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Intersection Column | Finding Your Jessica Fletcher

by Nancy Mehl

Growing up I never really understood kids who seemed to know exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up. The only thing I was sure about was that I loved to read. There was no place more magical and exciting than the library. I picked books shelf by shelf, sometimes staying up most of the night, a flashlight under my covers, while I inhaled five or six stories. I wasn’t particular. Almost anything would do. I didn’t have a favorite genre until I picked up a Nancy Drew novel. After that first book, I had to read more. Eventually, I made it through all of them. Then came the Hardy Boys. Turned out, I was in love with mysteries!

Fast forward to high school. I filled journals with poems. I loved the powerful and lyrical feeling of poetry. Then one day, my English teacher asked us to write three poems as an assignment. I was so excited. This was during a rather tough time in my life, and I needed some encouragement. Would my English teacher be impressed with my writing? When I handed them in, I waited with anticipation for her reaction. Well, it wasn’t what I’d hoped for. She read them out loud and then announced to the class that she was certain she’d seen them somewhere before. She accused me of plagiarism! My teenage heart was broken, and I backed off of writing… anything.

Fast forward to my forties. I still had no idea what I was supposed to do with my life. I’d tried my hand at many different things. Some of them I did well. Others, not so much. But I didn’t “shine” at any of them. Nor was I really excited about anything except raising my son and reading books when I got the chance. But as far as I knew, no one would pay me for reading. I did finally get a job with a newspaper writing book reviews, but that was hardly lucrative and not really fulfilling. I knew God had some kind of plan for me, but what was it? I kept praying, asking God to show me His will for my life.

Then, Murder, She Wrote showed up on TV. It didn’t take very many episodes before I told my husband, “I know what I want to be. I want to be Jessica Fletcher!” That’s when I thought back to that high school English teacher. Why didn’t she believe I wrote those poems? Could it be because they were good and she didn’t think I had that in me? Was it possible I might be a writer? Feeling that God wanted me to move forward, I jumped in with both feet. Then He confirmed to me that I was finally where He wanted me to be. Not long after that, I started writing. It took me several years to find a publisher willing to take a chance on me. Then there were others. I just recently finished writing my fiftieth book!

My latest release, Free Fall, is book three in my Quantico Files series. I’ve written a lot of books in the mystery/suspense genre, but one of my biggest desires was to delve into the world of FBI profilers. It took a while for me to get there, but this is my second series based on the Behavioral Analysis Unit at Quantico. I can finally say that my “Jessica Fletcher” has come full circle. It’s so satisfying!

I believe we’re all created with gifts and callings. Maybe you’re having a tough time finding “who you want to be when you grow up,” but if you don’t give up, I believe one day you’ll find your own “Jessica Fletcher.” God will get you where you need to be even if He has to use a television show to get your attention. Hopefully, it won’t take you as long as it took me to get the message!


About the Author

Nancy Mehl is the bestselling author of almost 50 books. She’s won the Daphne Du Maurier Award, as well as two Carol awards. She was also a finalist for the prestigious Christy award. Her short story, “Chasing Shadows,” was in the USA Today bestselling Summer of Suspense anthology. Learn more about her at


About the Book

FBI behavioral analyst Alex Donovan and her colleague Logan Hart have been called upon to write a profile for a missing woman, but a little digging quickly turns up more disappearances in Virginia with the same physical description. When the UNSUB makes demands of her in exchange for information, Alex takes the bait and Logan must track them down before time runs out.


Did You Know?

Tarpon Springs, Florida, is a quaint Greek community, located approximately 30 miles from Tampa. If you are in the area, here are a few reasons it’s worth the stop:

  • Downtown Tarpon Springs includes an area known for the famous Sponge Docks, earning it the moniker “Sponge Capital of the World.” At the end of the 19th century, fishermen from Greece traveled to America seeking employment and harvested sponges, a trade that allowed the city to flourish during the Depression.

  • The town has amazing Greek food, including the Gyro, made from meat (traditionally lamb), cooked on a vertical rotisserie and served wrapped or stuffed in pita bread, along with ingredients such as tomato, onion and tzatziki.

  • Tarpon Springs has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the U.S.

Although I lived in Tarpon Springs for less than a year, around age 12, I fell in love and never forgot the city known for its sponges. I visited last summer with my family and enjoyed a great time getting more ideas for my series, which is based there.

-Tara Taffera, Love Reunited


Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore

“I love shopping in my local bookstore because I know I will be greeted with an offer of help to find just what I need. I then learn what is available from a knowledgeable staff member, who makes my experience a pleasant one. That makes me look forward to returning!”

-Lane P. Jordan, Evangeline, The Story of Esther


1 Comment

Deborah Raney
Deborah Raney
Jun 28, 2022

Nancy, I'm so glad you found your calling as a writer, but I want you to know that your review of one of my books in the Wichita Eagle was a huge encouragement to the new writer I was at the time! Loved this post!

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