
A common theme in all my stories is “things are never as they seem” and, of course, thinking a vampire is living next door to you certainly fits that. But, also, this book touches upon atoning for past sins and doing the right thing even when it’s difficult.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
My characters more or less show up and insist I write about them. In terms of favourites, I would say Charlie is definitely at the top. She was one of my most persistent characters, constantly tapping me on my shoulder until I would write her stories. She’s got me better trained now.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
I try and touch on multiple senses, certainly sight and sound, but also smells. I don’t write a lot of description, I mostly try and keep the story moving forward, but what description I do write, I try and make as powerful as possible.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
Lots of internet searches, of course, but I also reach out to friends and family where appropriate. I haven’t found anyone yet who doesn’t like helping a fiction author out.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book? Even though I’m designing this series to be a standalone, I am starting a few series arcs in this book that will be continued throughout the series.
Thanks for answering my questions, Michele, and good luck with Murder Next Door, the latest book in the Charlie Kingsley Mystery series.
Readers can learn more about Michele and her writing by visiting her website and her Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.
The novel is available online at Amazon
About Michele Pariza Wacek: When Michele was 3 years old, she taught herself to read because she wanted to write stories so badly. It took some time (and some detours) but now she does spend much of her time writing stories. Mystery stories, to be exact. They’re clean and twisty, and range from psychological thrillers to cozies, with a dash of romance and supernatural thrown into the mix. If that wasn’t enough, she posts lots of fun things on her blog, including short stories, puzzles, recipes and more, at MPWNovels.com. For a free prequel to her cozy mystery series, The Charlie Kingsley Mysteries, visit https://mpwnovels.com/freebies/
Michele holds a double major in English and Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she lives in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona with her husband Paul and southern squirrel hunter Cassie.
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