blog » December 18, 2017 by Nicole DeAvilla

Author Nancy Dafoe on Writing & Her New Murder Mystery Novel, "You Enter a Room" by Nicole DeAvilla

6 years ago
Author Nancy Dafoe on Writing & Her New Murder Mystery Novel, "You Enter a Room"

This week we are thrilled to welcome #30Seconds contributor Nancy Dafoe as our Twitter chat guest. Nancy has six published books and has earned multiple national awards for her writing. She writes across genres, including a memoir, book of poetry, education and writing help books. "You Enter a Room" is her first published novel, a murder mystery with a number of genre-bending twists. She just found out that the second novel in the series, "Both End in Speculation," also will be published. This former educator is now a full-time writer and talked with us about authoring this novel, and writing in general!

Q: How did you get started on creating a murder mystery?

I was reading two novels by well-known authors and made a startling discovery. My mystery began with literature, not a crime. After getting excited about the dualism, I mentioned it to my daughter, who said, you have to write what people want to read. My daughter said, “Write a murder mystery,” so I built the murder mystery around the concept of literary dualism.

Q: Do you create a graphic organizer to keep track of all of the clues in the novel?

I started with a scene and then wrote a chapter before going back to create a visual organizer of characters and clues. When you have something as intricate as a mystery, you need to be able to support revelations with evidence. Graphic organizers are helpful and creating one caused me to follow through and not leave unresolved aspects to the story. Although there is no one right way to create any work of fiction, certainly, advance planning helps a great deal.

Q: You write across multiple genres. Why do you write so many different types of work?

I write what compels me, hence multiple genres. Perhaps I’m intrigued by a political situation, then I write a blog. If an idea stays with me for a while, I know I have to address it in whatever genre feels right for the material. Because I write across genres, I’m never at a loss for projects. If I’m stalled on one, I move to another. I also love the challenges presented by writing in various mediums and structures or vessels.

Q: What is your favorite murder mystery? What is the best mystery you have read?

My favorite mystery is Dostoyevsky’s classic, "Crime and Punishment." Also loved, popular fiction writer Dan Brown’s "DaVinci Code." Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books are must reads. Agatha Christie, Dashiell HammettMichael Chabon also great. There are many great mysteries, both contemporary and classic. John LeCarre, Ishiguro’s “When We Were Orphans.” I’d also have to mention greats Joseph Conrad’s work and Umberto Eco’s, “The Name of the Rose.” Stieg Larsson novels. I love Graham Greene’s style in his mysteries, as well as Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl.” Although I follow the murder mystery formula, I’m also apt to want to tinker with aspects and appreciate other writers who do.

Q: What is the most difficult aspect of writing a murder mystery novel?

The most difficult aspect is keeping track of the interconnections of characters as they reveal clues to solving the mysteries. It is also difficult to provide clues for the reader without them being too obvious but still discernible. It is difficult to adhere to some of the formulas of the genre when my tendency moves toward the poetic or more ambiguous. Another difficulty of writing a mystery is making sure not to leave any red herrings unless deliberately planted.

Q: Are you writing a series or is “You Enter a Room” a stand-alone murder mystery?

I planned for a three-book series with the protagonist, a young woman graduate student, discovering clues through intuition. I have already written the second book in the series, and it is titled "Both End in Speculation," a quotation from Keats. Planning to have my character move through three books gave me time and space to develop her in intriguing ways.

Q: How can we get your book?

You can order my novel, "You Enter a Room,” through or through or ebooks directly through the publisher Rogue Phoenix Press online. I hope Barnes & Noble book stores in certain areas will carry my book, too, particularly Syracuse and Ithaca, N.Y., stores.

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Elisa Schmitz
So excited to chat with you about your awesome new book, Nancy Dafoe ! Thank you for sharing with us!
Nancy Dafoe
Thank you Elisa. Looking forward to our dialogue about writing a mystery as You Enter a Room! #30Seconds
Nicole DeAvilla
I read the synopsis and I can't wait to read it and get the behind the scene scoop from you, Nancy Dafoe on Wednesday. I am wondering what motivated you to come up with that plot?
Nancy Dafoe
I can't wait for our exchange about writing and, in particular, what led to writing a murder mystery! Thanks, Nicole. #30Seconds
Meredith Schneider
Oh so can’t wait! New goal for ME in 2018 is to do more recreational reading as a new kind of ME time 😊 Nancy Dafoe, I’ll start with your books!
Grace Babcock
I'll be there for the chat!

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