Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am delighted to welcome Marc Jedel to Escapes With Dollycas today!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
After years of working in high-tech marketing, I decided to try writing novels. I figured I had plenty of experience crafting fiction. It was just called emails, ads, and marketing collateral in my day job. Like my character, Marty, in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, I now live in Silicon Valley, work in high-tech, and enjoy bad puns. Like my characters Jonas and Elizabeth, in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series, I grew up in the South and spent plenty of time in and around Arkansas.
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
1) Played professional soccer while completing my year as a Rhodes Scholar,
2) Nominated for both Pulitzer and Nobel prizes for my previous novels,
3) Likes to make up answers when asked questions for which he doesn’t have a good response. LOL, Good one.
What is the first book you remember reading?
I’d have to say it’s a tie between Go Dog Go and The Cat in the Hat. This might also explain my love for puns and entertaining word choices. What’s not to love about a story that has great wordplay and shows off awesome party hats?
What are you reading now?
I’m reading a variety of cozy mysteries to catch up on what’s popular as I try to avoid reading them while I’m in the middle of writing one. I tend to bounce back and forth between cozies, sci-fi, non-fiction history, and fantasy books.
What books have most inspired you?
I wasn’t originally planning to write mysteries. However, a few years ago, I picked up my wife’s copy of a Janet Evanovich novel. She got mad when I didn’t return it until I’d finished. My wife that is, not Janet. Janet would probably be happy because I’ve purchased a number of her other books and even consulted her How I Write book when I started my first book. I wouldn’t even mind if Janet decided to tell all her readers that they should try my books too (in case you’re reading this, Hi Janet!) Since then, I’ve read many other mysteries and cozy mysteries and enjoy the good ones for a light, humorous read.
What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?
I’ve wanted to write a book since I was young. For the longest time, it seemed I couldn’t come up with a good plot. Yet, my writing research clearly demonstrated that having a plot is critical to a book’s success.
One day, I received this awesome birthday drawing from my nieces. And my kids, or nieces, or one of our friends’ kids had done some crazy things. Probably all of the above. One thing led to another and the idea formed to loosely base a mystery with a self-absorbed, fashion-backward software engineer, his sister, and his nieces on my life. It’s clearly fiction. I mean, I’m not a software engineer.
With my novel, Fish Out of Water, I started a completely different series with very different characters, different humor, and different style of sleuthing. This seemed to be a way to keep things fresh for me and my readers. But I’ll continue writing stories in both series.
Do you have a special place you like to write?
I guess my “special place” would be in front of my computer. I have been known to jot down ideas, fragments of conversations, and funny lines on my phone. Typically I write at a sit-stand desk with an extra wide monitor. The original concept was I would have my writing open on one side of the display and my notes or outline on the other. All too often, it seems like the writing is on one side but the other side has my internet browser or email open and distracting me.
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
Most of the ideas came initially from some strange news article that I stumble across. Unfortunately, I can’t explain this because these often wind up serving as inspiration for the ending of the story. For Fish Out of Water, I wanted to write a more typical cozy mystery but illustrate the different perspectives of someone new to an area versus someone who grew up there. As my wife had grandparents who owned a small ranch in Arkansas and I spent time in and around Arkansas growing up, I thought it would be interesting to show both sides.
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Figuring out new, interesting, and plausible ways to kill someone is actually way more challenging than one might think. Especially when you’re trying to do it in such a way that an amateur detective can figure it out without involving any help from the police and I don’t want the readers to guess whodunnit. I’m very gratified when readers tell me they couldn’t guess who was the killer and why until the reveal. Yet all this requires some very unusual internet searches. I’m just glad no law enforcement officer has knocked on my door yet to ask why I was looking up something unusual.
What do you think makes a good story?
1) Great characters that people will care about. 2) Interesting plot that excites them to turn the pages faster. 3) Reasonable actions. I hate stories where the entire thing could be resolved if only the characters would call each other or ask someone an obvious question.
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
Marty Golden, my protagonist in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, is the most like me. Family and friends would tell you that he isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination for me to write, but I’m comfortable with that. Of course, Marty is the younger, funnier, cooler, and more handsome version of myself that I imagine I see in the mirror each morning. But Elizabeth and Jonas Trout in Fish Out of Water also have a disturbing number of similarities to me. I don’t know that I could write a first-person point-of-view novel and not have at least some resemblance to the protagonist.
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
I’ve become bored by cozies where the protagonist runs a bakery, bookstore, or bed & breakfast and this supposedly amateur sleuth gets extensive help from the police. So I made sure my characters don’t work with the police and have different jobs. Having both a male and female protagonist with different point-of-view chapters in Fish Out of Water also allows me to show very different takes on suspects and other characters and go to different places.
My Silicon Valley Mystery series is especially unique with its male protagonist who’s not particularly competent, nor especially brave, as the amateur sleuth. Setting it in Silicon Valley is also unusual for cozies but worked well. Despite finding himself thrust into challenging situations, Marty isn’t exactly hero material. He has a wonderful combination of wit, irreverent humor, and sarcasm mixed in with nerdy insecurities, absent-mindedness, and fumbling but effective amateur sleuthing skills. He’s got an active inner voice and doesn’t do a lot of advance planning. Instead, he throws himself into solving problems. Sometimes, he even succeeds.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
I’m continuing to write in both series. My next two books will be book 2 in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series, titled: Swimming with the Fishes, and I’m also working on book 5 in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, titled: Huh? Why? and Punch (say it aloud fast a few times). More novels in both series are planned.
