I Saw What I Saw follows a sharp crime reporter who finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery that the police don’t want to solve. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
First, my wife is Nigerian and we have two boys together. I was really impacted by the call for criminal justice reform in America, especially after the tragic death of George Floyd. I wanted to say something about this injustice without being preachy. I really feel like books should be fun to read, so I wanted to craft a tale that talked about a tough issue but injected a lot of over-the-top humor. Second, I am a journalist by trade that wrote creatively in High School and College. I needed to write creatively again and tap into that part of who I am again.
Sheila Sammartino is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?
As I noted, I am a journalist, so I gave her my profession. I wanted to write about something I really know about. In terms of her character development and traits, I wanted her to be likeable and relatable and still have quirks. I hope the reader will leave the book both rooting for and laughing with Sheila. I wanted to create a group of unique people that you long to follow and see what mayhem they are getting themselves into next.
The mystery at the heart of this novel was intriguing. Did you plan it beforehand or did the mystery develop organically while writing?
Both actually. I had the murder clearly defined in my head and I knew who the murderer was going to be and how Sheila was going to figure it out in the end. Going into writing the book I had a sense of who the other suspects would be and who the supporting characters would be, but elements of the journey evolved organically as I fleshed out the full story. It was a truly creative process that I really enjoyed.
This is book one in A Harmony Neighborhood Cozy Mystery series. What can readers expect in book two?
The reader can expect a lot more romance and humor. The romance between Reggie and Sheila is just getting started and there are a lot more twists and turns to come. The reader can also expect more social commentary combined with the comic hijinks. These characters are going to grow and evolve in fun ways that hopefully keep the reader engaged and wondering what happens next.
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