Welcome to Stacy Juba, author of the soon to be released Twenty-Five Years Ago Today. Stacy is the first guest author for CMM's 'Why I Write Mysteries' series. This is Stacy's story...
People often ask why I write mystery novels and what inspired the creation of my main characters. It all started with Charlie’s Angels.
Every day after school, I’d watch the show and fantasize that I was a private detective going undercover to take down the bad guys. I particularly admired Kris Munroe, Cheryl Ladd’s alter ego. This girl-next-door had it all – she was gorgeous, smart, fun, and could overpower any scumbag that crossed her path. Someday, I pledged that I would become a detective just like her.
Alas, that didn’t happen. Dodge bullets? I don’t think so. But, I did acknowledge my childhood daydreams in one small way. My first mystery novel, Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, features a main character called Kris. Like her namesake, she is in her twenties and has honey blonde hair, although she is not a professional PI.
Instead, my protagonist Kris Langley works as an obit writer and editorial assistant for a small town newspaper. She blames herself for her cousin’s murder when they were kids, battles insomnia and an addiction to sleeping pills, and has few friends. Although she carries a heavier burden than her Angelic counterpart, a few similarities exist.
Cheryl Ladd’s Kris Munroe lived in the shadow of her popular older sister Jill, played by Farrah Fawcett, and needed to prove herself when she filled her sibling’s role at the detective agency. My character feels like the black sheep of her family when compared to her successful physician big sis.
Both characters go way beyond their job descriptions. Viewers saw Cheryl Ladd pose as a singer, trucker, and assistant/target to a circus knife thrower, among many other covers. After stumbling across an unsolved murder on the microfilm, Kris Langley obsesses over the cold case of a young cocktail waitress. She immerses herself in the mystery and must fight to stay off the obituary page herself. Like the Angels, my gal is not above showing a little cleavage to distract a potential criminal.
Most importantly, both of these detectives share a mixture of spunk and vulnerability. On TV, Kris Munroe felt stricken the first time she shot someone, mustered her courage when abducted, and in one episode even suffered from amnesia. In my novel, Kris Langley torments herself over her childhood mistakes and questions whether she deserves happiness. Whenever her mother rejects her, she acts indifferent, but hurt swells deep within her heart. Yet despite these vulnerable moments, spunk always wins out for each of these fictional heroines.
So, why do I write mystery novels? I enjoy creating puzzles and depicting multi-layered protagonists who must rise above their weaknesses in the pursuit of justice. Most of all, I enjoy living vicariously through characters like Kris Langley, who make me feel like I’m along for the ride except they take all the risks.
To download an excerpt of Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, visit my web site http://www.stacyjuba.com.
Editor's Note: You can also find Stacy's book at Mainly Murder Press at: http://www.mainlymurderpress.com/