The Stories Behind the Series
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Millicent Anderson is the philosophy professor-turned-sleuth in the Millicent Anderson Mystery Series. I wrote her first story years ago in “A Hint of Chocolate,” one of the short stories in Paths in Time. In that story, Millicent solved the mystery of her Aunt Millie’s murder. That loss is one of the reasons she can empathize with Lisa in The Book of Secrets.
I soon discovered that Millicent had another story to tell. That story, “Sins of the Father,” is also in Paths in Time. Someone was stalking one of her students, a young woman who was abandoned at such an early age she did not know her true identity. Millicent’s identity crisis after her Aunt Millie died drove her to help her student discover who she was after the stalker left the young woman for dead.
I loved writing short stories, but I wanted to write a longer story, a novel, a mystery novel. The problem was that I didn’t think I could stay with any writing project long enough to write a full-length manuscript. Nevertheless, I decided to try. It didn’t take Millicent long to let me know she had the perfect story for my first full-length mystery. The result was The Missing Calico, the story in which one of her colleagues had to face his fears and his past when his sanity and his life were threatened. I found it quite appropriate that the length of time it took me to write the first draft was nine months.
It took Millicent much longer to help me realize that a paragraph outline I had written several years earlier for a story about a family secret was actually the backstory for The Book of Secrets. As I began writing, I thought the secrets of secondary characters were meant to provide twists and turns. However, as those secrets intertwined through several issues confronting women, I realized they were important, too. Telling the stories of these six young women was a challenge. I hope I did them justice.