by Sara Hill
A great writer finds inspiration just about anywhere, and their creative mind draws on everyday places and experiences for stories that entertain readers again and again.
Brecksville resident Constance “Connie” Laux, known for donning several pen names depending on the book, is one such writer. Next month, the second title in her “Love Is Murder” series will be released.
Once again set in idyllic Tinker’s Creek, a fictional town based on Peninsula, “Murder of a Mail-Order Bride” follows the adventures of romance bookshop owner Lizzie Hale, who finds herself entwined in murder mysteries in her quaint town. The first book in the series, “Death of a Red-Hot Rancher,” was released in 2021.
Laux writes the “Love Is Murder” series under the pseudonym Mimi Granger. Her other pseudonyms include Kylie Logan (the Jazz Ramsey mysteries), Casey Daniels (the Pepper Martin mysteries), Lucy Ness (the Haunted Mansion Mystery series), Miranda Bliss (the Cooking Class Mystery series), Zoe Daniels (the Year of the Cat series), and several versions of her first name including Connie Deka, Connie Lane and Connie Laux (the Blood Moon series).
She has penned more than 60 books in her 30-year career and worked in the corporate world of writing before turning to fiction in the 1980s.
“My first book, ‘Twilight Secrets,’ a historical romance, was published in 1992,” Laux said. “Once my kids were born, I decided to give it a try and I just started writing.”
Her kick-start into fiction quickly proved successful. Using Cleveland neighborhoods for inspiration, Laux found her niche with writing mysteries, incorporating her love of research, old cemeteries, archives, the paranormal and family roots, according to her website, mystery-book-series.com. Her love of who-done-it stories stems from growing up with a father who worked as a detective for the Cleveland Police and often spent his days off driving around with young Laux, imparting his knowledge of Cleveland’s various neighborhoods.
“Ideas come from all over the place,” Laux said of her ideas for mystery stories. “It could be from something I see on TV, a conversation I overhear, or something I learn while doing research, like maybe I come across a kernel of information and I think, ‘Oh! That would be a great idea for a book!’”
Laux said her idea for the Pepper Martin Mysteries came from a job interview she had for a part-time job as a tour guide at Lake View Cemetery.
“As I leaving the interview – I didn’t get the job – I was looking around and I must have gotten ten ideas for books,” she said. “It’s different every time.”
The Pepper Martin Mysteries follow the story of sassy, chic Pepper Martin, who after finding herself penniless, takes the only job she can get – working as a tour guide in a local, historical cemetery. Martin discovers she can speak to the dead and goes about solving mysteries for them.
A different writing style comes along with each of Laux’s various pen names and series. Pseudonym Casey Daniels is more tongue-in-cheek and Lucy Ness is warm and light-hearted, while Kylie Logan takes on more serious and somber writing with realistic plotlines.
Mimi Granger, Laux’s pen name for the “Love Is Murder” Mystery Series, is a “cozy mystery” centered on an amateur sleuth and her attempts at solving local crimes in her small town.
Laux’s books, available in both electronic and print versions, can be found on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, indiebound.org and in several local bookstores including The Learned Owl Book Shop in Hudson and Loganberry Books in Cleveland.
“When I get an idea, I play with it for a while, and I sit at my computer and just start a stream of consciousness. I’m a plotter – I will plot a book very thoroughly,” Laux said of her work. “I have a 45-page outline for the next book I’m working on. Not all of it is useable of course, but when you’re writing mysteries, all of the pieces have to come together, and all of the loose ends have to be tied up. Outlining helps with that investigation.”
Laux will debut a new historical mystery in February 2023 and will be present at the Buckeye Book Fair set for Nov. 5 at the Greystone Event Center in Wooster.
Learn more about Connie Laux at mystery-book-series.com. ∞