Friday, August 10, 2012


Ever say that about someone? Sure - you meet a person who immediately impresses you (good or bad) with their personality. In a cozy mystery the main characters must have memorable qualities if readers want to spend precious time reading about them. Close your eyes and think for a moment (after you read the next sentence of course)! What characters stand out in your mind the most? I thought of Jessica Fletcher, Miss Jane Marple and Sherlock Holmes right off the bat. Who did you think of?
     Now why are they so memorable? Maybe because the authors had total freedom to create whoever they wanted to, while we mere mortals for the most part are just ordinary everyday people. But the characters we've thought of aren't ordinary, right? Let's take a look at what makes them memorable.
     Jessica Fletcher is a mystery writer, widowed, lives in Cabot Cove, Maine and doesn't drive. Miss Jane Marple is a pink little old maiden aunt with an uncanny ability to observe and analyze criminals and the crimes they commit while knitting booties for babies. And Sherlock Holmes must be the biggest character of all (seconded only by Hercule Poirot). Mr. Holmes is eccentric, outspoken, a genius in the power of deductive reasoning and terribly unsociable. Memorable. And take my protagonist Jillian Bradley and her little Yorkie companion Teddy.       
    Jillian writes a syndicated garden column, loves fine art and serves afternoon tea to her friends while she helps investigators solve homicides. She's a childless widow who's husband died a hero in the war in Vietnam so she's all alone. Well, almost...I created a companion for her, a tiny Yorkie I  named Teddy so she wouldn't be so lonely. He becomes her sleuth dog in the stories by using his uncanny instincts to sniff out clues. 
    I created the character of Cecilia Chastain, a young quick-witted hotel housekeeper working her way through college who becomes Jillian's personal assistant and Teddy's sitter when Jillian travels. You'll have to read the series to learn more about Walter, Jillian's garden club friends and Jillian's love interests.
    So when you think of characters, who are some of your favorites and what makes them memorable? And if you could  change places with any of your favorites, who would it be? 

Free (A $2.99 Value!)

If you'd like to read about Jillian and her friends, "Murder in Half Moon Bay" is free this weekend on
So please pick up a copy! My treat.


And don't forget to try Traci's new recipe for Huckleberry Duff in our Cozy Kitchen. My mouth is watering!


Have a lovely weekend Cozy Lovers!

Nancy Jill Thames is the author of the Jillian Bradley Mysteries - stories often set in exclusive hotels and resorts, based on real life travel adventures with her husband of 44 years. Her mysteries incorporate her love of afternoon tea, which has earned her the title of “Queen of Afternoon Tea.” She holds a music degree from UT Austin and lives in Leander, Texas where she is a member of the Leander Writers Guild. She has won awards for her blogs,  a pie contest for her Chip Chocolate Cream Pie, and has been on the Author Watch Bestseller List numerous times. Nancy Jill is busy working on book 6 Waiting for Santa, a murder mystery taking place on Christmas Eve near Jillian Bradley’s home in Clover Hills.

To check out her books, Murder in Half Moon Bay, The Ghost Orchid Murder, From the Clutches of Evil, The Mark of Eden, and Pacific Beach, please visit the Cozy Book Store and her blogs: 

Cozy Mystery Author, Nancy Jill Thames

"Queen of Afternoon Tea"Celebrity Author Interivews


  1. I agree. The key to creating memorable characters is to craft them with foibles and quirks--a little off center or off key. A sleuth should be someone who either stumbles onto a mystery and is transformed by the relentless pursuit of the truth or is a character who feels a bit alienated from other people because they seem to notice things other people don't. They fit in with everyone else, but they don't quite fall into the same patterns. Melting into a crowd would be easy, but there would be an open-eyed intent, akin to that of the villain. I love that about sleuths!

    1. I see what you mean. Fascinating subject isn't it? The way we invent individuals with whatever we design their nature to be to me is the hardest part of writing a novel.

      ~Nancy Jill

  2. Great post and reply by Linda. Love the hat Jill!

    Debbie Malone
    "Death in Dahlonega"

    1. Thanks Debbie,

      The hat is a great way to hide a bad hair day!

      ~Nancy Jill


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