Jessica Thompson is an author of culinary cozy mysteries. (She’s in the US, so the ‘cozy’ spelling is correct.) Here’s her take on the power of belief.
The Power of Belief is a wonderful concept that I employ when writing characters, especially in mysteries with “good guys” and “bad guys.”
First off, I think belief is our relationship to truth and how we have processed it and packaged it. Our grasp of truth cannot be perfect and entire, but we try to get as close as we can with what we believe.
My friend consistently mentions that our brains process information by talking about it. Thinking about it, rehashing it, replaying it, and yes, talking about it, are all ways of processing it all into beliefs.
What do you believe happened in that situation? What do you believe they were really trying to say? What do you believe about yourself or that person or thing?
That filter of belief makes all the difference. It’s the difference between passing a polygraph test and failing it, a verdict of guilty or not guilty, and the difference between a confident person and a timid one. In my stories, it’s the difference between the hero and the murderer.
It’s all belief.
I think that is a wonderful gift. That means we can choose. We can choose which person we want to be. We pick a lane and go farther and farther down that path.
I think about this a lot while I am writing characters.
My “good guys” are making selfless decisions because this is who they are choosing to be and who they believe they are. More interestingly, my “bad guys” are making decisions that may be destructive to others but are self-interested. He is doing what he believes will be good for him. In that way, he believes he is right, and those are my favorite kinds of villains.
Violet, my main character in “A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide,” is a “good guy.” She tries to help people, she seeks justice, and she genuinely cares about the people around her. She may get caught up in her plans, her cooking, and her pursuit, but that just makes her human. The point is, she chooses to be “good” and she believes in herself and the people around her.
Without giving away any spoilers, my “bad guys” from both “A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide” and the first book in the series, “A Caterer’s Guide to Love and Murder,” both believe they are right, too.
Didn’t they deserve what I did?
I had to do it or else they would _____.
It may have helped me, too, but I was doing it to save other people!
These are all examples of ways they have justified their actions to themselves. Right or wrong, these are the beliefs they have as a result of their choices. The twisted ways they have packaged their ideas into beliefs that work in their best interest.
After all, isn’t that what we all do?
Thank you for that, Jessica. Plenty of food for thought, there. (Oops!) No really, I mean that.
About the Author
When Jessica discovered mystery novels with recipes, she knew she had found her niche.
Now Jessica is the author of the Amazon best-selling culinary cozy mystery, A Caterer’s Guide to Love and Murder, and will be publishing her second book of the series, A Caterer’s Guide to Holidays and Homicide, on October 19, 2021. She is active in her local writing community and is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas and the Storymakers Guild. She received a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Brigham Young University but has always enjoyed writing and reading mysteries.
As an avid home chef and food science geek, Jessica has won cooking competitions and been featured in the online Taste of Home recipe collection. She also tends to be the go-to source for recipes, taste-testing, and food advice among her peers.
Jessica is originally from California, but now has adopted the Austin, Texas lifestyle. She enjoys living in the suburbs with her husband and young children, but also enjoys helping her parents with their nearby longhorn cattle ranch.