Cedarville sophomore publishes third murder mystery book

Author S.E. Drake: “I want to write stories that grapple with big issues and try to answer scary questions thoroughly from a Christian worldview.”

A Cedarville University sophomore has turned her dream of becoming a published author into a reality ... three times, in fact.

Shiloh Drake, from Newton, Ill., and who majors in adolescent and young adult language arts, recently released her third murder mystery book.

“Down Maple Lane,” published under the pen name S.E. Drake, follows the lives of Stacie Alwins, a church secretary, and Rose Copenhagen, a choir director. The two go out of state to help Rose’s cousin with a renovation project and find evidence about a cold case murder from eight years ago. They eventually learn the the answer may not be what they expected.

Drake has written stories for as long as she can remember and knew she wanted to be an author by age 13.

“Storytelling has been an integral part of my life from very early on, even before I actually knew how to write,” Drake said.

Although she started in the fantasy genre, Drake always had a fascination with murder mysteries but “never intended” to get into it as it’s a “big deviation” from what she wanted to do, she said.

Drake’s goal with writing is to provide the kind of book she never had as it was rare to find stories like these growing up.

“I want to write stories that grapple with big issues and try to answer scary questions thoroughly from a Christian worldview, while giving an accurate portrayal of the Christian life,” she said. “The murder is never the forefront... I offer a modern murder mystery that doesn’t have graphic violence, sensuality or nudity, all of which are rampant in modern murder mysteries, unfortunately.”

As for the future, Drake she sees herself returning to writing fantasy.

“If it hadn’t been for Lewis’ Narnia, I wouldn’t have wanted to be an author,” she said. “As I grappled with those texts, I noticed literary style for the first time. There was a whole other world of meaning, beauty and style, and I want to tap into that.”

This book is the third in a series of five murder mysteries. Her first book, “Secrets and Stained Glass,” was published in November 2020 and the second book, “With the Candlestick?” was published in July 2021.

Drake publishes through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. All of her books can be found under the pen name S. E. Drake on Amazon.

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