By Erica Christoffer, Multimedia Web Producer, REALTOR® Magazine
Vicki Doudera started gathering fodder for her mystery novels from day-one of her first real estate class back in 2003. Real estate intrigued and inspired her. She remembers sitting in the classroom, listening as the instructor discussed all the things that could go wrong in a transaction, while jotting down ideas in the margins of her paper. “Bludgeoned Buyers! Slaughtered Sellers!” And who would solve these crimes? Why, a savvy real estate agent, of course!
But before she put her pen-to-paper to tell the tales of suspense, murder, and real estate that danced in her head, Doudera got to work becoming a savvy real estate agent herself. A resident of mid-coast Maine since 1986 and a former inn owner, Doudera directed her skills and knowledge of the area to grow a successful business with Camden Real Estate as a broker and top-producer. She also wrote a book called Moving to Maine: The Essential Guide to Get You There and What You Need to Know to Stay (Down East Books, 2007).
In 2010 came her first novel, A House to Die For (Midnight Ink, 2010), which launched Doudera’s Darby Farr mystery series. Darby, the main character, is a vivacious real estate agent with a tragic past she is trying to leave behind in Maine. But she goes back to close a multimillion-dollar sale of a waterfront estate and ends up in the throes of a who-done-it murder after a man is found dead on the property.
Doudera’s second book in the series, Killer Listing (Midnight Ink, 2011), was released last April, which has Darby investigating a mysterious murder once again – this time a Florida broker who was in the fast-lane of multimillion-dollar listings, big-time commissions, and real estate deals (and love affairs) gone bad.
Doudera spoke with the Weekly Book Scan about Killer Listing and the Darby Farr series – including a sneak peek of Deadly Offer coming out this April.
What attracted you to the mystery genre? Continue reading »
By Erica Christoffer, Contributing Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
Real estate professional Regan McHenry is about to close on the house of her client’s dreams. But when the seller turns up dead, suspicions lead Regan to the center of a murder mystery. Nancy Kille, real estate practitioner turned mystery author, draws from her 20 years of experience for inspiration in The Death Contingency (Good Read Mysteries, 2008).
Kille, who writes as Nancy Lynn Jarvis, spoke to The Weekly Book Scan about her cliff-hanging mystery, and what it took for her to make the switch from real estate to writing.
Are you a fan of murder mysteries? What made you decide to write one?
KILLE: What started this whole thing is my mother-in-law, who lived in South Carolina, died a couple of years ago. We knew it was coming. We traveled there to spend some time with her before she died and we had to drive across country. So, to try and make my life easier, I started reading Tony Hillerman-a mystery writer who writes about a Navajo and the Big Reservation that comprises a large chunk of the southwest.
It was fun to be driving and noting, “oh, there’s a directional sign for something I’m reading about.” He uses the locations and he talks about the culture. By the time we got home, I was hooked. I read all of his books. He writes what are I call “cozy mysteries,” not full of graphic violence.
At the conclusion of that, I decided it would be a real hoot to try and write one.
How did the idea for The Death Contingency come about?
KILLE: Well, Tony Hillerman writes about where he lives and about something he knows well. So I decided to set my book in Santa Cruz, and decided I’d set it in the real estate community because there are so many interesting people and colorful people I have met in the course of being a REALTOR®. I drew on some of those stories.
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey
The Weekly Book Scan caught up with real estate pro and author Bente Gallagher (a.k.a. Jennie Bentley) to talk about her new novel, Fatal Fixer-Upper (Berkley Prime Crime, 2008), a do-it-yourself mystery centered around a renovation project. The book follows New Yorker Avery Baker, who inherits her aunt’s 1870s Victorian cottage in Waterfield, Maine. While she sets out to learn all about home renovation, she unravels family secrets with historical ties and clues to a missing professor in the area.
Bentley used her experience as a renovator and real estate professional in Nashville, Tenn., to write the fiction book, which is her first published novel. In November, the book was No. 11 on the Barnes & Noble bestseller list for paperback novels.
Bentley is willing to respond to any of your questions, so after you read the Q&A, be free to post a comment or question for her below.
Where did you get the idea for the novel?
BENTLEY: I had first written an unpublished book Cut Throat Business about a real estate agent when I was a new agent myself. Whenever I walked into empty houses, my vivid imagination would start going wild. I would open the door to an empty house – and I realized that anything could be in there—you never know what you were walking into. So for that book, I made it about a real estate agent who stumbles over a dead body in an empty house.
My agent started sending it around to publishers and it made it to Penguin. They liked it but they didn’t think a real estate topic would work for them. Their books are usually focused on crafts, hobbies, and activities.
Because of my bio as a real estate agent and renovator, they asked me to write a mystery series about a home renovator. Continue reading »
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey
The new fiction novel, Red Hot Property (Infinity Publishing, 2008), follows the adventures of four rookie real estate agents as they embark on their careers, juggling work demands and weaving their way through the mystery and danger that sometimes looms.
In recognition of REALTOR® Safety Week , which kicked off yesterday, we talk with the book’s author Devin O’Branagan, a real estate practitioner with ERA Tradewind in Longmont, Colo., about why she wrote the novel, which brings real estate safety to the forefront.
The book is a fictional account of real estate agents just starting out, but as you point out, the book is also a cautionary tale to those in the industry. What was that cautionary lesson that you wanted to get across to your peers?
O’BRANAGAN: One of my main reasons for writing this novel is the issue of safety. I hope this will shake up my fellow REALTORS® a bit and cause them to place a greater emphasis on safety. I see this all the time in our industry — and I’m guilty of this too: We take big risks in our job. I just think we’re too trusting. Every day we see real estate agents take some of the same risks of the characters in the book — we’re running out the door after a call to meet clients we don’t know in an area with no cell phone service.
I wanted to dramatize some of the dangers of our profession in the book because I thought it would have a much greater impact than a how-to list of safety tips. I long ago learned that people are often affected more emotionally by the dramatization of an event. If the reader came to care about these characters and then were blind-sided by what could happen, maybe they would suddenly realize that it could happen to them too.