Five Secrets From Mystery Author Marilyn Leach,
who has a wicked sense of humor
who has a wicked sense of humor
I met Marilyn at a writer's meeting and have been laughing ever since. But I didn'tknow all this about her: At the age of nine, Marilyn wrote her first play with a childhood neighbor, “The Ghost and Mr. Giltwallet”. It was a mystery. And she’s been writing, whether hobby or livelihood, since.
A graduate of Colorado State University, she has worked in domestic missions and taught both English acquisition and art in underserved populations. She’s had the opportunity to co-author several plays that have been performed on both church and secular stages, as well as two screenplays, one of which was a semi-finalist in the John Templeton Screenwriting Competition.
Marilyn’s Advent of a Mystery, was released in September of 2010, Candle for a Corpse in 2012 and Up From the Grave in 2013, all part of a series called Berdie Elliott Mysteries.
She has written numerous Biblical meditations and essays printed in various publications including Guideposts, Big Dreams in Small Spaces, and Quiet Hour. Marilyn is a dyed-in-the-wool British enthusiast and it colors her work. She lives lakeside in a cottage on the outskirts of Denver near the foothills.
Hi Marilyn, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about your newest Berdie Elliott British mystery, Into the Clouds, or you, but will after today!
1) Thanks so much for having me here, today, LA. This is so fun. First secret? Into the Clouds is based on a long-ago English mystery series that was filmed in the seventies. As I watched one of the episodes on the DVD several months ago, it became evident that the mystery itself was timeless if you could see past the Beatle haircuts and plaid trousers! I took the germ of the primary idea and made it into my own twenty-first century mystery. Voila. Into the Clouds was conceived.
2) I plot my mysteries with great attention to detail and seldom take ‘bird trails’. When writing Into the Clouds, an invitation is given for Berdie, my sleuth, and her vicar husband, to enjoy a swim at a private sports club. It was simply a means to accomplish a certain plot detail. But, by the time I got into writing chapter nine of fifteen, I found the Seabrook Sports Club had become a major player in the mystery, and a hoot to use as a setting. So I went back to the beginning of the book and added clues along with red herring bits to feed the plot line. Anyone up for a swim?
3) Here’s secret number three. The description for a character that appears in Into the Clouds came from a former principal I worked with when in the teaching field. Mr. Broadhouse, my character, is handsome, big shouldered, silver-haired, and rather charming. If you may have any idea who I could be talking about, you didn’t hear it here.
4) Few know that when I was a student at Colorado State University, I took a wilderness survival class with the Colorado School of Outdoor Living. Our final for the class? On a November day, instructors took us to the base of Longs Peak, dropped us off in staggered locations, and told us to “survive” for the week end. We were allowed to take nothing more than a tiny cook tin that was attached to the belt and filled with compact survival materials, plus a sleeping bag. I’m here to tell you about it, so obviously I got on just fine, thank God. I must say, as I’ve aged, I’ve found The Broadmoor five star hotel more of a preference than cold, hard, ground.
5) Finally, I really love England. My travels there and friends I’ve made have greatly enriched my life and influenced my writing. That’s no secret. But, when I’m really missing “the lovely isle”, I surf my bookmarked webcam sites. Whether it’s the picturesque town center in Reading, Berkshire, or Weymouth Harbor where we spent a spring holiday, or the bustling Union Street, in Aberdeen, Scotland, after a few moments of “being there”, I find myself refreshed, inspired. And that’s a secret only you and I now share.
Berdie Elliott, the local vicar’s wife, goes into sleuth mode as eccentric cat lovers, a secretive informant, Portuguese holidays, an enigmatic “tree” house, and tangled family dynamics all add to the perplexing affair. In the end, Berdie rises to the occasion and solves the case.
You won’t want to let this mystery out of your sight.
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