The Clue to Character by Mystery Writer Daniella Bernett

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The Clue to Character
Daniella Bernett

 

Where would a story be without a character? Character is the engine that drives the narrative. For me, it is a magical process. Imagine having the omnipotent power to create and mold a person on the page. Not only do I get to conjure up the character’s physical attributes and such details as a birthdate, but I have the opportunity to develop his or her personality. Evil or noble? Intelligent or foolish? Witty or dull? Take a smidgen of this and add a pinch of that, and voilà a person starts to emerge. To be believable, the reader must be given intimate insight into the character’s thoughts and emotions, likes and dislikes. One has to understand the motives behind why a character reacts a certain way. Of course to be fully formed, the author must imbue the character with both admirable qualities and flaws. After all, in real life nobody is perfect. So too must it be on the written page. Once the author is satisfied with the character sketch, then the real fun begins: unfurling the imagination to weave the tale.

 

When writing a mystery series, the essential component is a sleuth to solve the crime. Here, the author is presented with two possibilities: professional detective or amateur sleuth. It all circles back to character and the story that the author has in mind for him or her. For my series, I chose the amateur sleuth. My protagonists are journalist Emmeline Kirby and jewel thief Gregory Longdon.

 

 

Business, internet, technology concept.Businessman chooses Inves

 

 

 

 

Why a journalist? A journalist is inherently curious about many subjects. His or her job is to ask questions to uncover the truth and ensure transparency. Naturally, a journalist would be intrigued by crime, especially murder. The determination to find answers and see that justice is served are all important.

 

Now, how does a jewel thief fit into the model of a sleuth? Aren’t lying and evading the law a thief’s modus operandi? Isn’t this in stark contrast to a journalist’s reverence for the truth and justice? Most definitely, but that’s exactly the point. A portrait in contrasts. Who better than someone on the wrong side of the law to discern the twisted workings of a fellow criminal’s mind? A thief immediately recognizes things that the honest person would never even contemplate. In Gregory’s case, he has a certain code of honor. Murder is an offensive transgression. A line that should never be crossed. Thus, I have two diametrically opposed sleuths who are of one mind when it comes to the taking of a human life: the culprit must pay for the crime, otherwise chaos would reign in the world.

 

Meanwhile to round out my ensemble, I have Chief Inspector Oliver Burnell and Sergeant Jack Finch of Scotland Yard. They represent “the law” in all its gravitas. While their job is to hunt down criminals, sometimes the law’s constraints chafe and make their task more difficult. That’s why I have Gregory. He is Burnell’s nemesis. They have an adversarial, cat-and- mouse relationship. As a thief, Gregory has more flexibility to maneuver and never misses an opportunity to needle the chief inspector. Burnell, for his part, has been thwarted in his many attempts at catching Gregory red-handed. Will he ever succeed? The jury is out on that question.

 

There are myriad things to consider when delving into the essence of what makes a captivating and appealing character. The author must much achieve a delicate balance of shadow and light, intrigue and clarity, to give the story meaty substance and an air of authenticity. It’s an ongoing challenge, but one that you as a writer have to explore in every book as you seek to make readers truly care about your characters. Once readers make an emotional connection, you have them hooked because that means they want to know the story behind the character.

 

 

 

 

Daniella Bernett Author Photo

 

 

 

Daniella Bernett is a member of the Mystery Writers of America NY Chapter. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Journalism from St. John’s University. Lead Me Into Danger, Deadly Legacy and From Beyond The Grave are the first three books in the Emmeline Kirby Gregory Longdon mystery series. She also is the author of two poetry collections, Timeless Allure and Silken Reflections. In her professional life, she is the research manager for a nationally prominent engineering, architectural and construction management firm. Daniella is currently working on Emmeline and Gregory’s next adventure.

 

Visit www.daniellabernett.com or follow her on Facebook at Facebook or on Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Murder in the Garden by Faith Martin

BLOG TOUR BANNER - Murder in the Garden v3

 

 

 

 

MURDER IN THE GARDEN 3

 

 

 

 

MURDER IN THE GARDEN by Faith Martin

 

Looking for a brilliant best-selling murder mystery with a feisty female detective?

Meet DI HILLARY GREENE, a policewoman struggling to save her career and catch criminals.

Edward Philpott is found bludgeoned with his own spade in the garden of the home he shared with his daughter Rachel and his two grandchildren. Hillary’s only lead is a rival at the village flower show who used to argue with the victim about the size of his vegetables. But what dark secrets from the past and present does this village hold?

