There are a lot (a LOT) of interwoven character relationships in Dying Before “I Do”, and by that I mean people who have personal and/or professional pasts with each other. It adds subtle yet rich layers to the story (think filo dough in baklava – my favorite!), and are introduced at a rate that with enough support that they keep the story flow going. ~Back Porchervations
Love and murder: two words that should never go together. But when Jennifer and long-time beau Sam Culpepper finally decide to tie the knot, murder rears its ugly head to intervene. Now Jennifer has more to contend with than choosing colors and flowers for the most important day of her life. She and Sam must thwart whoever is bent on keeping the secrets of an old kidnapping case. One man is dead, and young reporter Teague McAfee is next in line. Jennifer finds herself embroiled in a twisty tale of love gone wrong, while dodging her friends who are determined to give Jennifer and Sam the perfect wedding.
Jennifer Marsh is a great character and she brings with her a story that will have you on the edge of your seat. With twist and turns that will have you wanting more. Jennifer wants the wedding of a lifetime and she is ready to do that with Sam but when murder gets in the way it takes a whole new twist to solve the case and save them from getting themselves killed too. Read this gripping novel and find out if they make it to the alter.
Jennifer Finally Says "I do"
When I sold DYING TO GET PUBLISHED, I thought it was going to be a stand-alone mystery. It was, after all, a pretty dark, although quite funny, look at the very difficult task of getting published by a New York publisher and the whole writing business. I actually did not think I would ever sell it. Ironically, it sold on its first outing to the head of the mystery department at Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, my dream publisher.
Since I thought the book would be a single title, the original manuscript had a different wrap-up. The epilog had Jennifer and love interest Sam married and Jennifer pregnant with Jaimie, the yet-to-be-conceived child that Jennifer talks to in the first couple of books. And that, I thought, would be that.
But the first question my editor asked before offering me a three-book contract was "Can you make this book into a series?" By that time I'd learned there was only one answer to any question that an editor interested in my work might ask. "Yes," I said confidently, having no idea whatsoever how I would do that. "By the way," he added, "you'll have to lose that epilog." A romantic interest was just fine as long as it wasn't the main focus of the book and Jennifer retained her unique character. My interpretation of his words was to keep Sam and Jennifer as far apart as possible for as long as possible, which I did. After all, these were two characters who had a lot to learn about each other and about life before they could successfully fall into the imperfect world of marriage.
So Jennifer and Sam went on six mystery adventures together through the series, unmarried and not even engaged. Just as Jennifer's fictional friends began to ask, "What the heck are the two of you waiting for?", I had to ask the same question. I could no longer think of any reason these two people shouldn't experience all the trials and joys of matrimony that people in their position would deal with, especially after the events in DYING TO GET HER MAN. Thus book seven in the series DYING BEFORE "I DO" was a natural progression. Continuing to ignore the evolution of their relationship over the books seemed silly. They needed to get married. As Jennifer's friend Leigh Ann says in Chapter 1 of "I DO", "You two are the slowest couple I've ever known. I mean really, Jen. Just get it over with. You've known each other for three years. How much more time do you need? If it doesn't work, get divorced like half the married couples in this country, but for goodness sakes put yourself, Sam, and the rest of us out of our misery. Just marry the guy."
And so I did just that—have Jennifer "marry the guy"—at the end of DYING BEFORE "I DO". It was a long time coming for both me as the author and for the readers, but I believe it was worth the wait. In solving their most recent mystery together they have become a bona fide team, both as sleuths and in life. I can't wait to see what their next adventures together will be.
About This Author
Judy Fitzwater is excited to have recently published the 7th book in her popular Jennifer Marsh Mystery Series–DYING BEFORE “I DO”! She has also just released THE ROCKY ROAD TO PUBLISHING: ADVICE ON WRITING, a fun, insider’s look at the world of writing and what it takes to be successful.
Judy grew up an Air Force brat and has lived in nine states, including Maine and Hawaii. Her first published mystery, DYING TO GET PUBLISHED, was plucked from a stack of unsolicited manuscripts at Ballantine Books. It was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Mystery. The subsequent seven-book series, The Jennifer Marsh Mysteries, was a delight for her to write, especially the scenes with Jennifer’s quirky writers’ group. All seven are now available in Kindle editions. Judy’s suspense thriller, DROWNING IN AIR, is now in paperback, as well as a Kindle edition! And don’t miss her very funny romantic comedy, VACATIONING WITH THE DEAD, which is filled with ghosts and mayhem. She has plans for more mystery, suspense, humor, and paranormal adventures.