Murder Walks on Peachtree Street

Welcome to Nancy Arant Williams, who lives in the beautiful Ozarks of Missouri. She’s highlighting her latest novel, and offering a free trade paperback of her trilogy called Bear Me on Angels’ Wings to one commenter. I’m particularly intrigued by how her writing career began later in life:

1999 should’ve been a good year for me, because my husband retired and we were moving to the beautiful Missouri Ozarks, where we were having a home built. But for me, it was a traumatic time, because it meant leaving Nebraska, the only home I’d ever known, as well as my network of friends, relatives and neighbors, our church, and our children and grandchildren.

I don’t acclimate easily to change, and was struggling, so my doctor put me on an antidepressant to ease the transition. We moved March 1, during a gray and icy spell in Missouri, into our unfinished home to complete it, and it was cold, muddy and not the least bit appealing. 

Once the house was finished, I had nothing to do with my time, so I asked the Lord what on earth I was supposed to do in such a foreign environment. And because I had never written a thing in my life I was stunned to hear him say, “Sit down, because I want you to learn to write for me.”

I argued for a while until I realized how therapeutic this would be. He even gave me dreams, with scenes and dialogue running through them, showing me the story in movie format. It flowed easily and filled my emotional bucket, until I was no longer depressed and had no further need for the antidepressant. Ultimately he showed me that this new niche was the perfect place to write, quiet, wooded, and on a small three-acre private lake, picturesque in every season. 

Writing was satisfying and fun because the characters were animated and zany; it wasn’t long before they seemed like real live people I’d love to know. Once the first book was done, it was clear there would be several more in a series. By the time I’d completed the series, Missouri felt like the home that I never wanted to leave.

Only God knew that my tough new start would open doors of destiny I could never have imagined, making readers laugh and cry. But best of all, they could see the love of God through fiction. Writing still fills my emotional bucket like nothing else, and best of all, there is no compulsory retirement date in my future.   

Peachtree contrasts with other books in that the characters are middle-aged, and the book is more slice-of-life than any single genre, containing humor, conspiracy, murder, romance, etc., which makes it stand alone.

Excerpt from Peachtree Street:

Makkie Yeats is a fifty-three-year-old retired RN, whose life has been turned upside down. She’s still struggling to adjust to the idea of once again living with her dominant, social-climbing older sister Zoe after their mother tricked them into moving in together. In fact, things have been in such an uproar that she’s stunned to realize she hasn’t seen or heard from her dear friend, Ferdy Wallace, the wife of their family doctor, for months. After several failed attempts to phone, she’s desperate for answers, so she drives to Ferdy’s house and presses the bell. 

     No answer. I rang again, and waited another minute, before circling to the back of the house, where sliding glass doors led into Ferdy’s room. The curtains were pulled and the slider was locked, leaving me feeling more frantic than ever. 

    At the front door again, I tried the knob. It wasn’t locked, so I walked in. I called, “Hello, is anyone here?” At the door of her room, I knocked, heard a faint sound, and let myself in. All I could do was stare in shock. Ferdy, a small mound under the covers, was nearly unrecognizable; she had aged at least twenty years since my last visit several months earlier. Her normally porcelain skin was gray and sunken and her frame skeletal. Her striking white hair was sparse and dull, and her eyes were glazed. 

    I took her hand. “Ferdy, It’s Makkie. Can you hear me?” 

    She turned her head slightly, trying to focus. “Makkie,” she whispered, then closed her eyes as if exhausted. 

    “Ferdy, what’s going on? Where’s Silvey?” Silvey was their live-in housekeeper.

Just then Silvey stomped into the room. “What are you doing here?” she demanded.

    “I came to check on Ferdy. What’s happened, Silvey? Why does she look so bad?”

    Her green eyes flashed angrily. “I don’t know exactly, but Doc’s taking care of her. Now you need to leave.”

    “I’m not leaving until I talk to her alone. So get out, close the door, and don’t let it hit you in the fanny on your way out.” 

    She left, but I knew she’d be calling Doc, and my heart skipped a beat as I realized the trouble I’d be in when he arrived. 

    “Ferdy, I need you to tell me what’s wrong. Can you do that?”

    She looked at me, trying to focus, and I could see she was drugged to the point of sedation. I took her hand in mine. “Ferdy, is Doc doing this to you?” She nodded with effort. 

    “I’m calling an ambulance.”

    Before thinking, I picked up her extension and heard Doc and Silvey talking. I heard him rage, “Well, get rid of her before she finds out!”

    I carefully hung up, dug my flip phone from my pocket and dialed 911. When I felt reassured that help was on the way, I lifted the fragile woman into her wheelchair and pushed the hair out of her eyes. 

    “I’m taking you outside to wait for the ambulance.” I pushed her down the hall at a fast clip and was pulling the front door open when Silvey rushed me. 

    “What do you think you’re doing?” she screeched. “You can’t take her out of her home. I won’t let you.” 

    “Just try to stop me.”

    “Don’t think I won’t You cant take her. You can’t!”

    I pushed Ferdy through the front door, heading for the curb. Silvey had followed us a few steps out the front door, only to turn back toward the house. Now I could hear her gaining on us. She whirled around in front of me and said, “Get out of here, Makkie, before I call the sheriff.” 

    I frowned. “Go ahead and call him. I’d like him to investigate exactly what’s going on here.”

    She stopped in her tracks, eyes aflame. “What do you mean, ‘what’s going on here?’”

    “You know exactly what I mean.” She backed off a little, and I had nearly decided to haul Ferdy in my car when I heard sirens. Turning toward the sound, I saw a blur of movement and was hit from behind with something heavy. I could feel my legs buckling, and my consciousness fading, a flash of pain at the back of my head. My next lucid thought occurred when I woke in the back of the ambulance . . .  

8 thoughts on “Murder Walks on Peachtree Street

  1. Isn’t it funny how it seems our plans and God’s plans never seem to align? It’s just easier to surrender to His will isn’t it ladies. I so enjoyed learning about Ms. Nancy’s writing journey. I think it’s still just beginning in ways; at least that’s my hope ma’am. Thank you for sharing; and God’s blessings.

  2. Thanks for sharing your journey, Nancy. It’s amazing what can happen when we “listen” and move forward with faith. I love the intro to your book. It makes me want to read more!

  3. Nancy, I enjoyed reading about your writing journey as well as your book. I am a new author, children’s books, and I just started writing in my middle 60’s, first time every! But God told me! I wish you the very best with your writing endeavors.

  4. I thoroughly enjoy reading a good mystery and look forward to reading Murder Walks on Peachtree Street. Your journey in becoming a writer provides hope for all who have a dream in their heart waiting to be released. God will guide us to action as we pray and listen.

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