Hello Readers! I thank you so much for visiting the Nite Owl Books website!

I would like to give you a little more insight and some of the backstory that went into writing the Kendall O'Dell Mystery series. One of my favorite classes besides creative writing was journalism. I thought it would be the best of both worlds to combine my love of writing and my curious nature. But alas, becoming a journalist was not in the cards for me.

About half way through all the various writing courses that I took, my lifelong love of the mystery genre and the unfulfilled longing to be a reporter began to take shape in my mind. I already had a file folder filled with newspaper articles, mostly of unsolved murder cases and a collection of really quirky stories. It came to me suddenly one day that I could combine all of these things together and create an interesting mystery.

It took awhile for my heroine, Kendall O'Dell to come to life. She is a combination of several people who made a lasting impact on my life. I gave her some of their characteristics, some good, some bad, some exasperating, some endearing and yes, a few of my own mannerisms managed to sneak into the mix. I often tell my readers that I live vicariously through this character because she gets to do all the things I'll never have a chance to do!

Becoming Kendall O'Dell

Next came the task of researching the job of an investigative reporter. I read all of the information I could find on the subject and then decided the best thing to do would be too hang out with one while he/she worked. I did just that and picked up invaluable information which I have folded into each of the novels that are based on actual newspaper articles (I thread 10 to 12 articles into each book) and events that happen in everyday life.

The plot line for Deadly Sanctuary, the 1st book in the series, was based on a fascinating situation involving some friends of mine. I combined their extraordinary experiences with a handful of local news stories, injected some history, humor, a dash of romance and Kendall's adventures began to take shape.

Finding Castle Valley

My next challenge was to find a suitable setting. I needed a place that still retained the flavor of the "old west", a place that had not been urbanized like a lot of the communities in Arizona. After traveling around the state, I finally chose Wickenburg, a quiet, little town about an hour northwest of Phoenix to became Castle Valley in my series. I had great fun just walking the streets soaking up the ambiance and talking to the locals.

The remainder of the cast of characters followed and then came the hard part...actually sitting down to begin putting the story together! The process of writing can be enjoyable, tedious, frustrating and fascinating all at once.

A bizarre story set in Southern Arizona

When I finished Deadly Sanctuary, I had no intention of making it a series, but after a while, I missed the fictional town and all my friends, so I returned to Castle Valley several years later to start The Devil's Cradle. This one is based on the strangest story I had ever read and when you finish it, you'll have some idea of the bizarre research I had to do to complete it.

I'm happy to say that only a handful of readers have ever guessed the end of this one! I set it in the Bisbee area and used the stunning Dragoon Mountains as a backdrop. My research included going down into a vertical mine and tramping around old cemeteries and ghost towns in Southern Arizona on six different research trips. I loved each and every one of them and so enjoy showcasing the stunning Arizona scenery. I will be posting some of the photos from my research trips soon.

More suspense follows at the AZ/Mexico border

The novels were so well-received that the idea for the 3rd book was born. Dark Moon Crossing, set near the tiny border towns of Arrivaca and Sasabe, tackles the controversial border crossing issue which affects the lives of every person who lives in Arizona and remains just as timely and just as hot of a topic today as the day it was written. I was fortunate enough to have a friend in the Intel division of the Border Patrol who arranged for me to go with him on four ride alongs. I was in on two captures, one of which I wrote into the book. Many people have written to tell me that the ending of this adventure gave them the chills and nightmares. To me, that is good news!


Danger awaits Kendall when she Returns to Castle Valley

Seeds of Vengeance followed next and I was fortunate to be able to work with Dr. Laura Fulginiti, the leading Forensic Anthropologist with the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office in Phoenix and one of the best in the entire country. She advised me throughout the writing of this 4th book which was based on 3 very prominent cases in the Phoenix metropolitan area. It was quite a challenge, but great fun to write!

A love story set in Phoenix, Arizona

I want to thank all of my wonderful, loyal fans for their patience over these past years as I continue writing Kendall's 5th adventure. In the meantime, Nite Owl Books has re-issued my love story, A Scent of Jasmine,which is available now for those readers who enjoy a little more romance! Happy Reading! Sylvia Nobel