Get ready to learn more about the book Heart of Murder in this discussion with sapphic author Edale Lane.
Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Edale Lane about Heart of Murder, writing, reading, and more.
This book is part of the Valentine’s Romance category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.
Why did you write Heart of Murder?
After being amazed by the reception of the first books in this series, I was compelled to continue growing the relationship between the main characters while creating new mysteries to solve. Being book four, I felt it was time for a little competition and an emotional dilemma for Jenna by bringing her ex into the picture. Also, Byron (Randi’s German shepherd) was asking for a bigger role, so he gets to help solve the murder this time. Also, since the entire plot revolves around Valentine’s Day, a February release was in order.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
I love both Jenna and Randi. They are quite different in most regards, but they both have big hearts and care about helping and protecting others. Randi, the tall, karate-kicking, spiritual-practicing teacher, is based on me. So I guess that means I love Jenna, the hot-tempered, sexy, in-charge detective who learns something new about herself and life in every installment.
What part of Heart of Murder was the most fun to write?
Writing the dog’s role in helping solve the murder was very fun because I love dogs and used to have a German Shepherd on whom Byron is based. True story: my big, beautiful shepherd was scary-looking but the sweetest dog ever who only loved everyone. But one day while sitting on the sidelines watching my son’s baseball game, some guy walked by that she didn’t like. She went on full alert and a deep, intimidating growl rolled out of her chest. She pointed and woofed for him to be gone. I remember the guy glanced over his hunched shoulders as he hurried by with a mean look in his eyes. Did he have drugs on him? A gun? We never found out, but my dog knew something was off about him.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Taking a cue from J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series, all the books in the Lessons in Murder series have “Murder” in the title. Because of multiple implications – the Valentine’s Day connection, the motive behind the murder, and Jenna’s decision of the heart between her first love and her current relationship with Randi – “Heart of Murder” fit the bill and really encapsulates the whole of the story.
If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?
There are many sequels; Jump on the train and enjoy the ride. Book 8, Cold in Murder, is coming soon!
What is your favorite line from your book?
I’ve included a line or two before to give the exclamation context, but it’s the last line in this quote: Jenna pushed off from her, her head reeling from the triggering kiss. “No.” She let go of Tori’s uniform and tried to organize her thoughts. “I haven’t heard a word from you in eight years. You don’t get to just walk in here and… and… kiss me!”
Do you have a pet who helps/hinders your typing?
Piper! My tiny, lovable, pesty Havanese. As I writing sitting in my recliner chair, footrest up, she lies on my feet or snuggles at my side by my laptop. Sometimes a paw or ear flops onto the keyboard and a string of ++++ or 6666 darts across my document. But when she’s tired of lying still (which happens often) she shifts into play mode and pesters me jumping up and down barking or dragging shoes into the room to toss in the air. She wants her time, too, which is forgivable. She also inspired a main character in a book I recently finished that won’t be out until 2025. Don’t worry; I’ll remind you.
What are three words that describe your personality?
1. Nerdy. I was the smart girl in school, voted most intellectual by my peers. I love everything Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. I research EVERYTHING and never want to stop learning. Oh, yeah, and let’s not forget the glasses.
2. Kind. Anyone who knows me will tell you so. I go by the motto, “If you can’t say or do something nice, don’t say or do it at all.” It gives me pleasure to make others happy, see to their needs first, and lend a helping hand whenever possible. This applies to people and animals alike.
3. Patient. Maybe it comes with age or wisdom, but I have learned the value of patience, especially in dealing with people. I believe in taking time to enjoy the journey; the destination will still be there when we arrive.
What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?
Getting feedback from my partner, friends, and beta readers has been of tremendous help to my writing. Distractions hinder me the most. If I could just lock myself away in a room with no people or pets, e-mails or Facebook, just me and my laptop, I could probably finish a book a week instead of it taking two months. Ideas flow to me like water over Niagara Falls, but all the day-to-day responsibilities and people get in the way. Then again, what kind of life would that be? I may be a driven author, but I’m also part of a family and community, and becoming a hermit was never my goal. So, I’ll take the distractions to remain engaged with the rest of the world; just keep them to a minimum, please.
Do you feel bad putting your characters through the wringer?
I don’t feel bad putting my characters through trials and heartaches because I write HEA books. They need challenges so they can grow and everything will work out in the end. However, thus far there has been one exception. I felt bad for Stetson in Daunting Dilemmas. It’s hard to describe without giving a spoiler, but I was left with no logical choice but to kill off a character she was extremely fond of. That was agonizing to write.
What books have you read more than once in your life?
When I was an over-the-road truck driver, I listened to a lot of audiobooks, and often re-experienced the same books several times. Two examples in particular are J.D. Robb and Brandon Sanderson. I have almost the entire “In Death” mystery series and I’ve listened to them over and over. The first time to see if I could predict who did it; subsequent times to learn from best-selling Nora Roberts how to craft a modern detective story. One of my favorite series of all time is Brandon Sanderson’s “Mistborn”. I must have relived those books many times. He is such a marvelous world creator and his novels have such depth. I aspire to write stories that will stay with people, that they’ll be inspired anew by them time after time.
Do you only read books in one genre or do you genre hop?
I’m an eclectic reader, and while I have favorite genres, I’ve been known to hop around. My favorites are mysteries, historical action fiction, and well-conceived fantasy novels. But I also like romance – just not the angsty, stupid ones where nothing happens but these two people fighting their feelings for each other. Sometimes I get lost in sci-fi stories, but I love ones that don’t stray too far into the mind-boggling weirdness realms. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a fun romcom and I also enjoy beautiful prose and heart-touching literary fiction. Now, I don’t write these myself, but doesn’t everyone occasionally pull that special erotica out from under their mattress and reread their favorite scenes?