Guest Post

Happy Childhoods, Lack of Angst, and Murder

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.

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 Mulhern - 1973 (3)

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

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24 thoughts on “Happy Childhoods, Lack of Angst, and Murder

    • I attended middle school, high school and college in the 1970’s, so I was really exposed to a lot during that time period. I remember the Watergate hearings because they pre-empted General Hospital. Then there were the high waisted pants, mini skirts, and Tab (and Mr. Pibb?). I went to a very preppy college in Virginia to study French, and apparently my Dallas, TX wardrobe did not pass muster, and people said, “Celia is so disco!” Not a compliment — but they did love my cowboy boots — go figure. I cannot wait for Cold as Ice to come out!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Don’t I remember reading it was Sweet Briar? I went to W&L…

        I too am getting excited about Cold as Ice (counting the days excited!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • W&L wasn’t coed yet during my 2 years at Sweet Briar, but I spent many a weekend there (I loved the drive over the mountain) — lots of parties at the Pavilion in the country where they would have parties with bands and lots of kegs.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh wow, Celia, disco AND cowboy boots? Love it. We just wore turtlenecks, cords, and sweaters. SIgh.

        Like

  1. What you make lemonade from lemonade. 🙂

    Seriously, I’m a decade behind you, but I had a pretty idyllic childhood, too, and it’s something I’ve very thankful for. Besides, who needs angst? Reading is supposed to be for fun, right? Real life has too much drama.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Mr. Pibb, Celia! I’d forgotten that one! And I was “disco” with cowboy boots too! Julie, I love your strolls down memory lane. All the clothing posts on Facebook do tend to disturb me though…mostly because I owned and wore a lot of it. (Class of ’77, heaven help me).

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Love re-living the 70s in your wonderful mysteries, Julie! Plus, Ellison is such a great character, and your sense of humor is terrific.

    Feeling like kindred spirits re: the first sentence you wrote! The first sentence I ever wrote for the Lila books was “Among the many horrors to be encountered in an English department meeting, a dead body was not usually one of them.” 🙂

    And I distinctly remember the weird taste of Tab…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post, Julie! I love your homage to the Seventies in your books and your Facebook posts. I think I mentioned once that I always know which posts are yours before I’ve even seen your name—and they always make me laugh! Thanks for stopping by!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great post. I went to a reading yesterday with a woman who wrote a book in the 1980s and she was saying it was hard for her because of the nitpicky details like how much a cd player cost in 1989. Do you run into things like that?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the premise of your series. I played golf day after day after day in the early seventies, and the country club scene was imprinted on my consciousness. So many possibilities for murder and craziness. All the best, Julie!! –kate/c. t. collier

    Liked by 1 person

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