Welcome, guest Chick Julie Mulhern! Julie writes the oh-so-fun and witty Country Club Murders for Henery Press. She joins us today to talk about her happy childhood (yes, they actually exist) and how it inspired her series.
Happy Childhoods, Lack of Angst, and Murder
I had an idyllic childhood.
There, I said it.
Mine was a childhood filled with horses, and tennis, and a happy home. Mine was a childhood filled with fireflies in summertime and sledding in the winter. And bedtime stories. So many bedtime stories. My childhood left few scars.
An astonishing number of years later, that lack of scar tissue means I don’t write angst-filled, tortured heroes or heroines well. I tried. Twice. It didn’t work.
That lack of scar tissue means I remember the 1970s fondly. I’ve heard tell of things like gas lines and Watergate but I don’t remember them. Much. I do remember my mother plopping me in front of the television during the Watergate hearings and telling me to watch. History was happening. At six, history was boring. I lasted only a few minutes.
Julie in 1973
When I thought about writing a mystery, the 70s seemed the obvious choice. I could walk down memory lane—phones with cords, the women’s movement, Tab—and I didn’t need to worry about CSI-type concerns (lazy writer).
So, the time-period was sorted.
Picking Kansas City as a backdrop was also easy. I’m a fifth generation Kansas Citian and I love my city.
The characters came next. A bit of my grandmother, a bit of a friend’s mother, a pinch of salt, a dash of vinegar and Frances Walford, meddling mother extraordinaire, was born.
Ellison, Frances’s long-suffering daughter with a troublesome habit of finding bodies presented herself fully formed with the first words I wrote, “My morning swim doesn’t usually involve corpses.” Ellison never slows down. For her, 1974 is a revolving door of bodies—she finds them at the pool, in the driveway, hidden in her hostas, and on the floor of the study (Mrs. White with a revolver).
And they are all found without a trace of angst.
I blame my idyllic childhood.
Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions. Her most recent book, Watching the Detectives, released in May. www.juliemulhernauthor.com