If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of June!

June 6 Maggie Toussaint, Confound It

June 13 Nicole J. Burton, Swimming Up the Sun

June 20 Julie Mulhern, Shadow Dancing

June 27 Abby L. Vandiver, Debut author, Secrets, Lies, & Crawfish Pies


Our June Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 6/2--Joanne Guidoccio, 6/9 Julie Mulhern, 6/16--Margaret S. Hamilton, 6/23--Kait Carson, and 6/30--Edith Maxwell.


Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/


Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)


Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:


Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, March 29, 2018

WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW by Gloria Alden



I chose to write my Catherine Jewell Mystery series in a fictional town called Portage Falls in northeast Ohio where I’ve lived all my life. The town is a composite of the small towns in my area and my imagination.


Conservatory in Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia


My main character Catherine Jewell is younger than I am and is a botanist who works part time in a large public garden. She also has her own garden center where she sells plants. So how is she anything like me? Well, I love gardening so it seemed like the way my character should be, too. I’m not into cooking so I wouldn’t have a food series. On the many vacations I’ve taken over the years with my siblings, we always make a point to visit large gardens like Longwood Gardens. I’ve been their twice now. So that’s how I’m able to describe Elmwood Gardens where Catherine works part time. Am I a botanist? No, but I have a sister who is and who helped me out sometimes in the beginning. What else do Catherine and I share? She lost her husband and only child, a daughter in an accident ten years before the book started. I lost my first born son John to cancer, and I know the pain of losing a child never quite goes away. I also lost my husband but not to death.
What about the other characters in my books? The other main character is John MacDougal the police chief in this small town who has never had to deal with a murder before in the first book. What do I know about a policeman’s job? Only from the hundreds of mysteries I’ve read over the years. He, of course, will eventually be Catherine’s boyfriend.

My brother who died 7 years ago. I miss him.

Then there’s Ed Flavian, who is based on my brother although my brother never worked in a public garden, he was an avid gardener who even propagated hostas of his own, and had many, many rhododendrons and other plants around his beautiful farm.

In my second book Bruce Twohill an environmentalist comes to town to try to stop a huge freeway from going through a wetlands. When staying in the bed and breakfast run by the police chief’s mother, Martha MacDougal, he ends up talking her into going on a backpacking trip with him on the Appalachian Trail in the Shenandoah Valley National Park. She tells Catherine all about it in the next book.






Here I am backpacking on one of my trips.

I’ve always been interested in saving the land, but what do I know about backpacking? When I was sixty years old after reading Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, My sister, Elaine thought we should do that so we bought backpacking equipment; back packs, small stoves, water purifier, backpacking tents, etc. and with three of her teenage children we drove down to Shenandoah National Park and hit the AT that went through there. At first her son had to put my pack on, but in a few days I could do it myself. We covered about thirty miles in the five days we hiked.                                                                                                     





A year when brother Phil, Cathi & her husband Bill joined us.

                                                                                 
The next year my sister Elaine with only her son that year, our younger brother Phil, with his two teenage sons, and my Washington state sister Catherine, with her teenage son went back down to hike more of the AT that year.







 From then on my sister Elaine and I continued the AT trail with her son, and sometimes we backpacked some Pennsylvania trails, too. After Elaine had a heart attack, we stopped the back packing. She survived and is just fine, but cell phone service in the mountains is unreliable so that ended our back packing although one of my brother’s sons did the whole AT a few years after we stopped. Would I like to go back packing again? Yes, but I don’t know anyone who would go with me, and I’ll admit I wouldn’t be able to go as fast and as long as I could before.

One thing that I have in every book is the breakfast meetings with elderly men in the local restaurant. It’s one of the things I noticed if on our camping trips we decided to go to the nearest restaurant instead of cooking breakfast in the campground before we headed out on a hike or on to another place.


 In my third book,Ladies of the Garden Club  I have three members of the Garden Club poisoned. (Thank you Luci, the Poison Lady).  I do have four books on poisons, and I am quite aware of what plants are poisonous that I grow, too. I pull up the deadly nightshade that grows by my barn and get rid of it in case it spreads into the pasture where my ponies graze.






In the fourth book, The Body in the Goldenrod, I haven’t been to a Civil War reenactment, but I have been to Gettysburg, and a woman in our writers group writes only Civil War books and stories. She and her husband are re-enactors.

In the fifth book Murder in the Corn Maze I made a point of going to walk in one since it had been a long time since I had gone to one.

In the rest of the books it’s been mostly my imagination except for Catherine’s grandfather going into a nursing home. My father was in one and so were several cousins.

And now we get to the tenth book I’m working on, Daffodils in March. The newspaper is full of the opioid problem so I’m bringing that into this book as it just came to Portage Falls.
This is not near my house.
     
