A Neighborly Killing by Nancy Lynn Jarvis
Let’s get one thing straight right away: Regan and Tom, the protagonists in my Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries, are not me and my husband, Craig.
OK, I confess, originally Regan and Tom were named Nancy and Craig. Most of my characters start out with the name of someone I know, but they stopped being us the first time Nancy found a body and Craig (the real one) found me curled in a ball on the sofa in my office, shaking and crying. It was a matter of self preservation that they couldn’t be us.
An interesting thing happened once I changed Nancy and Craig’s names to Regan and Tom. The characters started behaving differently. I was so fascinated by the change in their personalities that I renamed almost all my characters. Suddenly they were willing to do things they would never have done as themselves. For example, Kaivan in “The Death Contingency,” like his real counterpart my friend Korosh, was still a clothes-horse, flirt, and a patriotic naturalized citizen, but he became a plausible potential villain, a role the real Korosh could never have played.
The changes were so much fun to watch that everyone except Dave, Regan and Tom’s semi-retired policeman buddy who lost an eye in a shootout, got renamed. He escaped a new identity only because he’s written very closely to his real persona and doesn’t have to be forced to do anything he wouldn’t readily do.
Freed from having to be in the books, my real Craig happily became my beta reader. I’d give him my perfectly written (HA!) mysteries for comments. We’d have heated arguments every time he read my words. “You may know what you mean, but it’s not on the page. Fix it.” I couldn’t send my books to the editor until all needed rewrites were finished. He also took over the job of taking the disparate elements I wanted for book covers and blending them until they looked just like I saw them in my head.
So Tom was no longer Craig, but there was one aspect of Craig that remained in Tom completely unchanged, Tom’s devastatingly blue eyes, the eyes both Regan and I loved.
My real Craig died on July 26th in 2016. I want to write another Regan and Tom mystery because I have a great plot in mind, but so far I can’t bring myself to do it. Even though Craig wasn’t Tom, I find I can’t write Tom in Craig’s absence. It’s all about his eyes. I’m hoping I’ll soon be able to move forward and put pen to paper, or in our modern world, tap my computer keys, because I miss Tom just like I do Craig.
Waking up to gunshots and discovering the body of their neighbor just outside their bedroom door is bad enough, but when the Coroner rules the death a suicide, Realtors Regan McHenry and her husband Tom Kiley don’t believe it for a minute. Never mind what the physical evidence says; they heard their dead neighbor arguing with someone in the moments preceding his death.
What really happened has become more than just a mystery they’d like to solve because the circumstances of their dead neighbor’s past keep interfering with their present and putting them in danger.
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/ReganMcHenryRealEstateMysteries , and the best Amazon author page, https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Lynn-Jarvis/e/B002CWX7IQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1484256853&sr=1-2-ent because people can see all the books and read beginning pages.
Nancy Lynn Jarvis finally acknowledged she was having too much fun writing to ever sell another house, so she let her license lapse in May of 2013, after her twenty-fifth anniversary in real estate.
After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager for Shakespeare/Santa Cruz at UCSC.
Nancy’s philosophy is that you should try something radically different every few years. Writing was her latest adventure until she recently started playing Airbnb hostess. She hopes to begin hosting writer retreats soon, especially retreats for her fellow cozy mystery writers.
Nancy invites you to take a peek into the real estate world through the stories that form the backdrop of her Regan McHenry mysteries. The murders are made up, but the real estate details and ideas come from her own experiences.
She’s also playing with a new series called Geezers With Tools (double entendre intended) about two retired men who start a handyman business, one because he is recently widowed and needs a way to fill his time, and the other because he’s a player who thinks it will be a good way to meet women.