Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Terrie Farley Moran on 'Murder, She Wrote'

LUCY BURDETTE: When I noticed that my Facebook friend Terrie Moran had been chosen to continue the long-running series MURDER SHE WROTE, I figured there was a story the Reds would love to hear. Terrie will be stopping by to answer comments and questions--I know I have some... So welcome Terrie, and take it away!



TERRIE FARLEY MORAN: Nearly twenty years ago, my BFF, who for many years lived less than two miles from my front door in New York City, moved to a tiny town in South Carolina. We visited back and forth and took family vacations together but I still miss walks in the park on weekend mornings filled with gossip and laughter, shopping together for clothes and eating in our favorite places: breakfast in Slims on the service road of the Long Island Expressway, not to mention lunches and dinners in Cara Mia on Hillside Avenue.

So in 2019 when I was asked to participate in a wonderful event called Mystery in the Midlands that was taking place in—wait for it—Columbia, South Carolina, I called my BFF and said, “Want to hang out in Columbia for a few days?”


She, of course, had been to Columbia dozens of times but I was a newby, so we arrived early and roamed. One of the first things that caught my eye was a marquee opposite our hotel. It was a long red banner with gold letters, S. H. KRESS, which immediate launched memories of the Kress five and ten on Fordham Road in The Bronx where I used to buy popcorn on the way to the movies. I was surprised to learn it was actually the Cowboy Brazilian Steak House located in a former Kress five and dime. The entrance to the steak house is on Main Street but they left the side entrance, on Hampton Street, just as it was, banner and all! 


Driving along the next day, we came upon Busted Plug Plaza which boasts the tallest fire hydrant in the world. It stands forty feet tall and weighs more than six hundred thousand pounds. See for yourself. Author Kaye George was kind enough to take a picture of BFF and me standing in front of the hydrant.

I had such a great time on that trip that when I was asked to become the next writer of the Murder She Wrote series, I knew instantly that the first place I wanted Jessica to visit was Columbia, South Carolina. And so she did in Murder, She Wrote Killing in a Koi Pond. 

To celebrate that Murder, She Wrote Killing in a Koi Pond is available for folks to read, I am offering a copy to one commenter. In addition, this year’s Mystery in the Midlands featuring Kathy Reichs of Bones fame along with other talented mystery writers, took place this past weekend. I have a ticket that will access the video of the entire event for a second commenter.


So, if you were writing a Murder, She Wrote novel what location would you chose? (Spoiler alert: the next book Murder, She Wrote Debonair in Death takes place in Cabot Cove.)


Book description: 

After traveling to Bethesda for a mystery writers’ conference, Jessica Fletcher decides she’s earned a vacation and takes a train to Columbia, South Carolina, to visit her old college friend Dolores, who has recently married her third husband, Willis Nickens, a wealthy and cutthroat businessman. They’ve moved into an opulent historic home with plenty of space for guests, and Jessica is ready for a week of shopping, gossiping, and relaxing at the grand estate.

But the morning after she arrives, Jessica discovers Willis facedown in the koi pond, and despite what the police think, she’s sure foul play is involved. She hadn’t known Willis long, but it’s clear to her that he didn’t concern himself with making friends. The question isn’t if her friend’s husband was murdered but by whom.



BIO: Terrie Farley Moran is co-author, along with Jessica Fletcher, of the Murder, She Wrote series. Murder, She Wrote Killing in a Koi Pond (June 2021) will be followed by Murder, She Wrote Debonair in Death (November 2021). She is the author of the beachside Read 'Em and Eat cozy novels, and is co-author of Laura Childs’ scrapbooking mysteries. Her short mystery fiction has been published in numerous venues. Terrie is a recipient of both the Agatha and the Derringer awards. Find her online at www.terriefarleymoran.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/terriefarleymoran/ 

79 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Terrie . . . I loved “Murder in a Koi Pond” . . . now I’m looking forward to reading “Debonair in Death.”

    Oh, there are so many intriguing locations for Jessica to go sleuthing . . . if I were writing a "Murder, She Wrote" novel, I think I’d send her to Chincoteague Island . . . .

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    1. Thanks Joan, I hope you enjoy Debonair as well! Chincoteague Island would drive spellcheck crazy!!!

