Finding Real-Life Inspiration

Hello, everyone! Becky here, completely delighted to welcome the prolific and marvelous Maddie Day/Edith Maxwell to Chicks today! She’s such an inspiration to me, and I suspect to many of you. Read on, because she comes bearing a gift for someone … maybe YOU!

Thanks for having me over to the Chicks, Becky! You all are some of my favorite authors (and my kitty is intrigued with the wind-up chick I won at Malice Domestic last year). I’d love to send one commenter a signed copy of the new book.

My newest Country Store Mystery, Candy Slain Murder, opens with a man showing up at Robbie Jordan’s restaurant claiming he’s Danna Beedle’s brother.

Except Robbie’s co-chef Danna didn’t know she had a brother. She’s always been the only child of single mom Corrine, South Lick’s mayor. When Robbie looks at Danna and Marcus side by side, she can see the resemblance. Still, she’s not sure if she should trust the newcomer. Where did this dude come from?

He arose from an experience my family had a few years ago. About six months after a family member ran their DNA through Ancestry, a message arrived from a man who said he was a ninety-nine percent match to be that person’s son. Whoa.

The family member (and the other parent) had given up the son for adoption at birth, and no effort had been made to find him. After a few tentative emails and a long phone call (plus some checking out of Facebook profiles), everyone met in person. And liked each other! Personalities and politics all matched up nicely.

Mr R, Mr A, and Miss J

We all now have bigger families, three young children to celebrate as they grow, and much getting to know each other. The son and his wife are both adopted, as is one of their children. It’s been such a blessing to discover them.

So I was inspired to gently include a similar situation in Country Store #8. Because isn’t Christmas all about families? My fictional setup is entirely different from the real one, though. I hope I’ve done the experience justice on all sides.

Readers: What surprises have you encountered with DNA results? Do you have a happy reunion story to share, or an intriguing genealogical discovery?

In Candy Slain Murder, Country Store owner Robbie Jordan’s life seems merry and as bright as the Christmas lights glistening around South Lick, Indiana – until a man claims to be the long-lost half-brother of Robbie’s assistant. A fire destroys the home of a controversial anesthesiologist, exposing skeletal remains in his attic. The twin of the long-dead woman is murdered. Unavoidably intrigued, all Robbie wants for Christmas is to stop her winter wonderland from becoming a real nightmare.

Maddie Day pens the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. Agatha Award winning Edith Maxwell writes the historical Quaker Midwife Mysteries and short crime fiction. With twenty-three mysteries in print and more underway, Day/Maxwell lives with her beau and their energizer kitten north of Boston, where she writes, gardens, cooks, and wastes time on Facebook. She hopes you’ll find her on social media under both names and at her web site.

63 thoughts on “Finding Real-Life Inspiration

  1. I don’t have any big family surprises, but met a long lost uncle for the first time at my father’s funeral. Thanks for the chance to win! Katherinestamps (at) msn (dot) com.

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  2. This book sounds wonderful! I just put it on the top of my list to read! Mysteries have gotten me through this pandemic. I am one of those readers who gets totally lost in a story, as though I am THERE. It is a wonderful way to “travel” and experience new adventures in a time of staying close to home. Thank goodness for books!

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  3. I did the Ancestry.com thing and was disappointed at how white my heritage was. My dad had a ruddy complexion and chisled cheek bones, so I was hoping for some Native American. Nope. Predominately British Isles with a smattering of Sweden/Norway Viking raids. Boring!

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  4. My DNA test showed pretty much what I expected: 98% German/French and British Isles. I was hoping for some Mediterranean (based on my olive complexion), but no dice. Sigh…

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, girl! And congrats on the new book! You are indeed an inspiration to us all!

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  5. What a gorgeous cover, Edith! The book sounds great. My DIL had my son’s DNA done, and let’s just say our ancestors didn’t move around much. I think I know where I got the blond hair from, though (see Pam’s Swedish raid comment above). I have been a huge fan of the Genetic Detective TV show featuring CeCe Moore. True crime fans, you’ll love it!

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  6. Not DNA, but Facebook found a long-lost nephew of mine. He thought he didn’t have family anymore, but then his sister found him and introduced him to our enormous clan. And it was the same with you, Edith … fell right into us as if he’d never been gone.

    Thanks for visiting us today with this story-behind-the-story!

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  7. No real interesting finds in my direct family. My uncle (married to my mom’s sister) found out maybe 10 or 12 years ago that he had a sister. He, too, was an only child and has been that way 60+ years. He struggled a while with the knowledge, but has since met her and her family.

    I just love Robbie and her restaurant. I feel like I’d fit right in with her and her delicious breakfasts!! 😋💜

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  8. Glad to have you here with the Chicks again! Congrats on your latest!

    Such an amazing story about your family reunion. I haven’t done any DNA testing, but my dad keeps a meticulous record of our genealogy, going back many generations.

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  9. I had a few surprises when I received my DNA results. I discovered that some of my Eastern European ancestry is Jewish and that I possess Nigerian DNA. I just thought that I was Irish, French, and No. European (which I am) but my results showed me that all of us are truly connected. It’s so true that all of our ancestors are alive in us today.

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  10. Edith, it’s always such a pleasure to have you here! Your latest sounds amazing.

    I don’t have a DNA or reunion story of my own, but my best friend’s father discovered that he had unknowingly worked beside his birth mother for years. They found each other later in life, and, my, what a reunion. I’m getting misty just thinking about it!

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  11. I have an adult grandson who is estranged from his biological father who I hadn’t seen since he was three years old. Thanks to him reaching out to one of his aunties on facebook recently I hopefully will be able to connect with him in the near future!
    I love your Country store series and would be so happy to win this one!
    Thank you.

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  12. I have an Ancestry kit but haven’t done it yet. I know I have a pirate in my ancestry though. He was French and sailed the waters of VA. I want this book so badly!

    Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

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  13. Not a DNA surprise but a surprise nonetheless.
    My mother went to her mothers funeral and this woman came up to her and introduced herself as her half sister, Delores. Turns out that moms dad had been married before and had a child. Another surprise was that Grandma and Delores not only knew about each other but would have lunch together. Delores knew all about my mom and her siblings and they knew nothing about her. Things were different back in the day. BBC

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  14. My older son has been into genealogy since he was 9–he’s almost 32 now. The library regularly has him give talks about the DNA analysis, which I find so confusing. He had discovered some illegitimate and unknown children in our distant tree and has also had to break bad news to several people. Legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

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  15. Edith!!! I’m so sorry I’m late to this post! I love this. I have a slightly similar situation in my 3rd Catering Hall Mystery, inspired by my real life. My grandfather disappeared in 1933 and I’ve spent my hole life wondering if I have secret relatives somewhere. But he was low level mob and I’ve come to believe, through a bit of researched, that he was offed by associates.

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  16. I have one of those one of the ancestry DNA kits. But, haven’t done it yet. I think family ancestors can be very interesting and a can create many mysteries to be solved. Lol! Thank you for the chance to win the giveaway!!
    Have a awesome day !!

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