Murder, She Writes
By Larry Hightower
“I am a huge fan of ‘Murder, She Wrote,’” says Clara Bauer, a local florist and author. Jessica Fletcher was the main character played by Angela Lansbury in the long running television series about a writer who uses her intuitive skills and deductive abilities to help solve crimes. In her writing of cozy mysteries, Bauer said her protagonist, florist Lily Schmidt, channels her inner Jessica Fletcher when crime is afoot.
Bauer owns and operates Clara’s Flowers, which provides floral arrangements for weddings, galas and corporate events. Clara’s Flowers has been a family business for approximately one hundred years. Although many businesses bear the owner’s name, Bauer was named after the family business (originally named for her aunt).
Bauer has always had a passion for writing. She was a writer and editor of the school newspaper at Drury University where she earned her degree in communications. After graduating she became a sports reporter for the Raytown Post. She then became a copywriter, then creative director at a local advertising agency. Only later did she rejoin the family business of Clara’s Flowers.
Her latest release is “Stilettos Can Be Murder,” a story centered around Gretchen Malloy, a boisterous, middle-aged, elite wedding planner. Gretchen is framed for the murder of a groom on the morning of the wedding. “This novella is a bit of a risk,” says Clara. “You rarely see the protagonist as an outrageously over the top, never married, fifty-something.
This novella is A Lily List Mystery Exclusive, based on her character, Lily Schmidt. “I’m impressed by the agility of wedding coordinators. They flow seamlessly, moving boxes and materials, while wearing fashionable high heels. They remind me of the dancer, Ginger Rogers, who did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards, and in high heels.”
The “A Lily List Mystery Series” books are cozy mysteries, a genre with elements of mystery and romance. The series began with “The Poppy Drop,” which was released in 2018 in paperback and E-book formats. It was followed by “The Hibiscus Heist,” “The Tulip Terror,” ”The Sweet Pea Secret,” and now “Stilettos Can Be Murder.” She expects to have the “The Magnolia Dilemma” out by Thanksgiving, followed by a sequel to “Stilettos Can Be Murder.”
“As the first book in the series, “The Poppy Drop” is the longest. It needed to set the stage and establish the characters. I want to provide a fun read and expose readers to new things—people, places and circumstances. I keep the books and the chapters short for a quick and entertaining read.”
“Like my character, Lily Schmidt. I have colored Post It Notes, everywhere. I outline every book, then go chapter-by-chapter and annotate every character and action. I always know how the story will end, but love exploring the ways to get there.” After several self-edits, she has a deliberate process for advanced reader feedback. Her first reader takes an overall approach, including continuity, grammar, and spelling. The second reviewer is a niece who is very detail oriented. The final reviewer, another niece, is a strict grammarian.
“As larger publishing houses buy up smaller companies, the market for authors shrinks. More authors have turned to self-publishing. I was well in my comfort zone in the writing process, and the marketing and business aspects. The challenge was to adapt to the new publishing world. Blogs and podcasts can be as important as advertising.”
All “A Lily’s List Mystery Series” books are available on Amazon. Barnes and Noble carries “Stiletto’s Can Be Murder,” with all books expected to be available soon. Her social media includes: www.clbauer.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. She may be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.