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

 

 

 

 

Agenda & MTW Amateur Sleuth Bundle Giveaway

Agenda 3 Bag pen MTW

 

 

 

Today’s Agenda and Amateur Sleuth Bundle Giveaway in case you missed it!

 

SUNDAY APRIL 15, 2018 

*A Search Engine for Writers by Cozy Mystery Author Elizabeth S. Craig – Mystery Thriller Week

*Book Review – From Beyond the Grave by Daniella Bernett – Janice J. Richardson

*Article – The Power of Place by Mary Angela

*Author Interview with Caroline England – Mystery Thriller Week

*Spotlight on Author Stephen Bentley & Audiobook Giveaway – Jennifer S. Alderson

*Book Review – Rituals of the Dead by Jennifer S. Alderson – Janice Richardson’s Reviews

*Book Review – Murder in Absentia by Assaph Mehr – Lucia Davis’s Reviews

*Agenda & MTW Amateur Sleuth Bundle Giveaway – Mystery Thriller Week

*Special Q&A and Book Recommendations with Bookstagrammar Laura Rash (a.k.a Wonderchick40) – Mystery Thriller Week

 

 

Amateur Sleuth Bundle Giveaway

 

 

Giveaway3_week_amateurSleuth

 

 

GIVEAWAY #3 – AMATEUR SLEUTHS

Comment the Facebook link below to enter. One lucky reader will win all 4 eBooks! *** ENDS APRIL 17 ***

 

DEATH ON A DIRTY AFTERNOON BY COLIN GARROW
When taxi driver Frank is found dead on his dining room table, ex-cabbie Terry Bell assumes his old friend died of a heart attack. But when Terry’s former boss also turns up with his face bashed in, it starts to look like there’s a connection.
Faced with a Detective Inspector who doesn’t like coincidences, and a series of threatening letters, Terry does a bit of investigating of his own, but when another body is discovered, the temperature starts to rise – in more ways than one.
It’s a seaside town like any other seaside town: from the non-existent sand dunes and candy-striped deck chairs to the concrete piers and tacky market stalls, they’ve got it all – including dead bodies, arson attacks and hockey-stick wielding murderers. If you love mysteries and amateur sleuthing, bald-headed villains and Swedish construction bosses, this’ll be right up your everyday seaside-town street.
(Colin Garrow)

 

 

 

FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE BY DANIELLA BERNETT
Buried secrets can kill…

The seaside resort of Torquay, along the English Riviera in Devon, is the perfect place for a restful holiday. That’s what journalist Emmeline Kirby desperately needs after her harrowing escapes from spies and others with nefarious intentions back in London. She also needs distance to sort out her conflicted feelings for jewel thief Gregory Longdon, who once stole her heart. But who should turn up out of the blue? The ever-charming, devastatingly handsome Gregory. That’s when secrets from his past—and murder—shatter the serenity of this picturesque haven. (Daniella Bernett)

 

 

MORTOM BY ERIK THERME
Andy Crowl barely knew his recently deceased cousin, Craig Moore, so he’s especially surprised to be named as the sole beneficiary in Craig’s will. Not that there’s much to inherit: just an empty bank account and a run-down house.

Once Andy arrives in the town of Mortom, however, he’s drawn into his puzzle-obsessed cousin’s true legacy: a twisted and ominous treasure hunt. Beckoned by macabre clues of dead rats and cemetery keys, Andy jumps into the game, hoping to discover untold wealth. But unsavory secrets—and unanswered questions about Craig’s untimely demise—arise at every turn, leading Andy to wonder if he’s playing the game…or if the game is playing him.

Something’s rotten in Mortom. And this dead man’s game might not be all that Andy is doomed to lose. (Erik Therme)

 

 

FRANKLY SPEAKING BY DON MASSENZIO
A 16 year old girl has disappeared. The police believe she is a runaway. Her parents believe she has been taken and is being held against her will. When the parents enlist the services of Frank Rozzani, a former police officer turned private detective, a series of events begins to unfold that implicates a popular local pastor and the religious stronghold of the ultra-conservative community.

Frank Rozzani, a transplant to Jacksonville, Florida from Syracuse, New York, must find the young girl despite the obstacles launched at him from the local police and others whose interests may be compromised by his investigation. Frank enlists the help of his associate Clifford “Jonesy” Jones to find the girl, uncover the conspiracy, and stay alive. While solving the case, Frank must deal with the demons that drove him from Upstate New York causing him to leave traumatic memories and his children behind. (Don Massenzio)

 

 

MTW Bundle giveaway: WIN

 

 

 

 

 

Q&A with Mystery Author Daniella Bernett

Time for Q and A Questions Answers Ask Information Clock 3d Word

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Daniella Bernett Author Photo

 

 

 

Q&A with Mystery Author Daniella Bernett 

 

*What was it about creative writing that sparked an interest in you?

