Leslie Budewitz

Mystery author Leslie Budewitz will discuss "Building Character" at the Writers of Kern virtual meeting on Saturday.

Author Leslie Budewitz loves good food, cooking, mystery stories and life in the Northwest. She has combined these passions into the creation of two cozy mystery series, the Spice Shop mysteries, set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and the Food Lovers’ Village mysteries, set in northwest Montana.

But as engaging as a novel’s setting or theme may be, it is the characters that carry us through a story and remain with us long after the final page.

Budewitz will delve into the ingredients needed to create characters that readers will care about during her program, “Building Character,” at the Writers of Kern monthly meeting on Saturday.

According to Budewitz, “No matter what type of fiction you’re writing — crime fiction, romance, women’s fiction, or mainstream novels — the best plots flow from the characters. Even in a mystery or a thriller, where the plot is critical to the success of the story, the characters are the key.” And this is especially true when reading a fiction series.

In Budewitz's presentation, writers will explore:

● Several methods for the creation of coherent, consistent and credible story people.

● Identify essential characteristics of a good character.

● Discover what makes their characters “tick.”

● How to use description of physical characteristics, social standing, personality.

● How to use your own life experience to “deepen the people on the page.”

Budewitz is the author of 10 novels and more than a dozen short stories. This year, she has published her first stand-alone suspense novel, "Bitterroot Lake," followed by her 10th Spice Shop mystery, "The Solace of Bay Leaves."

She has won three Agatha Awards (best nonfiction, best first novel and best short story) as well as the Derringer Award, given by the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and has been nominated for the Derringer, Anthony and Macavity awards.

To her audience, Budewitz says, “I love taking readers to these oh-so-memorable places, introducing you to their intriguing inhabitants and digging into their hearts and minds. And if I can make you think, laugh, and feel a bit hungry all at the same time — well, then, we’ve got the perfect author-reader friendship."

Learn more about Budewitz and her works at lesliebudewitz.com.

This Writers of Kern event, running from 9:15 to 11:45 a.m. Saturday, will be presented free of charge and entirely online via Zoom. To register, please go to writersofkern.com/events.

Susan Baker is a member of the Writers of Kern.

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