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    2. Joan, I agree! My family has been vacationing there for around thirty years. It’s a great place for a mystery!

      DebRo

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  2. It's fun to hear why Jessica went there - and visited a friend, too. I enjoyed the book when I read it earlier this month.

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  3. I love this story, Terrie! You could always send Jessica to Cape Cod.

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  4. Welcome to JRW, Terrie and congratulations on your Murder, She Wrote books. My biggest question is about what goes into taking a well-known and much loved character and making her yours. The television personification of that character will exist in reruns for a very long time. Tell us how you did it.

    As to a location for the next mystery, is there somewhere you've always wanted to visit? I see research in your future!

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    1. Research and locations! Right now I am writing MSW Killer on the Court and it takes place in NYC where I have lived my entire life and still I have to research! And you are correct, Jessica Fletcher is extremely well known. The television series is broadcast all over the world every day and of course the books are available in every bookshop and library. I did not view this as an opportunity to "make Jessica mine" but rather as a responsibility to have Jessica be herself. It happens I know her extremely well since i have been a fan since 1984.

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  5. congratulations on continuing Jessica Fletcher's legacy! So many places to visit, Stateside and abroad. I have a feeling a visit to Ireland may be in Jessica's future.

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    1. Margaret, did you read the sticky note on the front of my printer that says "Book 4, Northern Ireland ???" I am not sure yet, but that is definitely in my head!

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    2. no, I missed the sticky note (Jessica wouldn't). Northern Ireland has so much potential. Rose gardens in Belfast, Bushmill's distillery, Giant's Causeway, Titanic Museum. Go for it!

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    3. The first time I was there we were surrounded by barbed wire everywhere and there were British soldiers armed with machine guns standing on stanchions as tall as streetlights all around the streets of Belfast. And I cried at the wall in Derry. The last time I visited all the places you mention (except Bushmills) with my grandchildren in tow! A joyful trip! How times change!

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  6. The program for Murder in the Midlands sounded really good, but I had a conflict. Nice to know that it is still available.

    I have the same questions as Judy, plus, how many authors have written this series now? It seems to me you may be the third?

    Location: Hartford, Connecticut, around the Mark Twain House.

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    1. Well, if Terrie comes to Hartford for research, I'll take her out to lunch!

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    2. I'll meet you down there, Judy! (Two-hour drive...)

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    4. Edith, you are cordially invited to lunch and we will meet in person! 2 hours!

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  7. Hi Karen, Murder it the Midlands was lovely. I only was able to see two segments but I hope to catch up with the rest over the weekend!! I answered Judy above re: Jessica and me. I am the third author to write the series. Donald Bain wrote the first 46, some with an assist from his wife, Renee. He became ill during the writing of book 47 and Jon Land completed that book and wrote books 48-52. I came in at book number 53 and am contracted to write up to and including book 56. The Mark Twain House in Hartford! Who knew? Thank you.

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    1. It's a gorgeous Victorian pile, with Twain's writing room on the third floor. There's a beautiful billiard table, and a balcony from which he would smoke cigars. Perfect place for a murder!

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  8. Congratulations Terri!
    Your writing is very creative and intriguing. The locale of Upstate New York. The Adirondacks.

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  9. Thanks so much. Good thought. I almost set a cozy series in the Adirondacks once--and then I got distracted!!

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  10. Congratulations, Terrie! I can’t wait to visit the Murder She Wrote books with you and Jessica. I think Jessica needs to go west and visit the cozy California beach town of San Clemente. Hope I win a copy of your new book!

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    1. Thank you Jean. San Clemente--is that where the Nixon Library is? Hmmmm. Possiblities!

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  11. One of the first book festivals I went to was in Columbia, SC - I was smitten and have been back numerous times for various writing events. I agree, great setting for a mystery novel. As for me I want to set my next one in Brooklyn. My daughters live there and I fantasize about buying a brownstone together. I think I'll have to write it rather than live it.

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    1. Hallie, Brooklyn is awesome. So much history! So much diversity! And the brownstones!! Ah, I would have to win the lottery!

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  12. I can picture Jessica Fletcher in Williamsburg, Virginia - I'm sure she could find a great mystery there, or maybe in nearby Jamestown. Congratulations on your continuing this great series, and I'm really looking forward to reading Killing in a Koi Pond.

