Sunday, March 2, 2014

Camille Miles, Private Eye

When I was a kid, one of my greatest pleasures was walking to the Maring Grace Branch of the Muncie Public Library. It was my neighborhood library, just a few blocks form my house.  Behind the giant, creaking wooden door and up the echoing stone steps I found really nice older ladies with pointy glasses, shelves of dark wood, glorious card catalogs, and--best of all--books! Books! Books!

From my earliest visits, the library fed my love of mysteries. Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown, The Three Investigators, and, yes, even a few Nancy Drew stories were followed by Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle, Erle Stanley Gardner, and many others.

As I grew up I still loved these early discoveries, and added to them mysteries by such wonderful authors as Colin Dexter, Tony Hillerman, and others too numerous to mention.

Since I've been a writer nearly as long as I've been reading, I've always wanted to write a mystery. Over the years I fiddled around with the occasional idea, never getting past a single chapter or perhaps an outline. I even tried my hand at a couple of juvenile mysteries, but could never quote find the "hook" that made for a successful book.

Then along came my little girl, Heidi, and I decided to write some picture books based on her imagination. I did so, and submitted them to some publishers. One bit, but only enough to say they liked the stories but were looking for stories for slightly older kids. On the odd chance, I sent them a short mystery story I'd done, with a character named Camille who was based loosely on my own daughter.

Success! The editor wrote back and wanted to see the rest of the stories that would make up this collection of mysteries. I had to quickly write them! I put them together, sent them off and the rest, as they say, is history. Earlier this month a mille Miles, Private Eye, was published by LadyBee Publishing as an ebook.

Camille Miles is similar in concept to one of my favorite childhood series, Encyclopedia Brown. It features 10-year-old Camille, who runs a detective agency out of her tree house. The neighborhood kids bring her their mysteries and she solves them for a dollar a day (plus expenses). The book is aimed mostly at kids ages 7-11, and asks the reader to solve each mystery before the solution is revealed.

I've had good feedback, for the most part, although one person told me she felt the main villain of the stories--Camille's arch-nemesis Sarah--was too nasty.

I've enjoyed writing Camille's adventures, and hope to write more. If you read my stories, let me know what you think. And rate/review Camille Miles, Private Eye on Amazon and Smashwords and Goodreads!

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