Murder on Our Minds: Characters, Plotting and Research!

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Special Event, Author Talk

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Have you ever wondered about how crime writers create their books?

Come and hear this esteemed panel of well-established Maine Crime Writers as they share the secrets of their craft. What types of mysteries do they write, and why did they choose this genre? Do they approach writing as plotters (work from an outline), pantsers (don't plan out anything or very little) or plansters (combination of the two)?  Do they do extensive research or just make it up? And what about the development of their characters? Are they inspired by people they know? What is "Character Shopping"?  Your questions will be answered, bring them all! 

This program will be followed by a Q & A and book signings.

Maine Crime Writers are 10 mystery, suspense and thriller writers who live and write in the great State of Maine. They blog daily at


Panel of Authors

dick cass

RICHARD CASS is the author of  the Elder Darrow Jazz Mystery series. The first book in the series won the 2018 Maine Literary Award for  Crime Fiction. The fifth, Sweetie Bogan’s Sorrow, won the Nancy Pearl Librarians’ Prize for Genre Fiction. The seventh book in the series Closing Time, will be published in October, 2024.

Dick has also published a thriller called The Last Altruist and a book of short stories entitled Gleam of Bone. He holds a graduate degree in writing from the University of New Hampshire, where he studied with Thomas Williams, Jr. and Joseph Monninger. He's also studied with Ernest Hebert, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Molly Gloss. His short fiction and nonfiction pieces have appeared in Playboy, Gray’s Sporting Journal, ZZYZVA, Tough, Shotgun Honey and Best Short Stories of the American West. He lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine with his wife Anne. His books can be purchased here!

The Last Altruist, a Maine Mystery

The Elder Darrow Jazz Mystery Series

Twitter: @DickCass


kate flora

KATE FLORA’s fascination with people’s criminal tendencies began in the Maine attorney general’s office. Deadbeat dads, people who hurt their kids, and employers’ discrimination aroused her curiosity about human behavior. The author of twenty-six books spanning many genres including crime fiction, true crime, memoir, and nonfiction, and many short stories, Flora’s been a finalist for the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Derringer awards. She won the Public Safety Writers Association award for nonfiction and twice won the Maine Literary Award for crime fiction. She received a lifetime achievement award from the New England Crime Bake for her contributions to the community and will receive the Lea Wait Award for contributions to the crime writing community at the Maine Crime Wave this June.

Flora has taught writing for the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, Brown University Continuing Education, The Cambridge Center for Adult Education, the Cape Cod Writer’s Conference, and for Grub Street in Boston. She’s a former international president of Sisters in Crime, current president of the local chapter, and a founder of the New England Crime Bake and the Maine Crime Wave conferences. She blogs with the Maine Crime Writers.

Flora’s latest books include the stand-alone domestic suspense Teach Her a Lesson, and Such a Good Man, the 8th Joe Burgess police procedural. She divides her time between Massachusetts and Maine, where she gardens and cooks and watches the clouds when she’s not imagining her character’s dark deeds.



JULE SELBO's screenwriting credits (spanning over two decades) in film and television include HBO’s Women Behind Bars, George Lucas’ Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, George Romero’s Tales from the Darkside and Monsters, Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame Part Deux and Cinderella II, Aaron Spelling’s Melrose Place, Fox’s Space Above and Beyond, the television series Hercules produced by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, Hard Promises starring Sissy Spacek and more, including work for MTV, PBS, Comedy Central as well as all the major studios and networks.

Six years ago, Jule left Los Angeles and is now happy to be living the life of a novelist in Maine:  Find Me in Florence, and the historical fictions: Dreams of Discovery, The Explorer John Cabot, Breaking Barriers, and The Life of Laura Bassi. She is now dedicated to her mystery crime series. The first book,10 DAYS: A Dee Rommel Mystery, earned a spot on the Top-Five list of Kirkus’ 2021 best crime/mysteries from small publishers. It also won the Silver Falchion Award for Best Investigator Novel at Killer Nashville, was a finalist for a Maine Literary Award, a 2021 Clue and a Foreword Review Award. The second book in the ten-part series is 9 DAYS, A Dee Rommel Mystery, which also received a starred Kirkus Review and was nominated for a 2022 Clue and Killer Nashville award. 

8 DAYS was released December, 2023, and has received stellar reviews from Kirkus, LA Times Book Review and more as well as listed as a Clue Award semifinalist.

Jule also lectures internationally on screenwriting topics and was instrumental in creating the MFA in Screenwriting at California State University. She has written two books on screenwriting: Film Genre for the Screenwriter and Screenplay: Building Story Through Character.  Her theatrical plays have been performed in theaters around the United States. She’s happy to get emails from readers at and her website is