Inspiration for Frank, Incense and Muriel by Anne K. Albert

What inspired you to write Frank, Incense and Muriel?

It wasn’t so much inspiration, but rather a personal challenge to see if I could write a book similar to those I love to read - cozy mysteries and sweet romantic suspense stories that keep me guessing and make me smile.

I wanted to take readers for a ride. I wanted to introduce them to memorable characters that walked off the page. I also wanted to tie up all the lose ends, ensure that good triumphs over evil, and the villain gets his comeuppance. And because I avoid stories with violence, strong language, and graphic sex, I was determined to follow those same rules with my own creation. I’m proud to say I accomplished those goals!

Do you have a favorite writing tip?

Two, actually.

I’ve always had difficulty with the ‘write what you know’ concept until I read W.P. Kinsella, author of Shoeless Joe (on which the movie Field of Dreams was based) said ‘you don’t have to commit suicide to write about it’. That resonated with me. I get it now. Imagination, not experience, allows us to write what we know.

My other writing tip flies in the face of all the how-to books that claim a writer should (and must) do this or that particular thing to succeed. But really, there is no correct way to write.

Some authors plot. Others fly by the seat of their pants and have no idea where the story is going. It took me years to realize I write to find out what happens next. I love the thrill of jotting down a sentence, and thinking, “Wow! I didn’t see that coming!”

While I can plot with the best of them, I won’t! Three incomplete manuscripts prove plotting doesn’t work for me. If I know the outcome, as well as most of the twists and turns, nothing can convince me to spend months to write that story. It would be sheer drudgery and misery!

The same goes for characters. Some writers interview their characters before they begin writing, while others interrogate them with the ferocity of a pit bull, but neither works for me. I just drop them into a situation, pluck a name out of the air, and watch them sink or swim.

Some authors write daily, others in spurts. Some dive in and refuse to come up for air until they reach ‘the end’. All that really matters is getting the story written. How it’s accomplished is up to the individual. What works, works. End of story!

Thanks so much, Marilyn. I’d like to remind readers I’m giving away an e-copy of FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL at the conclusion of the Mystery We Write tour. Leave a comment to automatically be entered in the draw. The winner will be announced April 28 at
Bio: Anne K. Albert’s award winning stories chill the spine, warm the heart and soothe the soul…all with a delightful touch of humor. A member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and married to her high school sweetheart for more than a quarter of a century, it's a given she'd write mystery and romantic suspense. When not writing she loves to travel, visit friends and family, and of course, read using ‘Threegio’ her cherished and much beloved Kindle 3G!

Links: Website:

Blurb: FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL is set the week before Christmas when the stress of the holidays is enough to frazzle anyone’s nerves. Tensions increase when a friend begs Muriel to team up with a sexy private investigator to find a missing woman. Forced to deal with an embezzler, kidnapper, and femme fatale is bad enough, but add Muriel’s zany yet loveable family to the mix and their desire to win the coveted D-DAY (Death Defying Act of the Year) Award, and the situation can only get worse. This cozy, comedic mystery is recipient of the prestigious 2011 Holt Medallion Award of Merit.


Anne K. Albert said…
It is a pleasure to be featured on your blog today, Marilyn. On behalf of all the other Mystery We Write authors, I'd like to say thank you for being the inspiration for the tour. Without you, and your support, none of this would be possible. THANK YOU!
Oh, Anne, you give me way too much credit. You organization skills are what made this possible. Thanks for this great idea.
marja said…
It's always interesting to hear what makes an author tick, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments. Can't wait to read your next book.
What an inspiring story, Anne. I'm anxious to read your book now. I too am writing a cozy mystery but can't seem to get past the first 100 pages. I've been listening too much to the experts that say I need to outline, I need to ... I too write to see what's going to happen next. Thank you for sharing! I'm participating in the Blogging A to Z Challenge to improve my discipline of writing every day. Take a quick peek:
Anne K. Albert said…
Thank you, Marja. As you know, I've had a bit of a curve ball thrown at me in my personal life and writing was forced to take a back seat, BUT now that the situation is under control I'm settling back down in my chair and once again the words are flowing. It feels super to be back. I'll shout it to the rooftops when the next book is released!
Anne K. Albert said…
Hi Diane, kudos on the A-Z Challenge. I took part last year and thoroughly enjoyed the hectic but exhilarating pace!

As for plotting and listening to the experts, I concur 100%. What works for one person will not automatically work for another. We all have a unique process that should be honored. Go with your gut. Happy writing!
M.M. Gornell said…
Oh, Anne, love your comments, "But really, there is no correct way to write." followed by "What works, works." Sooooo true. Love reading all your blogs. Thanks, both of you, Marilyn and Anne, for a another fun and interesting tour.

Anne K. Albert said…
It took me YEARS to learn that lesson, Madeline. I may be a slow learner, but when it clicks, it clicks. ;-)
Mike Orenduff said…
If Earl and Anne agree that "write what you know" is bad advice, we should all pay attention.
Anonymous said…
You really have a great talent for titles. That's one of the best. Kinsella is one of the legends, a super inspiration.

Lou allin
Earl Staggs said…
Anne, just about everything you said about your writing habits and philosophies struck home with me. We must be related somehow. Best wishes to you, cousin.
Anne K. Albert said…
Hi Mike, so glad you dropped by!

I'm not sure "write what you know" is bad advice for every just doesn't work for me! The key, I suppose, is that everyone should consider it, and then embrace or discard it according to whatever suits and/or works.
Anne K. Albert said…
Thanks, Lou. I've always appreciated a play on words, and it just felt so right with this particular book. Glad you like it!
Anne K. Albert said…
Proud and honored to be related, Cousin Earl. ;-)
Jake said…
Have found this an enlightening read. Trying to win that e-book. Think I have finally discovered most of the links. Appreciate your efforts which take away from writing.

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