I’m Gilian Baker, cozy mystery writer.
Ooooo…it gives me tingles all over to be able to say that!
I’ve wanted to be a weaver of stories since elementary school, even before I knew I could write. I discovered my aptitude and love of writing in college, many moons ago. Before I knew it, I had changed my major and started down the path of teaching others how to write.
And I’ve always had my nose in a book. My mom used to “catch me” reading a book in the backseat of the family car and tell me to stop because it was “bad for my eyes” (as if). I would stop for a short while and then, when the coast was clear, I’d open my book back up and go into that other world that the author had created just for me. As an English professor, I was able to share my love of writing and reading with others, hopefully instilling the love of it in them as well. (Hey, a girl can dream!)
Skip ahead many years. I was working as an English professor and then as an academic librarian, teaching students the joys of researching, as well as my other passions. What could be more enticing than researching literary criticism and analyzing a piece of literature with the nuggets you found? Yeah, my students didn’t usually see the excitement in it, (or the point) but I was combining all of my propensities, and I was firmly in my element!
A few years later I was teaching online courses remotely and started blogging. The world of online entrepreneurship blew my mind! So much to learn and so much excitement! I then added ghostwriter and freelance editor to my CV, because I just didn’t have enough going on (eye roll). So although I’ve changed jobs, and even careers, they have all been centered around reading, writing and research.
THE PLOT THICKENS
In 2014, my daughter talked me into joining NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) with her. The goal is to write 50,000 words of fiction in 30 days. I was leery because I had only ever written academically, never creatively. Did I have it in me? Well, I had an idea for a cozy mystery, my favorite genre to read, and decided to give it a go. I had nothing to lose. If I sucked at it, only my loving family would know about it, and they wouldn’t hold it against me.
Why did I decide to torture myself by pounding out 50,000 words in November? Maybe more than anything else, my work life felt stale. I was tired of teaching, and I was getting fed up with blogging. I needed something creative in my life, an outlet that would get me juiced up in the mornings. So I took the challenge.
Ohhhh…the wonders of early-morning writing–for fun! I jumped out of bed (okay, maybe I didn’t jump, but I was inspired) each day before the sun was up to work on my story before I started work.
I was hooked!
This writing mysteries stuff was awesome! I found myself thinking about plots, characters, ways to kill people off all day long while I graded substandard college essays and blogged about college writing tips. I couldn’t wait to get back to my whodunit! It was always there in the back (okay, in the front) of my mind.
After NaNoWriMo ended, I slowly slipped out of the habit of writing my story. I got busy and felt like since it wasn’t “real work” I shouldn’t be “wasting” my time with it. I already had more on my plate than I was able to keep up with. Who had time to write for fun?
But the pull of it was always there. I thought, “Someday…”. And then a couple of months ago, I got totally fed up. I could picture myself as a cozy mystery writer, happily plotting murder all day long, and I decided to take the leap. And here I am. And here you are. Writer and reader finally meet up over a brand new cozy series!
The chapter from Blogging is Murder that you are about to download is some of my original NaNoWriMo writing. I’ve added, deleted and tweaked it for you, but the basic concept is the same one I had two years ago. In the scenes you get to meet Jade Blackwell, blogger extraordinaire and our soon-to-be amateur sleuth. Like me, she drinks tea by the gallon, talks to her cats, sighs a lot and loves a good, juicy mystery.
Set in fictitious Aspen Falls, Wyoming in the beautiful Medicine Bow Mountains, Jade ends up on the trail of an unlikely cyber-stalker when her friend’s blog and livelihood get hijacked. Though she was certainly born with all the traits of a world-class private detective, Jade believed she will do nothing more than figure out the murder in her latest favorite whodunit. Little does she know that cyber-security will be the least of her worries when she blows open the case while unraveling her faith in humanity and the safety she feels living in the Rocky Mountain hamlet she calls home.
To read the full first chapter before anyone else, follow this link. Enjoy!