Saturday, April 24, 2021

The Truth About Rachel – What Inspired This Murder Mystery Novel

 The Truth About Rachel - What Inspired This Murder Mystery Novel

by Deanna Lynn Sletten

Have you ever Googled your name? What if you did and found out that people from your hometown believed you were dead? That was the idea that inspired me to write The Truth About Rachel.

On May 11th, I will be releasing my very first novel in the murder mystery genre – The Truth About Rachel. I have had this storyline in my head for a couple of years, and finally decided to take a break from writing historical fiction (and women’s fiction and romance) and try my hand at a new genre. This novel was supposed to be a stand-alone book. After I wrote it, I fell in love with the characters and decided I had to continue it as a series.

But where did I come up with the idea? People ask me that question all the time about all my books. This time, it was personal.

As the internet has grown, the amount of information out there has increased also. Newspapers both big and small have put their old stories online for people to search. Government files are out there too—such as murder case files from decades ago. If you searched for something ten years ago, and never found it, you’d probably find it now. That was what I did one evening when I was supposed to be writing—otherwise known as procrastinating. I went online and Googled my maiden name. What I found was chilling. There on the screen was my full maiden name in newspaper headlines from the state I grew up in stating I’d been murdered years before.

To say those headlines gave me full-body chills is an understatement. A fourteen-year-old girl with the same name as mine was found murdered in the same state as I’d lived in around the same time my family moved to Minnesota. The only difference was she’d lived in a different town from the one I’d grown up in.

After reading all the newspaper articles, I couldn’t get the girl out of my head. And that’s when my writer’s brain went into action. What if people thought I was dead and didn’t know I’d moved 2,000 miles away instead? What an interesting concept for a book.

As I began writing The Truth About Rachel, I never planned on connecting so strongly with the characters. Rachel becomes an amateur sleuth in the story, trying to figure out what happened the day she was supposedly killed and more importantly, who the little girl in the grave actually is. She meets a handsome journalist who is also in town trying to solve another old murder. Together, they uncover secrets the town has been hiding for decades—and fall for each other in the process. The more I got to know these characters, the more I fell in love with them and couldn’t stop at one book. Hopefully, readers will like them too and want to read more about Rachel.

So, what is the moral of this article? Be careful what you search for online – because you just might find it!

The Truth About Rachel is available right now on Amazon. The Audiobook has released early – so you can grab it now. The paperback will be out on the release day.


Book Description:

Everyone believes Rachel is dead. But she’s very much alive.

Rachel Scott Emery’s life unravels when she comes upon an old news article online that states she was killed thirty-five years ago at the age of eight. Even more shocking is her murderer was her then sixteen-year-old brother.

Realizing she must untangle the mess, Rachel leaves her Tallahassee, Florida home and goes back to Casita, California to prove she is still alive. But going home again isn’t easy. Believing that her parents had relinquished custody of her years ago to her beloved aunt and uncle, she slowly learns what really happened. And unearthing the truth, when so many in town want to leave it buried, becomes a daunting and dangerous task. What really happened the day little Rachel left town? And who is the little girl buried in the grave?

This book is full of twists and turns—just when you think you know who is in the grave, you'll be surprised!

About the Author:

Deanna Lynn Sletten loves a good murder mystery. As a child, she was fascinated by her great-uncle’s job as a forensic scientist for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office. Her first chapter books were Nancy Drew Mysteries, and she could never say no to an Agatha Christie novel. It’s also not surprising that she loves watching true-crime stories on television. So, it was only a matter of time that Deanna would try her hand at writing a murder mystery.

Deanna has been writing novels for ten years and is always up for a challenge. She writes women’s fiction, romance, historical fiction, and now murder mysteries. She lives in northern Minnesota with her husband and has two grown children. Her favorite thing to do is walk the wooded trails around her home with her new little Aussie puppy.

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting backstory. I would've been totally freaked out if I had Googled my name and saw a news story like that.