Thank you Marc for visiting today! I loved your answers!
More About Marc Jedel
For most of my life, I’ve been inventing stories. Living in many places around the United States, including a lot of time in the South, has given me a particularly keen appreciation for those who feel like a “fish out of water” sometimes.
My writing skills were honed in years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley. While my high tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, we called these marketing collateral, emails and ads.
The publication of my first novel, Uncle and Ants in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, gave me permission to claim “author” as my job. And achieving Amazon Best Seller status gave me even better adjectives to use in front of “author.” This has led to way more interesting discussions than answering “marketing.”
Telling the stories in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series has given me an enjoyable opportunity to spend time with characters that somewhat resemble people I’ve known. Writing alternating chapters from the perspective of each spouse of the newlywed Trout couple allowed me to experience multiple personalities without getting a visit from mental health professionals.
About fISh OUt of WaTER
fISh OUt of WaTER – An Ozarks Lake Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Publisher: BGM Press (January 8, 2021)
Number of Pages: 275
A small-town homicide. A community swamped in secrets. Can married amateur sleuths bait and capture the killer before the truth slips away?
Elizabeth Trout had escaped her rural Arkansas hometown. Compelled to sort through her deceased grandmother’s belongings, she and her new husband Jonas make an unexpected trip to the family ranch. But when the property manager turns up dead, Elizabeth is rocked when her ex-boyfriend-turned-deputy arrests her for the murder.
With incriminating evidence and the sheriff convinced he’s got the right suspect, Elizabeth and Jonas must fish for clues on their own. But with a multitude of potential culprits and her husband’s contrasting personality, Elizabeth fears she may be left dangling on the hook for a crime she didn’t commit.
Can these newlyweds net the real killer before Elizabeth is jailed for murder?
Fish Out of Water is the charming first book in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series. If you like quirky characters, clever twists and turns, and puzzling whodunits, then you’ll love Marc Jedel’s humorous tale.
Buy Fish Out of Water to reel in a slippery catch today!
Elizabeth and Jonas Trout have traveled from Portland to her home town of Jenkins, Arkansas to deal with her inheritance from her grandmother. Along with her mother, a local doctor, they are sorting through furniture. artwork, photographs, and more to get ready for an estate sale and future sale of her grandmother’s home. Before they can even get started on the project Elizabeth is arrested by her former boyfriend, for the murder of Duncan Fowler. Fowler was a schoolteacher, and property manager hired to help Elizabeth’s grandmother with her ranch. Elizabeth did have a public altercation with the man over some property damage but she didn’t kill the man. The Sheriff thinks he has more than enough evidence to convict her of the crime so it’s time for the Trout’s to do a little fishing for some better suspects. There are not many secrets in this little town but they reel in a whopper that should catch the real killer and land them behind bars.
The Trout’s are a very likable couple with excellent taste in dogs and their names. The puppy on the cover looks just like our recently deceased dog and we have named our new 10-week old pup, Daisy Mae, so you know the canine character immediately stole my heart. Elizabeth’s mom is a doctor and sometimes the medical examiner. She seems to be in non-stop motion tending to her patients or another cause. Because of Elizabeth’s arrest, she can’t have anything to do with the body but that doesn’t mean she can’t get information to clear her child’s name. The victim, Duncan Fowler had a lot of irons in the fire and at one point or another, it seemed like the entire town of Jenkins had a reason to kill the man. I enjoyed the small-town atmosphere and all the residents we met in this first Ozarks Lake Mystery. The characters developed nicely over the course of the story but there is plenty of room for growth as the series continues.
Keeping with the fishy theme, the mystery was filled with red herrings. The Trouts needed a huge net to hold all the suspects and patience as they tried to weed out those with a motive but clearly not the killer. With some nice twists, I was in the dark as to who the guilty party was until near the very end. I did figure out some other aspects as to how the story would play out though. One part didn’t completely fall into place by the end of this story but probably will in the next installment. The ending was exciting and surprising as all the clues fell into place.
This is the first book I have read by Marc Jedel after seeing so many wonderful reviews of his Silicon Valley Mysteries. What always caught my attention was his liberal use of humor so I jumped at the chance to read and review Fish Out of Water. I was thrilled to see his sense of humor shined in this book as well. He also filled this story with plenty of Southern charm.
Fish Out of Water was a delightful whodunit with truly engaging characters and a complicated mystery that I found to be completely entertaining. I am anxious to read the next book in this series, Swimming with the Fishes, I have also added all the Silicon Valley Mysteries to my wish list.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
Purchase Links: Amazon
Also by Marc Jedel
TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
February 1 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 1 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 2 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 3 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW
February 4 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 4 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
February 6 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
February 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
February 8 – Adventures Of A Travelers Wife – GUEST POST
February 9 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 10 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 11 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
February 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 14 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
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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.”