Alexis Morgan’s series about Snowberry Creek, and her amateur sleuth, Abby McCree, reminds us that there’s always murder in the most unlikely places. This Story Behind The Story is about the latest in Morgan’s Abby McCree Murder Mysteries and how characters can shape and grow.
What’s the theme behind your story?
The theme behind DEATH BY INTERMISSION is the importance of supporting the people you care about, both in good times and bad.
What’s the logline?
DEATH BY INTERMISSION—It’s a blockbuster whodunit…
What were you thinking about or what was happening when the idea occurred to you?
I was trying to think of a very different location for a murder to take place when I came up with the image of someone sitting in a lawn chair just inside the tree line at a city park looking as if he’d dozed off. From there I needed a reason for both him and Abby McCree, my amateur sleuth, to be there in the first place. Since Abby is always getting “volunteered” to serve on committees in the town of Snowberry Creek, this was the perfect time for her to be in charge of the town’s movie-in-the-park night.
How did the original idea change as you went along?
I like Abby to have a good reason for getting involved in solving a murder. Originally, it was going to be because she was in charge of the night’s festivities and that alone was enough to draw her into the investigation. However, as I started writing, I realized that wasn’t enough of a personal connection. To add additional depth, I had one of the chief suspects be dating Abby’s mother. In turn, he was trying to protect another possible suspect by withholding key information, which complicated the situation for everyone. That one change gave the story more depth and tension, especially regarding the relationship between Abby and her mother.
How did you conceive of your characters for this story and how did they change?
This is the first time the reader meets Abby’s mother even though it’s the fourth book in the series. I’ve always pictured Abby and her mother being very close. But as the story unfolds, they have to confront their changing relationship. Abby’s life had changed dramatically since moving to Snowberry Creek, and she’s never realized that her mother isn’t happy about some of the choices Abby has made. Things get a bit rocky for them, but their relationship becomes much stronger in the process.
Are you pleased with the results, or do you wish you had done anything differently in the story? Why or why not?
Overall, I’m pleased with how the story turned out. Abby and her friends have come a long way from where the readers first met them in DEATH BY COMMITTEE, Book One of the Abby McCree Murder Mysteries. Abby’s circle of friends has expanded, drawing in more people from both her past and her new home in Snowberry Creek. At times I wish I had created more in-depth backstories for the major characters before I started writing the first book. That would make their reactions to different situations more predictable. However, as a writer, I really prefer getting to know the characters over the course of the series just like the readers do.
Who would play your leads in the movie if (when!) you make a deal?
I really love the idea “casting” my characters with real-life actors! I can just picture Abby, my plucky amateur sleuth, being played by Anna Kendrick. Tripp Blackston, Abby’s tenant and almost-boyfriend, is a former Special Forces soldier and would be played by Jai Courtney. Henry Cavill would make a perfect Gage Logan, Abby’s friend and the local chief of police.
What else do you want readers to know?
I would like the readers to know that Zeke, Abby’s ninety-five pound mastiff mix roommate, is based on two of the dogs in my own life. My granddogs, Walter and Remus, are both bulldogs, so I have firsthand experience in dealing with the issues Zeke has with drooling and shedding. They are also both extremely fond of dog cookies. I keep several flavors on hand for whenever they come to visit.
USA Today best-selling author Alexis Morgan lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. She is the author of over forty novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres. DEATH BY INTERMISSION is the fourth book in her first cozy mystery series, The Abby McCree Mysteries.
Here’s a link to the book’s page on my website. It includes several buy links, the back blurb, and the first chapter of the book.