Hillary has returned to work after the slaying of her boss and is determined to track down his murderer. His pregnant widow is even more determined to get revenge, but will she go too far?

Can Hillary cope with two complex investigations full of extreme emotions, one of which is very close to home?

This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from start to the absolutely heart-stopping conclusion.

MURDER IN THE GARDEN is the ninth in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire.

Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, or Ruth Rendell.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review - 3d rendered headline

 

 

 

 

I’ve become a big fan of this series now starring detective inspector Hillary Greene. Starting a new book with each adventure is like meeting up with old friends you’ve known for years. In this one Hillary is at one of her lowest points emotionally and professionally. The circumstances at the beginning of the story along with added pressures of solving a new crime weigh heavily upon her. Faith Martin does a great job of drawing you into point of view like you’re right there with her. Side by side just like you’d be in real life supporting a true friend. New plot, circumstances, stress, work tension, and new villains make this a compelling read.

 

 

 

Satisfaction guaranteed

 

 

 

 

THE LOCATION
The traditional and world-famous English country cottage garden. A beautiful and ornamental front garden, with a back garden given over to growing fruit and vegetables. Surrounded by hedges and an ancient wall, in summer it would be full of bees, birdsong, wildlife, and colourful flowers, complete with greenhouse, shed, compost bins and lawns.

 

THE DETECTIVE
DI Hillary Greene
An attractive woman in her forties, Hillary Greene is a police officer of many years’ experience, and came up through the ranks. Consequently, she knows how the system works, and is fiercely loyal to the force without being blinkered to its faults. Popular with the rank and file for her no-nonsense attitude and competence.

 

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “ACROSS THE NARROW BLUE LINE.”

 

DI HILLARY GREENE SERIES
BOOK 1: MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL
BOOK 2: MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY
BOOK 3: MURDER OF THE BRIDE
BOOK 4: MURDER IN THE VILLAGE
BOOK 5: MURDER IN THE FAMILY
BOOK 6: MURDER AT HOME
BOOK 7: MURDER IN THE MEADOW
BOOK 8: MURDER IN THE MANSION
BOOK 9: MURDER IN THE GARDEN

Books 10-11 coming soon!


Faith Martin: Author Bio

 

 

Author photo

 

 

Faith Martin has been writing for over 25 years, in four genres and under four different pen names. She was born in Oxford and sets most of her crime novels within sight of the city of dreaming spires. A real nature lover and afficionado of the countryside, descriptions of wildlife and native flora often find their way into her manuscripts. Right now, JOFFE BOOKS are re-issuing the first eleven of the DI Hillary Greene novels in new updated editions! The first 9 books in the series are available now. Books 10-11 coming soon!

Her romance novels, written under the name of Maxine Barry, are now available from Corazon Books. IMPOSTERS In PARADISE, and HEART OF FIRE are both out, and others will very quickly become available in the future.

Her first foray into writing ‘spooky’ crime, (and written under the pen name of Jessie Daniels) comes out in November 2017. THE LAVENDER LADY CASEFILE is published by Robert Hale, an imprint of Crowood Press.

As Joyce Cato, she writes more classically-inspired ‘proper’ whodunits. So if you like an amateur sleuth, plenty of clues and red herrings, plus a baffling murder mystery to solve, these are the books for you.

Jill Burkinshaw

Books n All Book Promotions

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Author Ben Hammott

Sacrophagus

 

 

Concealed in a remote area of the Amazon jungle is something the Mayans thought so dangerous they built a secret prison to entomb it. It remained undiscovered for centuries.  When a maverick archaeologist hears rumours of a mysterious lost city, he heads into the Amazon jungle, determined to find it.  He soon learns that some things are best left unfound.  The dangerous past the Mayans tried so hard to bury, is about to become our terrifying future.

 

 

Ben Hammott

 

Ben Hammott

 

Author Bio

 

 

 

What part of England did you grow up in?



Hertfordshire, the land of rolling fields, farms and markets.

 

What’s it like going from Germany to Spain?



A lot warmer. Germany is a nice place to live, but its winters are long and cold, or were when I was there, which is why I decided to head for warmer climates. I packed up my motor home, headed for Spain and didn’t stop until I reached Malaga.

 

 

 

Three-dimensional map of Spain. 3d

 

 

 

Who do you get your love of traveling from?



I’ve no idea as no one else in my family has the travelling bug. I guess it’s from reading adventure books and watching documentaries about amazing places.

