No one ever said that murder was easy. After four years of writing, editing, setting aside, reconsidering and restarting, I published my first novel, Thou Shalt Not Kilt, this week (now available on Amazon — been waiting a long time to write that!). My goal was to drag it across the finish line ahead of my 50th birthday. I am proud to say that I finished almost a month earlier than planned.
A few observations. First, the writing was (for me) the easiest part. Once I had the characters and plot in mind, the words came quickly. Editing, however, was a mountain to climb. I can’t speak to other genres of fiction, but editing a mystery was a balancing act. The intricate, clockwork mechanisms of a whodunnit’s plot requires far more attention he second time around. Each change threatens to reveal too much or too little, to hide a vital clue or expose a red herring for what it was.
The simpler parts of the process included finding the right cover (thank you to Ebook Launch for an amazing job!) and finding the right editors (thank you, too, to Erin Cusick and Christie Stratos). Last, it was a pleasure working with the team from Knave Publishing. They gifted me excellent direction, sage advice and endless patience.
Thank you also to the friends, colleagues and complete strangers who helped rear, re-read, dissect and proof the beta and final drafts. For those of you who enjoyed Thou Shalt Not Kilt and would like an early look at Elle’s upcoming books, please sign up for my newsletter, Mondays Are Murder, or drop me a line via email.
Speaking of Elle, her next mystery, Off Scot Free, is already underway. (As I mentioned above, sign up for my newsletter and you’ll get first dibs on the new book.) Now that I’ve done this once, there’s simply no stopping me. Turns out murder is easier the second time around.
Want to chat about mysteries? Drop me a line — I’d love to hear from you.
Love a good murder? Be sure to take a stab at Thou Shalt Not Kilt, a traditional Southern cozy with Scottish flavor. For my latest news and book updates, follow me on Instagram and TikTok, and sign up for Fatal Fiction, my monthly mystery newsletter — plus, you’ll get a free downloadable copy of Masters of Murder, my guide to the detectives and authors of mystery’s Golden Age!