As Murder at the Moonshine Inn begins, it’s been eight years since Hazel’s showdown with the killer in Murder at the Book Group. Back then, Hazel dabbled in writing a romance and committed herself to the uncommitted life. It’s unfortunate that it took solving a murder for Hazel to see her life in a new perspective. She went on to become a successful romance author and married Vince Castelli.
Lucy is Hazel Rose’s cousin and friend. Readers of Murder at the Book Group will remember that Lucy and Hazel lived together with Shammy and Daisy, resident felines. In the eight years since Lucy and Hazel faced down a desperate killer both have married, but are still close. Lucy is still perfect. She’s cool, calm, collected, manages a successful placement firm, and cooks up a storm. I’m thinking of ways to create a flaw for Lucy and round her out as a character. Perhaps a flaw will be revealed in #3 of the Hazel Rose Book Group series.
Trudy is a librarian who loves her job. As expected of a librarian, she has an impressive interest in, and knowledge of, books. If the Murder on Tour book group gave prizes for the best book summaries, she’d win hands down every time. A large tattoo of a rose covers Trudy’s neck. While working, she covers it with her long mane to hide it from her anti-tat library director. Trudy’s one marriage ended in divorce. A few years later, after a whirlwind romance, she and her fiancée planned to marry onboard a cruise through the Greek Islands. But the wedding never happened—the fiancée met a New Yorker on the ship and Trudy was history. She hasn’t mentioned a love interest since. She’s content with her job, her book group, and her pets.
Sarah Rubottom is a retired English teacher and active volunteer in the community. At some point she transitioned from a Berkeley-educated, sixties-era hippie to conservative agnostic (she takes pains to emphasize that she’s moderately conservative). Sarah does not approve of e-readers. Except for e-mail and a flip-phone she’s pretty much a technological holdout. But when the book group decides to investigate the murder at the Moonshine Inn they share their status updates via Skype, and no one is more surprised than Sarah when she becomes a Skype fan. Sarah’s husband Den is a Vietnam paraplegic who loves women—all women. His attention to the opposite sex frequently ruffles his wife’s feathers to the point that Hazel wonders why Sarah doesn’t just leave her flirtatious husband at home.
Eileen Thompson, another librarian, is Trudy Zimmerman’s neighbor and co-worker. She tends to be brusque and impatient at times, but is generally likable and the group values her participation. Her mother lives at an assisted living facility and is always perilously close to being “evicted.” Besides being a general nuisance with her screaming fits, the mother attacks the nurse aides with her cane. When not at the library, Eileen spends much of her time in meetings with the assisted living staff.
Some are favorites, such as Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Compromising Positions by Susan Isaacs, and Susan Howatch’s family sagas. Some I haven’t yet read but they’re on my TBR list. I hope that the Murder on Tour group will get readers updating their own TBR lists. One of my early readers told me that she teaches a class in Early Western Civ and found herself jotting down the books on the ancient world that the Murder on Tour group read.
Have you considered producing an audiobook version of your books?
Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime, James River Writers, and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor. Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive. She enjoys reading, walking, movies, traveling, theatre, and museums.