 

 

Name your favorite destinations.



Spain, I love it here. It is warm, people are friendly and the way of life here is so much more relaxed and stress free. Also I have a place in the hills, looking down a valley to the sea. Peaceful and an ideal place to write. However, now doubt I will get the traveling bug again in a year or two and move to another country.

 

 

 

Spain button

 

 

 

Did you travel to the Amazon for Sacrophagus?



I wish. It wasn’t possible at this time, but one day, hopefully.

 

 

What sources did you use for your research?



For Sarcophagus I already had enough information on the Amazon jungle from my research when I wrote my El Dorado books. I talked to people who have been there, watched documentaries and read non-fiction books about the Amazon jungle. I also used the Internet, which, if you are selective and double check everything, is a very handy and a rich source of information.

 

 

 

Jungle

 

 

 

Do you have a certain approach when researching?



Not really, as I use different methods for different books, depending on the level of research needed. Sarcophagus was relatively easy compared to my books like El Dorado, which featured details of Colonel Fawcett’s ill fated 1925 expedition, and my novel about America’s first serial killer, H. H. Holmes, which required extensive research. (Some of the research I had gathered about Colonel Fawcett was used in a PBS TV documentary aired in America.)

It is important when involving historical people or events in your writing, to get your facts right. Researching Holmes was particular difficult, as there were a lot of conflicting information of when and where he did certain things. It took me almost two years as I had to construct a timeline of his life before I could even begin writing An Insatiable Thirst for Murder.

 

 

 

How do you know when you have *enough* research?



When the migraine clicks in. Again, it depends on the story. I usually have an idea of what I want to include and the plot, so as soon as I sense I have enough information to achieve those goals, I stop. If something else crops up during writing I will do more research.

As an example, If, like Sarcophagus, the story is set in a time period, then I have to ensure everything I mention or is used by the characters was actually available at that time. As an example, I wanted to use flashlights in the story, but wasn’t sure if they were invented so I did some research and discovered the first dry cell batteries were invented in 1896 and in 1899 English inventor David Missel invented the first flashlight that was powered by three D batteries.

 

 

 

Laptop

 

 

 

What impresses you about the Mayans?



I am impressed by all the Mesoamerican civilisations, Maya, Aztec, Inca, etc.. Their ability to build massive stone constructions and cities without the aid of any mechanical devices, even the wheel, and usually in inaccessible locations, and survive. Not so impressed with their tradition of cruel human sacrifices though. “Interestingly, the Maya used the wheel on children’s toys but not for transportation, preferring to use drag carts on.

 

 

What are some fascinating facts about the Amazon Jungle?



Even today there are areas of the Amazon rainforest that have not been explored. As little as a few years ago, a new tribe was discovered in the Amazon by an airplane flying directly over their village. If it had flown a route a few hundred yards either side, the tribe might still remain a mystery.

Over a quarter of the medicines we use today have their origins in the rainforests – and that’s after only about 1% of rainforest plants have been examined for their medicinal properties. Imagine what else could be there?

 

 

 

sunset in the brazilian rainforest of Amazonas

 

 

 

 

What can you tell us about the archaeologist? What drives him?



Kramer is driven by the unknown and the undiscovered. Fame and recognition for his discoveries mean little to him. If he has funding to finance his archaeological expeditions, he is satisfied.

The other archaeologist in Sarcophagus, Greyson Bradshaw, is the opposite of Kramer. Fame and to be acknowledged and admired by his peers is what drives him.

 

 

Is the Lost City truth or fiction?



That is the question.

Machu Picchu was a lost city before it was re-discovered on July 24th , 1911 by Hiram Bingham. Bingham was searching for lost Inca cities when he came across a prospector who informed there were numerous ruins on some nearby mountains. Bingham traveled there and found what we know today as macho Picchu.

My character Kramer is loosely based on Hiram Bingham and his discovery of Machu Picchu.

 

 
 

Search binoculars

 

 

 

Name the most challenging aspects of writing this book.



If I had to pick something, I would say linking the Amazon Lost City section to the London museum section. A first draft had Greyson leaving the lost city with the sarcophagus and artefacts and then the following chapter was the Maya exhibition opening night.

I wanted something linking the two continents, so I shortened the first and last sections and added a middle section about what happened on the cargo ship transporting the artifacts.

 

 
What are some interesting things you learned that aren’t in the book.



Never, ever, open a sarcophagus discovered in the bowels of a long-lost city deep in the Amazon jungle.