The Story Behind the Story: “Ice Cold Murder”

When the concept for The Murder Before Christmas dropped into my head, it didn’t come alone.

It brought more ideas with it, including Ice Cold Murder and A Grave Error, which is a novella prequel.

So, from the beginning, it was clear this was supposed to be a series.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t resist it at first. I was in the middle of writing my next standalone, and had a few more ideas for more waiting in the wings. (My standalones ARE loosely connected, as they take place around Redemption, Wisconsin, in a city called Riverview, Wisconsin [which may or may not be based on Madison, Wisconsin], so it’s not like I’m writing completely unrelated books.)

I was never one to think in terms of series. When I started writing It Began With a Lie, the first book in my Secrets of Redemption series (which is the series that The Charlie Kingsley Mysteries spun off from), I was convinced that It Began With a Lie was going to be one book.

Well …

About six months in, I was despairing. It was SUCH a complicated storyline, which made me worry not only about the book ending up huge, but that it would also take me forever to write.

But then, I got the hit that it was actually two books, and so began the painstaking process of splitting the book into two.

From there, I figured if I was going to write two books, I might as well write three and have a trilogy. And then Charlie stepped in, and I ended up writing her story, which turned into Books 4 and 5.

You get the idea.

(If you want to read the full story about how I found my way back to fiction after years of ignoring it, check out the Writing Journey’s posts starting here.)

So, having a series show up rather than my normal standalone book idea was a different experience for me. And it was a little stressful … as in, what if I commit to multiple books and the series flops?

Well, Charlie isn’t taking “no” for an answer, so here we are with Ice Cold Murder. Murder Next Door, which is Book 3, is on its way to an April release.

I loved writing Ice Cold Murder. I always wanted to write a mystery where all the suspects were trapped in a house while a winter storm raged outside. I especially like REALLY cold settings for these kinds of mysteries, like in the Artic or Antarctic. (The Thing, anyone?) Although when I read those, I like to be curled up on the couch, covered with several blankets and a hot cup of tea in my hand.

Anyway, Ice Cold Murder isn’t nearly as cold as either of those places, nor is there any sci-fi alien monster running around. It’s a twisty cozy mystery that takes place in the 1990s.

I also always loved the closed-circle or small-group-of-suspects trope, which was perfect for this trapped-in-a-house-in-a-snowstorm mystery.

And, lastly, family secrets are a regular theme in my work. I always love the idea of secrets hidden in the past that impact what’s going on in the present.

Want to know more? Check out Ice Cold Murder and see what you think.

Every story has its own story. The behind-the-scenes story of how it got written. This is the story of Ice Cold Murder. Share on X

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