ABOUT THE BOOKJezabelle Jingle and her neighbors in the Penderghast section of Brilliant, Minnesota, have a mystery on their hands.
Someone is stealing sections of hardwood floors in their homes and the thefts may be connected to a long-hidden treasure left by the founders of Brilliant. Not only that, there's a dead body in a basement to add to the mix. Can Jezzy and her quirky friends figure out the puzzle and find the treasure before some other, unknown person – maybe the murderer – beats them to the punch? Or will the town's Chief of Police, Hank Hardy, prevent the group from their sleuthing? Anything can happen in the strange little town of Brilliant, Minnesota. After all, brilliant minds create brilliant finds!
GUEST POST BY JULIE SEEDORF
Birthing new characters at times for me is like birthing a new child. I remember the trepidation on becoming a mother for the first time. Would I know what to do with a baby? What kind of traits and character would my baby have? What kind of a parent would I be, and would my children inherit my good traits or my bad traits. Would I be able to handle a sticky situation or would I be stuck in fear and have to call for help from my parents. Some of the same nervousness happens when I create a new book and a new character.
In November, I decided to take a big leap and start another series. I already had four books in my Fuchsia Minnesota Series. My characters were well established and any new characters I introduced to Fuchsia fit in nicely. I wasn’t tired of the series, but I felt I needed to create another realm for my imagination.
Brilliant Minnesota was a community mentioned in the Fuchsia Series. Granny always traveled to Brilliant to visit Red Hot Momma’s Boutique, so I decided to explore the residents of Brilliant. They had a connection to Fuchsia and it seemed a good idea to have another fictional community in Minnesota.
So here I was birthing new characters. I began to write knowing who my main character Jezabelle was going to be. By that I mean, I knew she was different than Granny but I didn’t know how. I put my nose to the grindstone and began to write my new book having no idea what my characters would be like or what the plot line was. That is the way I write, with my imagination. It took until at least the fourth chapter before I began to connect with my characters and actually fall in love with them. They finally felt like family.
Writing, for each author, is so personal. Some authors live by plot lines and diagrams and they know when they start where they are going to end, but throw in some twists and turns they hadn’t planned on in their journey through their book.
When I first began writing, I felt unsteady, unsure, because I wasn’t doing it the way everyone recommended. I didn’t outline. So I would start to write the acceptable way. On my second book I began an outline, I began a plot and then . . . I hit the wall. It caused me so much anxiety I could not write. I felt my imagination had been stifled. I could not be a writer because I couldn’t do it the right way.
It took me a while to understand we each have our writing style and no matter what the books tell you and experts tell you, if a writer doesn’t stay true to what works for them they do not stay true to themselves and cannot write from the heart. That is my opinion.
It doesn’t mean everyone else is wrong and I am right. The end journey is the same even if our styles are different, and that is to give enjoyment and education to our readers. I color outside the lines, and in my old age I have let myself accept that coloring outside the lines is who I am. It means I take advice from others, I take critique from others, but I follow my heart and my gut when it comes to my writing. I can feel if what my editors and other authors are saying is right for me.
I do outline my plot and my characters, but after my book is done. Do I make mistakes? Absolutely, but Sophia Loren said it best when she remarked, “Mistakes are the dues you pay for a full life.” Isn’t that what every writer is asking for, a full life? It is for me, mistakes and all. I can say I am blessed to be a writer.
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