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    1. Thanks Celia, and Williamsburg and Jamestown are terrific suggestions. Think of the history that could be woven into the crime!

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  13. Looking forward to reading! Congratulations, Terrie! Sounds like a fun location.

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  14. And I'm a huge fan of Jessica Fletcher - congratulations Terrie! What a sweet gig!! One of my early thrills as a writer was meeting Thomas B. Sawyer who was head writer for the series. Such a nice guy. And of course the series gave birth to what writers refer to as the "Cabot Cove syndrome" - a small town with an unusually high death rate. But I think that predictability is part of what people love about the series.. and because the characters are so great they suspend disbelief.

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    1. How nice you met Thomas Sawyer! I agree with you both the television series and the books are character driven.

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  15. Welcome to Jungle Reds, Terri!

    If I was writing Murder, She Wrote, I would pick Ashland, Oregon as a location because of the Shakespeare Festival and Jessica Fletcher was a teacher before she retired.

    Diana

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    1. Oooohhhh. That is a great idea! Thank you!

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    2. Love that. Look forward to reading your book.

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  16. As a long time resident of Maine, I don't need to make suggestions for where Jessica should go. We've already got Cabot Cove. My one request to Terrie would be that the Sun never sets into the ocean, as it did sometimes in the old TV series. :-D

    Actually, if Jessica is going to Malice Domestic (I think we all know what conference happens in Bethesda) she should also attend Crime Bake in Massachusetts!

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    1. Hi Julia, no sunsets in the ocean! Got it! And Crime Bake is a natural! Thank you!

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  17. Oh no! Please don’t let Jessica attend Malice! I’ll be looking around and wondering which of us going to keel over and which of us did it

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    1. You will be safe, I promise! The book opens after Jessica leaves Malice and she only talks about how much fun she had! The dead body comes much later!

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  18. This is SO fantastic! Standing ovation! (And Terrie, this is the most wonderful thing..you are so perfect for this.) And OF COURSE! GOT to come to CrimeBake! That would be completely wonderful. We'll have a dinner party, and ...well, maybe not. :-) But DO come!

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  19. Send her somewhere in Ohio--Antioch, Athens, Granville, Miami--any small college town--a friend is up for tenure/having a college reunion/whatever--and Jessica's invited because something smells somewhere. Lots of history and intrigue in Ohio's small towns/cities!

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    1. Flora, that is a great idea. I have only visited Ohio once and that was for Bouchercon Cleveland many years ago. College towns! Lots of possibilities!

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  20. I'd really like to see her visit Germany. I was also surprised she never went to Ireland in the books, considering how often it was featured on the show.

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    1. Hi Alicia! Germany! Such an interesting country! I also agree about Ireland! Oh so many choices.

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  21. Congratulations on the book! If I could fly over to Italy and do some research, I'd set a book there. Great excuse for a vacation.

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    1. Riley, I have a granddaughter who visited Italy and loved it. I suspect you are right,it would make a great setting.

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  22. First, I have to say that Terrie Moran is one of the nicest people on the planet. Terrie, I'm thrilled for you at landing the Jessica Fletcher series. It is in such capable hands. I haven't read Killing in a Koi Pond yet, but I have it on order from Murder by the Book. They're waiting on another book to be signed before they send the order on.

    I think Ireland is a natural pick for Murder She Wrote, as you are so familiar with it and love it so.

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    1. Hi Kathy, thank you for your kind words. Ireland has been on my mind, especial Northern Ireland since on the tv show, best I can recall, Jessica has only visited the Republic of Ireland. I hope you enjoy Koi Pond. And I hope your new pup is settling in happily!

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  23. Congratulations, Terrie! I can't wait to dip into Murder in the Koi Pond (as I have one of those!) As for an upcoming book location, I just have to throw in London, just because. If you set a book in Notting Hill I'll meet you there and act as tour guide!

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    1. Hi Deborah, an actual Koi Pond! So pretty. And London, such a grand city!

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  24. Congratulations, Terrie! I've not read the Murder She Wrote books although I was a huge fan of the series. I'll have to rectify that. If I were writing the next Jessica Fletcher book I'd take Jessica out of the mainland US and into the Caribbean islands. Either St. Eustatius a/k/a Statia or Saba would be great choices. Just like Cabot Cove, but tropical :)

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    1. Wow Kait! You named an island I never heard of. You know that will be on my "investigate" list this evening if only because I am so nosy! Thanks so much.

