Welcome to the Weekly Guest Blogger series.
I got home late one night from a girls night out. I meet my old college girls as often as possible and we stare at each other wondering where the leather pants, backless tanks and bar dancers in us have gone. Everyone chose a different path, but as a group they are most dumbfounded with me I think. I was once an attention magnet and completely career driven. Now they call me June Cleaver and sometimes Church-Mom. It’s the latter of those titles that spawned my debut novel Death by Chocolate.
Being accused of being “normal” irks me. I mean, “normal” equates to boring, dull, mom-jeans and slippers, right? I hate it, and the more I thought about it the crankier I got. Standing in a serving line at a fundraiser for our church, scooping potato soup into Styrofoam cups, I found myself thinking very un-church-like things about my friends. Things like: Normal huh? What if I snapped? What if I dosed this church-fundraiser-soup with roofies and then You Tubed it all? Would THAT be “normal?” Hey, don’t judge. The thought was interesting.
After the fundraiser, I locked myself in the office and Ruby Russell was born. Ruby is the painfully normal, unnecessarily proper, completely suburban, main character in my debut novel, Death by Chocolate. She’s every woman in my cul-de-sac, and every Sunday School teacher I’ve ever had, except beneath all that, Ruby’s not quite right.
Holed up in my office, I asked myself: What if you unknowingly pushed a nut job too far? What if people aren’t who they appear to be? What if a nutty half-baked killer was so ridiculously inept she failed at murder the way she failed at fitting in? I mean, Ruby doesn’t like confrontation. That can be a problem for a killer. So, she bakes up some sweet death, a little chocolate mousse for her cheating hipster husband, a few chocolate zucchini muffins for the meddling minister…there’s no reason murder can’t be dignified and delicious!
Ahh, writing. My favorite ideas as a writer come from the things beneath the surface, the what-ifs in life. I certainly can’t roofie my church fundraiser soup, but Ruby could. People are most interesting when you see what’s bubbling just out of sight. It’s what we don’t tell each other that’s really scary.
Thank you so much to Julie Anne Lindsey for dropping by and scaring me silly tonight! Remind me not to eat any of her muffins! Well…on second thought…I really like muffins.
Until the next time…I’ll be looking for next week’s guest blogger!