by LynDee Walker
I always get excited when a new Headlines in High Heels Mystery is released
and even more excited when LynDee Walker drops by for a visit!
Anatomy of a fictional murder:
from inspiration to the bookshelf
by LynDee Walker
It all started with a polo mallet.
I think I can speak for most mystery authors when I say inspiration for murder often comes out of nowhere—and sometimes it has less than ideal timing.
In the spring of 2014, my darling and I were at a gorgeous vineyard nestled against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge mountains in central Virginia, excited to celebrate the wedding of our friends Kyle and Mandy. After the ceremony (it was fantastic: so to the point we all stood for the whole thing), we wandered out to the wide porch behind the property’s main building, enjoying a cocktail reception while the photographer had the happy couple (and their golden retriever, how cute is that?) occupied.
I nodded to the stables in the distance. “They have horses?” I asked a friend more familiar with the vineyard.
“They have a polo match every Sunday afternoon. Y’all should come watch tomorrow, it’s a big event,” he said.
My writer brain clicked into high gear.
“Polo? Like Prince William, sport of kings, actual POLO? In Virginia?” I asked.
Our friend nodded.
“How great of a murder weapon would a polo mallet be?” I mused (this isn’t a spoiler, because the story ended up taking a different turn. But it was the catalyst for this whole thing), excusing myself to prowl around the property looking for places to hide a body. Which prompted poor darling to begin an hour long refrain of “she’s not crazy, she writes mysteries,” since we didn’t know everyone there and I was laser-focused on the story developing in my head, chattering to myself about decomposition, smells and physical limitations as I roamed.
By the end of the evening, I was pretty darned excited about a quasi-destination wedding for the Telegraph gang.
Since this whole thing happened before I’d even written 5,000 words of COVER SHOT, I had a mission pretty early on in that one: one way or another, by the end of the book, somebody was getting engaged.
Parker and Mel turned out to be the perfect choice. We’d reached a point in the story where they’d been serious for about a year, and we knew he was completely gone over her. Of course, Nichelle would get to be maid of honor, because she set them up on their first date way back before BURIED LEADS.
Once I had that pegged, the whole story fell so neatly into place it was a little scary. I was so excited to dig into this wedding, I didn’t even take much of a break between these books.
Nichelle must always have someone to help, and this time she’s helping her friends out of a mess with stakes higher than the peaks in the Blue Ridge. Plus, I got to bring back some favorite characters from earlier books. As a reader, I love few things more in a series than catching up with old friends, and this was a perfect venue for that. Words poured onto the page.
I loved it. And I’m so proud of this book.
Not long after I finished it, I got an invitation from my wonderful friend Ritter Ames to contribute a Nichelle story to a Halloween-themed anthology—what better way to tie COVER SHOT and LETHAL LIFESTYLES together? Frightening Features appears in the collection MIDNIGHT MYSTERIES, and follows Nichelle (trailed by Parker and Mel) on a trip to the Virginia countryside to write a puff piece on a ghost hunting TV show filming in an abandoned renaissance fairground. Things go sideways when a real corpse turns up on set, and Nichelle and her friends find themselves stuck in the woods with a killer.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so this added to what’s been a fun writing year for me—I so hope it translates into a fun reading getaway for y’all.
Thanks so much for having me, Lori!
LynDee Walker’s award-winning journalistic work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation.
Her debut novel, FRONT PAGE FATALITY, is an amazon and Barnes & Noble #1 bestseller, and was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. DEVIL IN THE DEADLINE is the fourth in LynDee’s Headlines in High Heels mystery series. The fifth COVER SHOT is available now.
LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children, working on her next novel, or admiring beautiful shoes she can’t wear.
Webpage Facebook @LynDeeWalker
Books in the Headlines in High Heels Mystery Series:
Wedding bells are ringing at the Richmond Telegraph, and maid of honor Nichelle Clarke is determined to give her friends the perfect fairytale beginning to their happily ever after. So when a corpse crashes rehearsal weekend, Nichelle ditches her wedding coordinator shoes for her crime reporter ones, and a little poking around turns up a big problem: the victim and the groom have a history, and it’s not a pretty one.
Evidence against groom Grant Parker piles up, leaving Nichelle wishing a hostile bridesmaid was still her biggest worry as she tries to fend off Richmond’s favorite TV reporter—and her own scheming publisher. At odds with the cops, her beloved editor, and the ticking clock, Nichelle races to uncover the truth and save the day before this perfect wedding turns into a funeral.
Our star reporter has been bustin’ her tail to give Grant and Mel the wedding of their dreams. We are just one week from the big day when a dead guy in found at the wedding venue right before the rehearsal festivities are about to start, and the dead guy has a connection to the groom. HOLY MANOLOS!! Nicey’s heels hit the ground running as she tries save the wedding, keep Charlie, her arch nemesis, off the trail, keep her and her boss employed and pull off this wedding on time. Hold on tight, this is one story that will knock your high heels right off.
Why do I love this series so much? The author writes a fantastic mystery filled with drama but filled with humor too. She always tops herself and leaves me wanting more.
Nicey is an unforgettable heroine not only because she is independent, smart, and wears some of the best footwear in the world but because she is a true friend. She will fight for her friends until she gets to the whole truth and she refuses to publish anything sketchy even when the publisher is holding her beautiful feet to the fire. She also tries to hold her temper in the toughest of times. She has integrity and in today’s world it is sometimes hard to find reporters like her. She has the right connections and because of the woman she is they will step up to help her whenever they can. Even her ex. She also is learning to listen to her heart just a bit more in this installment too and they made this reader very happy.
LynDee Walker gives us a story the flows quickly with plenty of twists to keep us on our heels. The mystery is complex, the characters continue to evolve and the new characters are memorable and all seem to be hiding something.
This series is best if you start with Front Page Fatality and read the series in order to understand the characters and their history. Also for me each one is better than the last and becomes my new favorite in the series.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”