Also, I decided it’s time to bring a few Amish families to the area around Portage Falls because I have Amish families in my township. Horse and buggies go down my road, and the blacksmith who trims my ponies’ hooves lives a few miles from me. I have to drive there to pick him up. Once he was busy mowing the field behind his house so his wife invited me in. When she heard I wrote books, she was interested and said she loved to read so I gave her the first book in my series.

P.S. My collie Maggie barks at them from the living room or beside the house. I think she doesn’t believe horses should be on the road. At least she doesn’t go near the road.  
This is an Amish nursery my sisters and I visit every spring.

                                                                                                                                                                         What do you feel comfortable writing about in your books?
. .

11 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

I like to make the details of the locale I'm using as close to real as possible, which often means a scouting trip to refresh my mind or see what has changed since I last was in the area.

My next (Empty Promises 4/3/18) is set in the area we live for half the year, so little additional research necessary, but I did make sure to travel all the roads and paths to make sure there were no new beaver dams or gates to block the way.

Margaret Turkevich said...

I write a fictionalized version of what I know and have observed about a place, using current social issues and technology (cell phones, social media) to make it real.

Small town Ohio life and high schools, perennial gardens, interior design and renovation.

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, I'm almost done with Empty Promises and I knew that takes place in where you live when you're not south. I'm thoroughly enjoying the book and losing sleep over it because I'm reading it while in bed and can''t bear to stop reading. In fact I woke up at 2:00 am to use the bathroom and ended up reading it when I got back in bed for almost another hour.

Margaret, I'd like to read what you have written. Do you have anything published yet that I can order?

Anonymous said...

Okay Gloria, here's my new book idea... my main character will house sit for a sweet crazy old murder mystery writer who lives in a haunted house. This city girl has to feed one large dog, one indoor cat, three birds, two ponies, five chickens, and two barn cats. Trust me... it will be a comedy. Like the time I was feeding hay to the ponies and dropped a large clump of hay. When I bent over to scoop it back up in my arms... one of the ponies tried to eat my dark blonde hay-colored hair!!!

E. B. Davis said...

LOL, Gloria--I do the same thing in the middle of the night!

I think it is wise to set books with an in depth knowledge of the area, not only the physical setting, but the people, too. Many fiction series featuring the Amish reveal the authors' lack of knowledge. But when a series is continued, I think the plot needs to be new and fresh to keep readers' interest, which requires researching new topics. So, a blend of known and unknown helps keeps a series vital, but then authors need to grown and keep interested in their writing so having new material to research keeps books, their writers, and readers, fresh.

KM Rockwood said...

Your comfortable familiarity with so much of the background, geography, etc. in your books comes through clearly.

I'm looking forward to the next one!

Warren Bull said...

Your strategy is: learn what you need to know before you write. I agree wholeheartedly.

Carla Damron said...

I love learning new things as part of my writing process. But there's also comfort in exploring what I already know-- social issues, mostly. NEVER will I write a cooking centered mystery, cuz I don't cook and don't want to learn how!!

Gloria Alden said...

Laura, I've been begging you for years to get back to writing. I like your idea for your book. I hope you have the first chapter written before our next writers group meeting.

E.B. Your're so right about some writers having no knowledge of the Amish One of those writers won an Agatha for best first book. Three writers who do know about the Amish are Linda Castello, Karen Harper and Amanda Flower. All three have lived in areas with the Amish. One of the things I didn't mention in my blog is that an Old Order Amish woman, Lavina Eicher who now lives in southern Michigan writes a weekly column that is in my newspaper and I cut out her columns and save them. She's also had three cookbooks published I enjoy reading her columns on what is going on in her life with her husband, eight children most of them grown now and grandchildren.

I agree with you about trying to bring in new topics with each book, but still bringing back favorite characters if not in every book at least eventually. Because my later books are when Elmwood Gardens isn't open for the winter, I've left out two characters who worked there. They will probably return in the latest book I'm working on Daffodils in March.

Thank you, KM. I've been poking along with the latest for a while, but now I'm back at it writing at least one or two or more chapters a week. My two Guppy critique partners are very happy I'm back to writing it. By the way, are you back to writing another Jesse Damon book yet?

Marilyn Levinson said...

Gloria,

You've led a most interesting life and have made good use of your experiences and relationships in your mysteries. When I start a series, I begin with a setting/situation familiar to me: an over-55 community, a book club, a high school, a local library. With each book I like to branch out and include other issues and topics.

Gloria Alden said...

Carla, I hear you on that. I was never fond of cooking. Of course being married and having four kids I had to cook and do some baking, too, but it was a chore and not something I loved to do.What I cook now that I live alone except for my critters is something like chili or spaghetti
or chicken vegetable soup that will last for days.

Marilyn so far I'm sticking with one series. So far I can bring up something different with each new book and add a new character, too, as well as previous ones that my readers seem to enjoy.
I want to read some of your other series.

Warren, you must have popped up when I was answering some of the others who had written. Yes, that is my strategy although I don't think of it that way. Whatever I'm doing I do have a following who look forward to my next book.