OF MARKS AND MURDER

Book Description

When an unforeseen turn of events leaves Olivia at a crossroads, she opts for adventure over security. She joins a fellowship for women in film, working as the location manager of the newly popular TV show, “Murder in Morristown.”

As she begins to find her place (and herself) in the chaos, the unthinkable happens — murder. Will she let her internal desire to find the truth derail her dreams, or will she be the next victim?

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Q&A with Jen Welsh

What inspired you to write a book?

I’ve always wanted to be an author. In fourth grade, we got to “publish” books as a class activity. My book was called “My Day with Mom,” and I thought it was so cool how our teacher had the books bound with laminate paper. Ever since, I’ve been writing stories and desperately hoping for someone to validate my dream of writing books. I needed a stamp of approval from the world that I was good enough to pursue this goal. From the age of 10, I wrote stories, read books, took writing classes, experimented with different genres and even shared some writing with friends along the way. In 2021, I got the approval I had been looking for when a professor at Georgetown accepted me into the Book Creators Program. Without knowing anything about me or my story or my potential, he said, “Come on, let’s do this. I know you can because we help authors publish their first book as if it was the second.” This program eliminated the barriers I’d faced in previous attempts. It was low-cost. It didn’t have a rigorous or arbitrary application criteria. Through the program, I got over some of my fears and took things one step at a time until I achieved my goal of becoming a published author.

Why now?

Three main reasons:

    1. The Book Creators program made publication with professional editing support possible
    2. I needed to commit a real act of rebellion against perfectionism. I hate how insidious perfectionism is in American culture, and this is my way of saying, “Let me work really hard on something that I care about and put it out there for other people to read, warts and all.”
    3. Just feel compelled to be writing and telling stories. I think I’ve always had this, but now with the ability to work from home and a routine of waking up at 5:30 a.m. for consistency, it’s just what I want to be doing.

Why did you write this book in particular?

My life changed when I got divorced a few days before I turned 30. Three years later, the COVID-19 pandemic put a wrench in my career plans. Both of those events altered my perception of what it meant to plan and prepare for the life I really wanted. I experienced both fear and freedom at the thought of starting again. These two events are at the heart of the emotional journey of the character in my story. The questions I sought to answer were: 1) What does it mean to start over? 2) Is it possible to start again in a new career after a decade doing one type of work? There were also some other things that mattered to me like writing a lesbian-identifying protagonist and writing a mystery that readers could solve. As a puzzle lover, this one was fun for me.

What are some of the central themes?

I would love to hear readers’ opinions of this one, but to me the central theme is about trusting yourself and discovering what it means to be true to yourself. I would also say perception vs. reality. What does it mean to really know a person?

Who should read this book?

“Of Marks and Murder” is a fiction novel murder mystery. Readers will love this book if they enjoy literary fiction, books about real-life topics, mysteries, or relatable characters struggling with many of the same challenges we all face every day.


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If you make a purchase through the links on this page, I may receive a small commission. I share resources and reading material based on my honest experience, and what I personally find helpful. In this case, I’m sharing my writing through Scribd and Bookshop.org,  platforms I personally use to purchase and read books. Happy reading!

"The perfect blend of intrigue and atmosphere that will make you wonder 'Who dunnit?' until the very last page."

Emily VanderBent, author, Crimson Time series

“What if ten years into your chosen career you had the opportunity to follow your dreams? Olivia risks everything, even the threats of a murderer, to create a new life. Jen Welsh delivers a great read of hope, perseverance, and transformation with a dash of new love.”

Susan M. Puska, author, Seasons of the Birch

“Life is messy in your thirties. Welsh’s vivid storytelling captures the uncertainty of jobs, dreams, relationships, and the difficulty of starting over.”

V.L. Adams, author, The Source of Smoke

“Dreams, romance, murder. What more does one want in a great read? Join Olivia as her journey to find herself twists and turns.”

Carol Yee, author, Welcome Back to Abuja Once Again

“Whether the view from a park bench, or an everyday fan spitting dust, the reader can perfectly picture what is happening in Olivia’s world. The story keeps you wanting more—to learn more about the characters, to find the next clue, and, of course, to solve the murder—while also reminding the reader that success isn’t always what we initially imagined it to be.”

Rebecca Garner, author, Why Won’t My Boobs Grow… and Other Annoyances