Meet Erica Coleman—a gifted and quirky private investigator with an OCD-like passion for neatness and symmetry, a penchant for cooking, (ten terrific recipes are included), and a weakness for chocolate.
Erica imagined that her trip to Florida would be a slice of heaven—a chance to get away from it all and catch up with her best friend, Wendy. But one day into her vacation, all hope of fun in the sun is dashed when she stumbles, literally, over a dead man on Wendy’s driveway. With police closing in on her friend as their main suspect, Erica must find the real killer before Wendy ends up behind bars.
With Erica’s skill, solving the mystery should be a piece of cake but then a second homicide-attempt hits close to home and generates a whole new list of suspects. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, a murderer is on the prowl, and no one is above suspicion.
As the plot thickens, it appears Erica may have bitten off more than she can chew, but she forges on, sifting through mounting evidence until she hones in on the killer who has a surprising motive for murder. With a dash of romance and some surprising twists, this thrilling mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.
“As she drove back to Wendy’s house, the headlights cleaved the darkness and shone through the rain, which was falling harder now. Erica parked across the street and was nearly to Wendy’s door when she stopped suddenly, catching herself as she nearly fell over something.
It was the still figure of a man lying face down on the driveway. He was strangely unmoving. The light from the porch illuminated a puddle alongside him, which was growing bigger by the second. A chill shivered down Erica’s spine as she noticed that the puddle was streaked by dark red threads that ran and merged with rivulets of rain.”
What made you decide to become a writer?
Writing is an internal desire that I’ve always had. I can’t remember ever not wanting to write. Sometimes I wonder if writers are born, because I’ve certainly always wanted to write. As a child, I was a voracious reader. I think a large part of wanting to be a writer came from reading so much. For three years in a row in elementary school, I won the award for reading the most books. And the prize was: A book! I was delighted, of course.
I think one of the earliest stories I wrote was about my brother’s blue car. He parked it in the back yard when he went on his mission. I was about ten, and wrote about how sad the car was to be alone, and how birds came and sat on it, and so on. My mother thought the story was so “precious” that she shared it with other people, which embarrassed me to death.
What would you like your readers to get out of your writing?
There are a couple of things. First, I want them to be entertained. That’s why, after all, people read—to be entertained by an engaging story. Second, I like to introduce a religious or moral topic to make people think. And I like to leave it open-ended—there are no right or wrong answers.
With Motive for Murder, there are a couple of topics. One is about children, and how they think the world revolves around them. Their viewpoint is so myopic, leaving them unable to see the larger viewpoint and certainly not their parent’s viewpoint. I think this is what drives parents batty—I know it did me.
The second topic is a little deeper and involves church leaders. So many people expect them to be perfect. Some expect their bishops to be clairvoyant, and if they aren’t, they either stop supporting them, become offended, or even start believing they aren’t called of God. This is a huge problem because many people (myself included) expect so much from our leaders and can become upset if they don’t live up to our expectations, even if we are expecting waaaay too much.
Where did you get the idea for Motive for Murder?
I’ve read so many mysteries that I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head. Motive for Murder is a little different from my first book, Light on Fire Island, which was a combination mystery/romance. While there is some romance in Motive, it’s more of a full-blown mystery. I loved the idea of a quirky, OCD private detective, so created Erica Coleman, who will star in forthcoming mysteries. Erica is both helped and hampered by her OCD tendencies, and its fun to see how this alternately charms and irritates people.
Who was your favorite character to develop?
Probably Erica Coleman. I loved her OCD and it was interesting to see how the other characters reacted to it. I also had a lot of fun with Myrna and Coby Kincaid. They were only in one chapter, but they were such fun people, especially Coby. I loved it when Erica helped Coby sneak some cookies while his wife wasn’t looking!
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Never. Give. Up.
People don’t fail because they can’t write, they fail because they stop trying. I have a yellowed newspaper clipping by my computer that says; “For most of us, it isn’t that we don’t have the ability to write, it’s that we don’t devote the time. You have to put in the effort.” Another way of saying that, is if you want to write and be published bad enough, you’ll work for it. And if you work at it, your writing will gradually improve and you WILL be published.
What can we expect next from you?
I have several projects in the works. First, I hope to do a sequel to my non-fiction book, Gaze Into Heaven, which was published earlier this year. Gaze into Heaven is a collection of 50 near-death experiences in early Church History. I’ve had so much positive feedback from readers, which has been very encouraging.
I am continuing to write mysteries and will have another Erica Coleman book out next year. I titled it Charade, but my publisher usually changes the titles.
I am also finishing up a romance, my first, which is called (for now, anyway, )A Home for Christmas.
Oh, I mustn’t forget Heroes of Faith, which will be published later this month. It’s a collection of 24 stories about amazingly valiant people who have stood up for their beliefs despite incredible trials and hardships.
Where can we purchase your book?
Motive for Murder is available in paperback and on CD and is at all LDS bookstores. Here are 3 links where Motive for Murder can be purchased online:
Seagull Book: http://www.seagullbook.com/lds-products-791144.html
* Cover blurb and picture provided by the author. Author picture taken from her website.