Tag Archive for: Creating Characters

I’m Married to a Planner


Not a wedding planner or an event planner. I’m married to a
second-of-every-day planner. A month before hunting season, my husband is
compiling his gear. Our bedroom turns into a sea of orange as I roll my eyes.
When we’re in the car going from point A to B, my spouse will tell you
precisely what time we’ll arrive.

As someone who spent a lot of time on the road before he
retired, he had a lot of time to think and to play games with himself. He would
call and tell me, “I’ll be home at 7:57.” 
Not 7:30 or 8 p.m., but to the exact minute. And, ladies and gentlemen, he
usually walked in at the stated moment.

Being married to a life planner has its ups and downs. For
instance, just because he’s a planner doesn’t mean I am. I like a little
spontaneity in the seconds of my day. In fact, being a writer, my muse often
demands it. Flexibility is the name of the game with this girl.  My poor calendar bears the brunt and the inked out scratches of my constantly changing schedule.

What brought about this blog? A phone call I had with my
girlfriend today. She said she and her husband are coming to New Mexico at
Christmas and suggested we might want to meet in Taos for lunch or dinner if it’s convenient. I said that sounds like so much fun, and I’d talk it over
with the dear husband.

But now two hours after I told him, he’s come up with the    route we will take to get from Las
Cruces to Taos, and how long it would take us to get there. I’d literally forgotten
about the conversation until he brought it up. “Les,” I said, “It’s March. We
don’t have to plan this trip until September or October at the earliest.” He stared at me aghast. “By failing
to plan, you are preparing to fail.” 

Thank you Benjamin Franklin. 

The truth is my husband keeps me on target, while ideally, I remind him to take deep breaths and smell the roses. 

Planning’s a good thing, no doubt about it. But so is spontaneity. I often share traits like these in my writing. So interesting to see what makes our characters tick.

Do you have a planner in your life?


The Making of Kelly Quinn

 By Debra Sennefelder

 I’ve just finished reading the proof pages of my upcoming novella in my Resale Boutique series, WHAT NOT TO WEAR TO A GRAVEYARD, which meant I got to spend a little more time with fashionista-turned-amateur sleuth Kelly Quinn. She’s a hoot to write and
I’m so grateful that somehow, someway the nugget of her character
graced me one day allowing me to create (in my opinion) a fun,
multi-dimensional, strong female character.

 One question I get a lot is how stories and characters come to me.
Sometimes a story idea hits me as a character goes looking for a missing
dog and then finds the dog’s owner dead –murdered. Sometimes a
character idea hits me like I want to write about a food blogger.
Whatever the first spark of an idea, I think about all the what if’s and build a plot and populating the story with characters.

 For the Resale Boutique Mystery series, Kelly came to me several
years ago when I wrote a short-story on a snowy weekend. Back then Kelly
had a different name and was tracking down a missing dog only to
discover the dog’s owner dead – murdered. Five-thousand words later I
typed THE END and sent it off to my critique partner. My plan
was to submit the short story to an anthology. After polishing the
manuscript, I emailed it off and waited. And I waited some more. Then
the email came and I kind of wished I was still waiting. It was a very
polite rejection.

Yes, the rejection was disappointing, but I was busy with work and
writing a romantic suspense novel so I dusted myself off and moved on.
The short story remained in a file on my computer and in the summer of
2017 I pulled out the short story and revamped it for a proposal to send
to my editor at Kensington for a new cozy series.

Kelly got her new name and a new career and then the devastating news
her beloved grandmother had died. She then found out she inherited the
tired, old consignment shop she spent so much time in as a child before
leaving Lucky Cove to attend fashion school in New York City. I
continued plotting the story and filling Lucky Cove with its residents.

First up is Pepper Donovan. She’s been the only employee at the Lucky
Cove Consignment shop for over twenty years. She worked side-by-side
with Kelly’s grandmother and they became the closest of friends. Pepper
is having a hard time understanding why Kelly wants to change things in
the store.

There’s Kelly’s uncle, Ralph Blake. He was named the executor of the
estate by his mother. Ralph expected to inherit the shop, which sits on
prime real estate in Lucky Cove and would sell for a very nice sum.
Lucky Cove is a quaint Long Island town that’s not as flashy as the
Hamptons but still draws very wealthy and successful Manhattanites
during the summer months.

We also meet Ralph’s most-recent wife, Summer. She’s a
model-turned-Pilates studio owner and can’t understand why her adopted
hometown needs a thrift store.

Luckily Kelly has her best friend, Liv Moretti, to lean on when
things get out-of-control when Kelly is dragged into a murder
investigation which begins with a psychic claiming one garment in the
shop was worn during a murder. Word spreads quickly in Lucky Cove and
business, which wasn’t good to begin with, plunges.

Writing Kelly was a fun departure from writing Hope Early, the
protagonist in my Food Blogger Mystery series. She’s in her
mid-twenties, whereas Hope is in her thirties. She doesn’t have the
comforting support of her family like Hope has and returning to her
hometown was the last thing she ever thought she would do whereas Hope
always knew she’d be back in the place where she started. What they
share is having their careers derailed, humiliating firings and a
deep-seated need to seek justice for those who can’t. Oh, and one more
thing, they each have a very cute guy that they heart.

I’m happy to share that the short story that had been rejected turned into the novella that is releasing in September. I guess things do happen for a reason. 🙂

Thank you for spending a few minutes with me today. I truly appreciate it!

Debra Sennefelder is the
author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series.
She lives and writes in Connecticut. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking,
exercising and taking long walks with her Shih-Tzu, Connie. You can keep in touch
with Debra through her website, on Facebook and Instagram.