I stepped up to the challenge of learning the craft of writing mysteries after I sent a manuscript for a mystery to a New York editor way too prematurely in my career. Lou Aronica sent back my critique and ended with these words, “I’m not sure you have the DNA to write a mystery.” Ouch! After I got over that ego hit, I realized that just because I liked to read and watch mysteries on TV did not mean I knew how to write one. I’d been teaching the need to study the genre of what one writes for years. Why hadn’t I followed my own advice? How embarrassing. I straightened my shoulders and vowed to listen to and practice what I preached.
I love my amateur sleuth, Jessie Murphy. She’s my alter ego and has bits and pieces of my creative mother in her as well. The protagonist’s first name is my mother’s middle name. Her last was my mother’s maiden name. Thus, each time I write a book with Jessie Murphy in it, I’m also exploring and visiting my mother’s life who passed away at the age of eight-six. I get great satisfaction when I get into her skin and brain to solve these murders. As soon as I finished the first book with her as a protagonist, I started writing Quick Walk to Murder. Matlacha, Florida, an island I fell in love with, is the perfect setting for this mystery. It’s funky and colorful. A pleasure to describe. So, I guess I would say, both wanting to spend more time with the main character and being surrounded by the sea are big factors in compelling and inspiring me to write these mysteries.
In Quick Walk to Murder the victim is the son of a Florida crab fisherman. A couple of years before starting to write this book, I did some leg work with the idea of compiling the personal histories of crab fisher folk in Matlacha and Pine Island. The crab fishing lifestyle in the area was greatly affected by a net ban and is in danger of disappearing. I thought the story should be told from their point of view. Unfortunately, after only a few interviews, the project fell through. After I wrote my first Jessie Murphy mystery, I realized that I wanted to give the crab fishermen’s stories a voice. So, although the book is about solving a murder, it’s also about the life of crab fisher folk in Pine Island and Matlacha.
Title: QUICK WALK TO MURDER
Author: J.D. Daniels
Publisher: Savvy Books
Purchase on Amazon
Quick Walk to Murder opens with the murder of the son of a local crab fisher folk family. Young Jessie Murphy, an artist from Cambridge, MA who solved a homicide the previous season on the island, joins forces with two quirky, but savvy locals in hopes of bringing the murderer to justice. In her search for the reasons behind the murder, Jessie uncovers hidden—and frighteningly disturbing—relationships between the victim and many of his acquaintances. Among them? A local crab fisherman who secretly hired the young man, the victim’s girlfriend and her over-protective brother, the victim’s college roommate, an adviser at college, a psychic, the victim’s mother and two strangers who show up on the island with badges. With no shortage of suspects, Jessie launches a pulse-quickening investigation that leads her to death’s door. But through her own power of reasoning and feisty Irish refusal to not finish a job once begun, Jessie uncovers a startling, surprising ending.
About the Author:
jd daniels is a mystery writer who divides her time between Southwest Florida and Iowa City, Iowa. She has also lived, written prose and poetry, and taught writing at the college level in Boston, Massachusetts and Ankara, Turkey. She’s published five books, receiving an Iowa Arts Grant for her biography and reached the top of a best seller list for her book of poetry. Over the years, she has worked as a college professor, an aerobics instructor, a bartender, a restorer of historic homes, a landlady and has learned the art of carpentry, dry walling and bookmaking. Quick Walk to Murder is the second release in the Jessie Murphy mystery series. Through Pelican Eyes, the first Jessie Murphy mystery, was released in 2014.