It began with my love affair with the written word and a deep appreciation of books. The idea that I could allow my imagination to roam freely and string words together like a strand of pearls to tell my own tale was (and still is) absolutely enchanting.

 

 

*Was there anyone early in life that shaped your love of reading?

My parents. Since my sister and I were mere toddlers, they were always reading to us and exposing us to books. I cannot thank my parents enough for giving us such a gift. I cannot imagine a day without a book. Reading nourishes my soul. It also has allowed me to develop a broad vocabulary and made my mind curious about many things. Books make the reader think.

 

 

 

Read Concept Wooden Letterpress Type

 

 

 

*What do you appreciate about Agatha Christie?

There are so many things I appreciate about the grande dame of mystery. She was truly a genius at her craft. What I love the most is how Christie wove an intriguing puzzle that appeals to the reader’s intellect and the desire to know why the crime was committed. Then, it becomes a game of cat-and- mouse, a race almost, to collect all the clues and disregard the red herrings to unmask the murderer before the sleuth. It’s delightful. Jealousy, love, greed are the primary motives for murder. Christie took these motives threw them into a pot, swirled them about, and in each book conceived a new way to explore these emotions. Her stories endure to this day because of her astute insight into human nature.

 

 

*Has she affected how you write today?

Agatha Christie has influenced my writing because I, too, enjoy conjuring up a tale with twists and turns to keep my readers breathless and slightly off guard. It’s a bit naughty, I know, but I like to lead them in one direction and then suddenly pivot down another alley that they may never have even contemplated. I like to leave my readers wanting more.

 

 

*If you had to write a short poem to Agatha Christie what would it say?

This is really not fair. No one can do her justice. But here is my humble attempt.

 

With stealth and cunning,
Her nimble narrative
Draws the unsuspecting reader
Into a silken web of deception and murder.
Don’t be led astray
By red herrings and half-truths,
The solution to the mystery lies
Just beyond the gauzy curtain of misdirection,                                       Where she awaits you with a wry smile.

 

 

 

Poetry book MTW 2018

 

 

 

*What was it like writing your first book?

 
When everything finally clicked and I sat down to write LEAD ME INTO DANGER, Book 1 in my Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon mystery series, it was like I had been floating just below the waterline and I finally broke the surface. I had been going over the story in my head for so long, it was time for Emmeline and Gregory to come to life (at least on paper).

 

 

*How does writing affect you personally?

Writing is like breathing. I simply must do it. It can be frustrating at times when the words refuse to come and doubts bring my story spluttering to a halt. However, those instances are to be expected. Nothing can take away the sheer joy and sense of accomplishment in the creative process.

 

 

 

Writing image with pen and pad MTW 2018

 

 

 

*Imagine you’re at a fireside chat with some friends. Someone asks, who is Emmeline Kirby? And who is Gregory Longdon?

 
Emmeline Kirby is a British journalist, who is driven by her desire to uncover the truth and see that justice is served. She’s fiercely loyal to those she cares about, but like all of us she has her faults. Emmeline has a short temper and she’s impatient. Her stubborn streak makes her a good
journalist. It’s also her Achilles heel because she sometimes becomes reckless and finds herself in dangerous situations.

Ah, Gregory Longdon. He’s the flip side of the coin. He’s a handsome and dashing British jewel thief. An enigma. His past is riddled with secrets. And yet, he has a code of honor. Like Emmeline, murder is a line that can never be crossed.

Emmeline and Gregory are former lovers who haven’t seen one another in two years, but she literally runs into him again in LEAD ME INTO DANGER and things take off from there. Murder, suspense and a good dose of romantic tension.

 

 

 

Lead me into Danger

 

 

Deadly Legacy

 

 

From beyond the grave

 

 

 

 

*If you could pick anyone to investigate a heinous crime who would you pick? Name your top three. 

 
• Viscount Devlin, Sebastian St. Cyr (C.S. Harris’s dark, captivating mystery series about Regency England)

 
• Gabriel Allon (Daniel Silva’s spy series about a Mossad agent who is an art restorer)

 
• Cyrus Barker (Will Thomas’s Barker & Llewelyn mystery series set in Victorian London)

 

 

 

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.

 

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