Lynn Chandler-Willis: The Rising Sunday, Aug 3 2014 

Jesse to the Rescue

When I started writing The Rising, I had a very rough idea of where the story was going. I knew what I wanted to happen but had no idea how I was going to make it happen. Getting from Point A to Point Z was going to take some planning.

The main character, Detective Ellie Saunders, was a thirty year-old woman with a bad habit of looking for love in a one-night stand. One of those one-night stands turns out to be a co-worker, Jesse Alvarez, a former vice cop with a gorgeous smile. To Ellie’s horror, Jesse is assigned to help with her case.

But as often happens with fictional characters, they have a mind of their own. Jesse was not only pushing himself into Ellie’s case, he was pushing himself into my novel! Jesse Alvarez was intended to be a very secondary character. A character’s whose only purpose was to illustrate Ellie’s spiraling out of control personal life.

So I gave him a few lines of dialogue. And then a few more. And then a couple more. And before I knew it, Jesse was more than Ellie’s former one-night stand. He was her partner. And trust me, I never intended for Ellie to have a partner. This was her story. I wanted her to face certain fears on her own. I wanted her to come to terms with her life, on her terms. But what was I to do? Every time I tried holding him back, he pushed himself right back in the scene.

And then I found myself, and Ellie, in a situation I wasn’t comfortable being in. Not only was Jesse taking over Ellie’s personal life, he was taking over the case. He was becoming her rescuer. Every scene where Ellie faced even a small amount of danger, it was Jesse to the rescue.

I wanted Ellie to be strong from the start. I wanted her to be clear-headed and independent. But I also wanted her to be vulnerable. In the book, she has a very tender spot for the little boy dubbed Johnny Doe. Yet, she forms a strong maternal protectiveness over the child. A mamma grizzly at its worst. In another aspect, she has a very real fear of facing the media, stemming from a childhood trauma. Once the “Johnny Doe” case goes public, the media is stirred into a feeding frenzy, forcing Ellie to deal with those fears. I purposely held Jesse back in these instances, forcing Ellie to step-up-to-the-plate and face the issues on her own.

When the time came for the final showdown between Ellie and the suspect, again, I left Jesse at home. Although he played an important role, to the case and in Ellie’s personal life—I wanted it to be all Ellie in the end. I wanted Ellie to save herself and not rely on a handsome partner with a gorgeous smile.

Yes, Jesse’s around in the end—but he’s not Ellie’s rescuer. She did that all by herself.

Lynn Chandler-Willis has worked in the corporate world (hated it!), the television news business (fun job) and the newspaper industry (not a fan of the word “apparently” and phrase “according to”). She keeps coming back to fiction because she likes making stuff up and you just can’t do that in the newspaper or television news business.

She was born, raised, and continues to live in the heart of North Carolina within walking distance to her kids and their spouses and her nine grandchildren. She shares her home, and heart, with Sam the cocker spaniel.

She is the author of the best-selling true crime book, Unholy Covenant. Her debut novel, The Rising (Pelican Book Group, 2013) won the 2013 Grace Award for Excellence in Faith Based Fiction and was a finalist for an INSPY award. In October 2013, she was the first woman in a ten-year span to be named winner of the Minotaur Books/Private Eye Novel Writers of America Best First Private Eye Novel competition for her novel, Wink of an Eye. It will be released by Minotaur in Nov. 2014.

German Author Beate Boeker on Strong Women and Mystery Sunday, Sep 1 2013 

What do you do when you find your grandfather dead half an hour before your cousin’s wedding? You hide him in his bed and tell everyone he didn’t feel like coming.delayeddeath

Delayed Death is an entertaining mystery set in Florence, Italy. When Carlina finds her grandfather dead on the day of her cousin’s wedding, she decides to hide the corpse until after the ceremony. However, her grandfather was poisoned, and she becomes the attractive Inspector’s prime suspect. On top of that, she has to manage her boisterous family and her luxurious lingerie store called Temptation, a juggling act that creates many hilarious situations.

Delayed Death is the first mystery in the series Temptation in Florence. The second, Charmer’s Death, and the third, Banker’s Death, are also available.

Auntie M asked me to write about strong women, and when I started out with that topic, I first wondered what defines a strong woman. Is it success? Is it the fact that she can live alone, without help from anybody? Is it, just to mention one particularly difficult task, being able to raise a family single-handedly?




I’m not so sure.                   Cover_Charmers_Death


She may not be successful because she may have turned her back on the stuff that she would have had to do to be traditionally successful. Maybe she wasn’t willing to sacrifice herself for that. That’s not a sign of a weak woman. Maybe she can’t live alone and needs help – and to a certain extent, we all do need help at certain points in our lives.




Nevertheless, I would not say that this makes us weak women. Raising a family single-handedly certainly is something that requests iron strength and great organizational capacities. Sometimes, however, this makes us more feel like a wreck than a strong woman.




No, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that to me, the most important feature of a strong woman is a woman who manages to be happy. Whatever you do and whoever you are, if you are happy with what you do, then you are strong.

You are strong because you have made the right choices for your personal happiness. You are strong because you held fast to your beliefs, no matter what others said. Being profoundly happy with your life is something that doesn’t drop from heaven above. It comes because you were willing to fight for the things you believe in and to see them through. It comes from getting over hurt feelings, of leaving the past behind you and of moving on.




The heroine in my cozy mystery series Temptation in Florence is a strong woman. She has her own little universe – a lingerie store in the historical center of Florence, Italy. It is tiny and her family is not always sure that this is a good profession, but she loves her job.

She once was engaged to a very rich man who owned a large estate / vineyard. However, when she realized that he expected her to give up her job and independence and to be the perfecting accessory in HIS universe, she broke off the engagement – much to the horror of her large family. But she is happy, and that’s what counts. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know her!

Beate Boeker is a traditionally published author since 2008 and has 11 novels and short stories online available. Some of them were shortlisted for the Golden Quill Contest, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the “Best Indie Books of 2012” contest.

Beate is a marketing manager by day and a writer by night. She has a degree in International Business Administration and her daily experience in marketing continuously provides her with a wide range of fodder for her novels, be it hilarious or cynical.

Widely traveled, she speaks German (her mother language), English, French and Italian and lives in the North of Germany together with her husband and daughter.

While ‘Boeker’ means ‘books’ in a German dialect, her first name Beate can be translated as ‘Happy’ . . . and with a name that reads ‘Happy Books’, what else could she do but write novels with a happy end?                  Author_Picture_Beate_Boeker_at_water

Although being German, she has chosen to write in English because she appreciates the professional support and training opportunities a writer can find in the US.
Learn more about Beate at

Beate Boeker
Mischief & Humor from Page 1


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