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Leslie Keller on Writing her Experiences

Today we have joining us Leslie Keller who writes the Jayne Stanford cozy series set in Cave Creek, Arizona. Jayne is a waitress and Leslie will explain how that part happened.

Photo of Leslie Keller, author of the Jayne Stanford series of cozy mysteries
Leslie Keller

I am often asked what motivates me to write. The answer to that is in part due to my best friend, Julie who I met when I worked in the restaurant business. It’s been twenty-three years but when I’m with her we never stop laughing about our adventures in serving. Even today, she continues to regale me with new restaurant stories. A few years ago, I knew I wanted to create a character partially based on her and partially out of my imagination. Thankfully, Julie has never been accused of nor involved in a murder in any way, but I occasionally still jot down some of the zanier things which happen to her in a typical night at the restaurant. In my writing I try to find a way to incorporate actual events into the story in order to make the characters relatable.

Writing a murder mystery requires a substantial amount of research. As an author, I need to determine if the method of murder is realistic, while at the same time as a cozy mystery writer, not making it too gruesome or graphic for my readers. While murder is serious topic, my goal is to take a lighter approach with a bit of humor.  In my books I intersperse Jayne’s personality with situations in which she must use all her skills to come out on top, then add a dash of romance and the help of her friends and you have a recipe for more than mystery.

Cover art for the second Jayne Stanford mystery, Cocktails at Sunset

In the upcoming book, No Reservations, Jayne gets the chance to go on a girlfriend getaway with her best friend, Bailey. Of course, there will be a dead body – maybe even two!  In this case, I again use personal experiences and try to weave them into fiction. The third book in the series diverges from the norm in that Jayne is out of her comfort zone physically as well as emotionally.  It’s important to me that Jayne doesn’t just solve mysteries but that she grows as a person despite the pandemonium in her life.

I hope my readers come to love Jayne as much as I do when I write her. Sometimes, she surprises me in what she does but I like to think that it’s her decision in which direction the story goes.

Thanks, Leslie, for sharing. Both Jayne Sanford Mysteries are available through Amazon: Menu for Murder and Cocktails at Sunset. You can find out more about Leslie on her website:

Please talk to me. I'd love to hear from you.

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