Guest Chick Sarah Fox: Killer Switcheroo

Hi, Vickie, here. Today the Chicks are thrilled to welcome author Sarah Fox. The cleverly titled, AN ALE OF TWO CITIES, newest in her Literary Pub Mysteries, was released this week! Take it away, Sarah!

In the writing world, we often talk about whether we’re plotters or pansters. Some writers like to meticulously outline a book before they write it while others (the pansters) prefer to fly by the seat of their pants. I sit somewhere in the middle.

An Ale of Two Cities HC

I’ve learned the hard way that I need to do some planning before I start writing, otherwise I end up wandering down the wrong path, one that can sometimes lead over a steep cliff.

I need direction to keep me away from straying down those hazardous paths, but not too much direction. Even though I write a basic outline before I begin, the story always takes unexpected turns when I’m writing it. That’s not a bad thing. I like to be surprised, and usually the unexpected twists and turns are more interesting than what’s in my outline.

What I’m not so fond of is when I have to change the killer part way through the book. Usually that becomes necessary because the killer’s identity is way too obvious. All those subtle clues I was planting turn out to be not-so-subtle after all and my sleuth would have to be on the dim side to miss them. Once I had to change the murderer because I liked him too much. As I wrote the first draft, I realized he was such a nice guy that I just couldn’t bring myself to make him the killer.

Of course, changing the murderer tends to require several other changes. I have to go back and move things around, add scenes and new clues. That can be a frustrating process, but it always results in a better story in the end. That said, every time I start a new mystery, I cross my fingers and hope that I won’t need to do a killer switcheroo.

About the book:

The Winter Carnival always brings holiday cheer, Christmas joy—and tourists with cash—to picturesque Shady Creek, Vermont. At the center of the glittering decorations and twinkling lights is booklover and pub owner Sadie Coleman, creating original cocktails, hosting a literary trivia evening, and cheering on her loyal employee Melanie “Mel” Costas as she competes in the ice carving competition. 
But holiday cheer can’t compete with former resident and renowned chef Freddy Mancini, who arrives with his nose in the air, showing off his ice-sculpting skills like a modern-day Michelangelo. During the artists’ break in the night-long contest, Mel’s tools disappear . . . and Freddy is found dead with her missing pick in his chest.
Although the police turn their attention to Mel, it seems everyone in town had a grudge against Freddy, including his assistant, his mentor, his former flame, and even his half-brother.
Faster than she can fling a Huckleberry Gin, Sadie finds herself racing to make sure the police don’t arrest the wrong suspect—all while sharing a flirtation with local brewery owner Grayson Blake. Their chemistry leads to a heated rivalry at the hockey rink—and to the hot pursuit of a killer. 

About the author:

FOX- Author Photo copy.jpgSarah Fox was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. She’s the author of the Literary Pub Mysteries, as well as the Music Lover’s Mystery series and the USA Today bestselling Pancake House Mysteries. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer, Sarah can often be found reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel. Connect with Sarah on her website, as well as on Facebook and on Twitter @TheWriteFox.

How do you feel when books/life take an unexpected turn? Share in comments.

24 thoughts on “Guest Chick Sarah Fox: Killer Switcheroo

  1. Congratulations on your new release, Sarah! I do enjoy an unexpected twist in a story. In real life, I’m a bit of a chicken and prefer for the inevitable twists to be as small as possible!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Welcome, Sarah, and congrats on the new release! Such a great post–and so relatable for me. In my first book, I was too subtle in the making of my murderer. My husband read the first draft, and when he got to the Big Murderer Reveal, he turned to me and said, “Who is this person again?” Aaaaaaaaaaaaand back to the drawing board. Thanks for visiting and wishing you all the best!!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Congrats on the new book!

    I can certainly understand why it is painful to have to replot when the killer changes. Hopefully, you think the end result is worth it.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Welcome, Sarah! I’m an outliner but I call it a fluid outline because I let it change with the writing of an ms. Luckily, though, I’ve yet to change the killer. But that sure doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That is lucky! I almost changed the killer in my current wip but in the end just tweaked a few other things instead. Hopefully it’s no longer too obvious, but I haven’t read it yet so we’ll see! 😀

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Thank you for visiting us, Sarah! Same process here, and I also love being surprised when the book veers away from the outline. I’ve heard those of us who are in between plotters and pansters called “plantsers”…what do you think about that term? I’m not sure… 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Great post, Sarah! I always love to hear about other writers’ processes. I never actually change my mind on the killer, because I don’t know who it is when I start. (Really.) But usually, when I look back, I find the killer was extra shady the whole time. Congrats on the new book, and thanks for making a special pre-holiday visit to Chicks!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Lisa! It’s so interesting how our processes differ. I’m pretty sure I’d end up with an extra tangled mess if I didn’t have a killer in mind when starting out!


  7. Killer Switcheroo would be a good title for a mystery!

    I outline like crazy, but still have to make changes as I go along, since it’s only by actually writing the book that you truly learn what’s meant to happen. (And yes, I did one do a killer switcheroo in one of my books–but not telling which one!)

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Sarah! And hope to see you again at LCC and/or Malice!

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s