Please give a warm welcome to our wonderful Guest Chick, J.A. Hennrikus/Julianne Holmes. Julie is an Agatha-nominated author who juggles multiple mystery series with style!
Thank you all for having me on Chicks on the Case! This is such a great blog, with six wonderful writers. Your tagline: Kick-Butt Cozies. Fun, Fearless Sleuths is terrific, but I will confess, it made me wonder if my protagonists would fit in here. Let me explain.
I have two published series right now. The Clock Shop mystery series features Ruth Clagan, a clockmaker in Orchard, MA, a fictional town in the Berkshires. As the series opens, Ruth is just thirty, recently divorced, out of a job, and has lost her estranged grandfather. The third book in the series, Chime and Punishment, was released in August. Ruth has grown a lot, helped solve three murders, and does kick butt. But is she fearless?
My second series just debuted in September with A Christmas Peril. The Theater Cop series is about Edwina “Sully” Sullivan, a fortyish divorced ex-cop who runs a theater company. Her theater company is doing a production of A Christmas Carol, and things aren’t going well. When her friend is arrested, accused of killing his father, she has to brush off her investigative skills and find a killer.
I love writing Ruth and Sully. They both have serious sleuth skills. But are they fearless? I don’t think so. They are brave when trying to right wrongs, but they are both afraid of a lot of things. The trick is, they don’t let fear stop them from moving forward. In You Learn By Living, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote:
“The encouraging thing is that every time you meet a situation, though you may think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it you find that forever after you are freer than you ever were before. If you can live through that you can live through anything. You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.`
You are able to say to yourself, `I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.
The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. If you fail anywhere along the line, it will take away your confidence. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” One of the reasons we like cozy mysteries is that wrongs are made right. Justice prevails. Order is restored. Our protagonists are part of the solution, but not because they are heroes. They step into the mix because no one else is doing what needs to be done. They do the thing they think they cannot do, but they recognize someone needs to.
Writing these women makes me think about my own life, and how I deal with fear. I have had moments of doing things I thought I couldn’t do—like running (well, actually sort of shuffling) a half-marathon, which was not in my wheelhouse. Or getting a publishing contract, which felt like it would never happen. Still, my sleuths, Ruth and Sully, do what needs to be done on a scale I can’t imagine, even if they are afraid. I may be their creator, but they inspire me.
How about you? Do you do the thing you think you cannot do on a regular basis?
As Julianne Holmes, Julie writes the Clock Shop Series. As J.A. Hennrikus, she writes the Theater Cop series. She blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors (www.wickedcozyauthors.com), and Killer Characters (www.killercharacters.com). You can find her on Instagram @jahenn, on Twitter @jhauthors, or on Facebook.