ABOUT THE BOOK
Meet Erica Coleman: a gifted and quirky private investigator with a penchant for sleuthing and a passion for chocolate.
Erica imagined that her trip to Florida would be a slice of heaven—a chance to get away from it all and catch up with her best friend, Wendy. But a mere day into her idyllic vacation, all hope of fun in the sun is dashed with a shocking discovery: the body of an unknown man on the driveway. A failed second homicide attempt hits even closer to home when Wendy’s fiancé barely survives poisoning. There’s no way to sugarcoat it—a murderer is on the prowl, and no one is above suspicion.
Unsettled by the proximity of foul play, Wendy asks Erica to investigate. Erica is convinced that the near double-murder was no coincidence, so she accepts her friend’s request—with her skill, solving the mystery should be a piece of cake. But as she sifts through mounting evidence, one thing becomes clear: everyone had a reason for wanting both men dead. And as the plot thickens, it appears that Erica may have bitten off more than she can chew.
“As she drove back to Wendy’s house, the headlights cleaved the darkness and shone through the rain, which was falling harder now. Erica parked across the street and was nearly to Wendy’s door when she stopped suddenly, catching herself as she nearly fell over something.
It was the still figure of a man lying face down on the driveway. He was strangely unmoving. The light from the porch illuminated a puddle alongside him, which was growing bigger by the second. A chill shivered down Erica’s spine as she noticed that the puddle was streaked by dark red threads that ran and merged with rivulets of rain.”
Her hobbies are gardening, camping, and reading. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and has written a number of non-fiction books, including: Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were AngelsAmong Them, Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, and Brigham’s Boys. Marlene also wrote the best-selling novel, Light on Fire Island.
A busy writer, Marlene is set to have three books published this year. Gaze Into Heaven, a fascinating collection of over 50 documented near-death experiences in early church history, was published earlier this year. Next is Motive for Murder, the first in a mystery series featuring the quirky Erica Coleman. In July,Heroes of Faith, a collection of stories about people who risked their life for the gospel, will be released by Cedar Fort Inc.
What inspired you to write Motive for Murder?
I love mysteries so much that I finally decided to write one. My first book, Light on Fire Island, was a combination mystery/romance, and while there is a little romance in Motive for Murder, it is more of a full-blown mystery. I loved the idea of a quirky, OCD private detective, so created Erica Coleman, who will star in forthcoming mysteries. Erica is both helped and hampered by her OCD tendencies, which alternately charms and irritates people.
Who is your favorite character in your book, and why?
I like Erica Coleman the best, but I had a lot of fun with Myrna and Coby Kincaid. I loved it when Erica helped Coby sneak some cookies while his wife isn’t looking!
Do you have any unusual habits while you write?
Not really, but I have four furry friends who keep me company. I have three cats and two dogs and both dogs and two of the cats follow me around wherever I happen to be working. My husband built a little gazebo in the back yard, and I often go out there to write and my little friends always go out with me and curl up in the shade.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
My husband and I like to go camping. We roughed it when we had kids, but then bought a 5th wheel. Much nicer! Air conditioning, queen size bed, microwave, stove, the works. I take my laptop of course, and occasionally “work” but it doesn’t seem like work when you’re sitting underneath tall pines and enjoying the great outdoors.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is Motive for Murder part of a series?
I have BIG plans. Motive for Murder is the first in a series that feature Erica Coleman as a private eye. In fact, the next two books in the Erica Coleman series have already been accepted. In future books Erica continues ferreting out clues, and annoying people with her OCD even though it helps her pick out clues that others miss. At times, Erica will be in danger, and have to work to overcome her fears as she works to uncover the murderer.
Also, I hope to do a sequel to my non-fiction book, Gaze Into Heaven, which was published earlier this year. Gaze into Heaven is a collection of 50 near-death experiences in early Church History. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from readers, and that has been very encouraging.
What would you like your readers to get out of your writing?
First, I want readers to be entertained. That’s why, after all, people read—to be entertained by an engaging story. Second, I like to explore specific problems, such as in relationships or moral issues, the kind of thing all of us face. In Light on Fire Island, I had the main character deal with a fractured relationship with her father. She felt he didn’t love her, but he was just a crusty old sailor who didn’t deal well with relationships. They both needed to learn to forgive and accept others for what they are. InMotive for Murder, there is conflict between Wendy and her teenage daughter, Megan. So often teenagers think the world revolves around them. But we also see things from Megan’s point of view and come to understand why and how Megan feels that her mother’s actions indicate a lack of caring toward her children. It’s interesting to see how each person sees the same thing differently and each character has valid points.
Where can we purchase your book?
Seagull Book: Available on CD and paperback.
Amazon: Available on Kindle, and paperback.
Deseret Book: Available as Ebook, CD, or paperback.