The Making of… In Another World – A Paranormal Mystery/Romance (Part 2)
By Kelli A. Wilkins
This is part two of my two-part blog about the making of my paranormal/mystery romance, In Another World. In my previous blog, I talked about the origins of the story idea and the overall theme of the book. In this blog, I’ll share some insights into the “cop stuff” I needed to know for the story, the paranormal elements of the book, and how I finally got the title.
Before I get started, here is the book summary and links:
IN ANOTHER WORLD
A Paranormal Mystery/Romance Novel
Disgraced psychic medium Julie Kershaw has finally met her soul mate. The problem is he’s dead… and his spirit haunts the car she just bought.
The spirit of Detective Eddie Mahoney is determined to find his killer and needs Julie’s help. At first, she refuses. She’s tired of being called crazy and swore she’d never use her abilities to speak to the dead again—even if Eddie is handsome and charming.
Eddie persuades Julie to contact his former partner, Lou Kaplonski, to ask him to reopen his case. Skeptical, Lou dismisses Julie as a fake—until she proves she can communicate with the dead—and he finds out Eddie has a lot to say.
Julie channels Eddie’s spirit and together with Lou, the unusual trio tracks down leads and follows clues to solve Eddie’s murder. The case takes them down a dark and dangerous path filled with secrets, where nobody can be trusted.
As they work to find his killer, Julie falls for Eddie. Funny, smart, and sexy, Eddie is the guy of her dreams—and he doesn’t look or act the least bit dead. To her surprise, Eddie discovers a clever way they can be together, and they begin an ethereal romance.
When Lou’s investigation brings him too close to the killer, his life and Julie’s are put in danger—and Eddie may be the only one who can save them.
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In Another World is a mystery/romance, and although I’ve written dozens of romances, I never wrote a full-fledged mystery before. Some of my short stories and novels have mystery elements where an amateur sleuth investigates something, but this was different. The book borders on being a police procedural, and I knew I had to get the details of the “cop stuff” right. For that, I turned to an expert—Uncle Rich.
My uncle Rich was a retired police captain and had pretty much seen everything in his 20+ years on the force. Several years ago we were at a wedding and he asked me, “What’s new?” I told him, “I’ve got this idea for a story…”
From there, I gave him the rundown of the plot and started asking him lots of questions. When I told him I had “jurisdiction issues” about the location of Eddie’s body, he said, “Location, location, location. Jurisdiction follows the body; it doesn’t matter where you’re from, or where you work. If you’re from Los Angeles and your body is found in Memphis, it’s a Memphis case.”
I asked Rich a million questions and I learned a lot. His advice was excellent and I incorporated some of our actual conversations into the book as dialogue, usually when Lou or Eddie explains something to Julie.
Rich also pointed out that Eddie and Lou wouldn’t have to explain how to solve a murder to each other. For them, it’s their job, it’s routine, something they do all the time. That made things a little easier, because I didn’t want to make the book too “police” heavy and bore the reader or bog down the story. I included just enough “cop” details to make Eddie and Lou’s investigation authentic while keeping the reader hooked.
It saddens me to report that Uncle Rich passed away unexpectedly several months before the book was finished. He never got to read the final version, but I’m sure he’s proud of the book, and me. Thanks again, Rich. I couldn’t have done it without you.
As much as I tried to be “real world” accurate with the police procedural aspects of the book, I let my imagination run wild with the paranormal parts, especially Julie and Eddie’s relationship.
I’ve met dozens of mediums, psychics, and intuitives over the years (at workshops, in classes, on ghost tours, etc.) and I always ask them questions about what they see, how they receive messages, and how they discovered they have these abilities.
The answers vary from person to person. Some mediums see the dead as clear as a living person, others see them in their mind’s eye or feel their energy and sense things about them. Several mediums I talked to were born with the ability to contact the dead, some learned how, and others only were able to communicate with the other side after a near-death experience. I used this information to explain why Julie can do what she does, and how she “sees” Eddie.
When I was writing the book, I knew I needed to make Eddie as “real” as possible for the sake of the story. I had him appear in full form (as a living person) to Julie, and gave them a clever (and easy) way to communicate. Eddie’s ability to connect to Julie helps him become a full-fledged character. He’s as “real” as any other hero in a romance—complete with a backstory, flaws, and other issues—but he just happens to be dead. Eddie’s and Julie’s relationship becomes so solid (in a sense), that readers forget Eddie isn’t alive.
In the book, Julie says their situation is unique and she’s not even 100% sure how this is all possible, but she goes with it, and so do readers. This bit of creative license with the paranormal worked for the story, although it’s not how mediums interact with spirits in the real world.
And speaking of the real world, the title was a bit of a challenge. I had been working on the book for years (see part one of the blog for more on that) and I never had a clue about the title. I just called it the “ghost cop” book. Well, when I was in the final proofreading stage, I figured I’d better start thinking about a title.
I wanted the title to convey the mystery/paranormal/romance aspects of the book. I spent hours brainstorming on the title. (As some readers may know, titles don’t come easy to me. I’ll be writing a separate blog about that soon). I played around with different combinations of words, annoyed everyone I knew for suggestions… And what did I get? Nothing. So I gave up for a while.
Then one day, my husband and I were driving to my friend’s house and listening to music when Dwight Yoakam’s song, “In Another World” came on. I didn’t pay it much attention at first, then I started listening to the lyrics with my book in mind, from Eddie’s and Julie’s point of view—and it clicked. I played the song again and then declared, “There’s the title!”
“In Another World” works on many levels: Julie is living part of her life in another world/realm, Eddie takes Julie into/exists in another world of his own, and poor Lou is dropped into another world he never knew existed. Of course, Dwight’s song isn’t about psychics or spirits, but the lines; “Bound by love that never strays/In another world/We’ll be okay” really reminded me of Eddie and Julie at the end of the book.
And while I’m talking about the music in the book, I want to mention my use of Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” toward the end. My mother LOVED Roy and I was raised on his music. It seemed only fitting that I borrow a few lines from Roy, as an homage to my mother. (She also passed away before the book was finished.)
When Lou is really down in the dumps, he hears the song and it connects him to Eddie. I’ve always loved the lines “In dreams/I walk with you/In dreams/I talk to you” —because as Julie says in the book (and this is a real quote from a psychic) the dead can (and do) communicate with the living in dreams. I believe that to be true, and maybe Roy knew it too, when he wrote the song. (And yes, “Blue Angel” appearing in the book is no accident, either.)
This concludes my second blog about In Another World. I hope you’ll read the book and get drawn into this mysterious “other world” filled with drama, humor, and incredibly interesting characters
Until next time, happy reading!
Kelli A. Wilkins
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.
Her latest novel, In Another World, was released in early 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.
She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.
In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.
Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.