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  25. Congratulations, Terri! I've always enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, both on TV and also in print. I would like to see Jessica Fletcher solving a mystery on Mackinac Island maybe while she's staying at the Grand Hotel.

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    1. Now that does sound like an enticing mystery location. Thank you!!

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  26. Hi, Terrie! So great to see you here! I had so much fun at our virtual MBTB event! Soooo looking forward to your take on MSW! Woo hoo!

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    1. Hi Jenn, So great to be here and to "see' you again!

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  27. Congratulations, Terrie! We visited Columbia years ago when our son was at Ft Jackson for basic training and his first MOS. I think Jessica should travel to Galveston Island next. Good food, lots of haunts, interesting history. You could even throw in a hurricane or tropical storm!

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  28. Hi Pat, first off, thanks to your son for his service and to your family for giving him love and support. Galveston Island sounds inviting. Hurricanes, now there is a thought. When my daughter who lives in Florida had her children I spent a lot of time visiting and helping. And the hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005 were two summers I will never forget!!

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  29. I love Murder She Wrote and have for years. I think I might enjoy having Jessica visit Minneapolis,Minnesota. I live there so it would be fun to read about her sleuthing here, maybe a murder at the Mall of America.

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    1. Oh my Kathy, the mystery community conference Bouchercon is going to be held in Minneapolis in September 2022!! Right now I am planning to attend, especially since my pal Laura Childs lives nearby! Never thought of it for a murder site but--you never know!

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  30. Congrats, Terrie! What an honor! I only read a few of the books, since I watched a lot of the original TV series years ago. MSW was one of my mom's favorite shows, and we watched many reruns together. She thought of Jessica as so wonderful, like one of her friends, and would always comment on Jessica's beautifully put-together outfits, and I made sure I put the TV on that channel for her when it was on some afternoons and then every night she'd watch it in bed before going to sleep. I can't think of too many well-known places Jessica didn't travel to, but maybe Kenya or somewhere interesting in South Africa would be fun. Doesn't matter, I'm sure you'll do a wonderful job!

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    1. Oh Lynn, what wonderful memories of your mother. Kenya is an exotic idea. Thank you for your kind words.

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  31. I loved Murder She Wrote and probably watched all the episodes. The novel that I read was based on an episode so I never read more when they started original stories. I like your books so will look for the Jessica Fletchers that you write. How about Central PA. We have Gettysburg and the Civil War Museum on one side and Amish Country on the other with Hersheypark in the middle. Chocolate, need I say more. Thanks for the chance.

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  32. I loved Murder She Wrote. Jessica Fletcher was my hero. Good luck to you Terrie. Congratulations!

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    1. Hi Barbara, We share similar feelings about Jessica. Thanks so much for your good wishes!!!

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  33. I love the Murder She Wrote books and have read all of them so I'm happy to hear there is a new one out! I think I love them so much because my mom and I enjoyed the TV show and the books together. Hmmm, in a future book she could come out to Southern California! I'd be happy to become a fictional distant relative and have Jessica Fletcher visit and of course solve a murder while she is here! Congratulations and the best to you, Terrie!

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    1. Hi G-J, What a nice memory of time with your mom! Thanks for your good wishes.

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  34. Hi Terrie! After I “met” you at the Palmetto Sisters in Crime zoom meeting, I pre-ordered “Killing in a Koi Pond.” I am now more than halfway through it, and I’m loving it! Ireland is my favorite place in the world… But I also think it would be cool if Jessica came to Colorado where I live now! We have the ski resorts, Rocky Mountain National Park, and beautiful Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Lots of God’s majestic nature out here… with plenty of high places for people to get thrown off of! 😁😉

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  35. Palmetto SinC meeting was terrific, wasn't it? So glad you are enjoying Koi Pond and while we agree on Ireland, you have made a fine case for Colorado!

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  36. GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED. Winners have been notified!! Thanks to one an all for participating. I hope you had as much fun as I did! Hugs to all!

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  37. And the winners have responded. Barbara Schlichting won the Mystery In The Midlands link. Kait Carson won the book. Congratulations to both!!

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