Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am excited to welcome Karen here today!!
Write what you (would like to) know
Write what you know. I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard that saying about as often as “Please pass the salt.” (Maybe more, come to think of it. Perhaps we could stand to work on dinnertime etiquette.)
To my mind (and with apologies to Mr. Twain), if we all wrote what we knew the literary landscape would be awfully dull. There would be no Lord of the Rings. There would be no Miss Marple. The entire realm of science fiction and fantasy would be nonexistent. And all murder mysteries would be penned by people wearing orange jumpsuits.
For years, I did write what I knew. In the spiral-bound notebooks that littered my apartment (and, eventually, house), I wrote about the papers I didn’t want to write. I wrote about pancakes. I wrote about how much I couldn’t wait for summer to end. I even wrote about the science experiment I did in seventh grade. But it dawned on me at some point (somewhere around notebook #63, if I recall), that writing what I knew was not particularly interesting. It also occurred to me that if I was interested in writing fiction, it might benefit me to venture beyond the familiar (a.k.a. fairly boring, at least in my case).
When I began the Gray Whale Inn Mysteries ten years ago, although I’d spent summers on an island in Newfoundland, I had only been to Maine one time. I had never killed anyone. And I would never be confused with a domestic goddess, much less the type of person who could successfully run a quaint inn. But one May evening, as I sat in my Austin ranch with two small children and no hope of escape to cooler climes in sight, I started imagining what life would be like… if.
If, instead of living in Central Austin, I lived on a small island in Maine. If, in the place of filling baby bottles, I woke up every morning and baked muffins and strata for interesting guests. If I could smell beach roses on my afternoon walks and fall asleep to the sound of the ocean lapping at the rocks.
And if, of course, my neighbors started dropping like flies.
Ever since that time, I’ve been happily writing what I’d like to know. I’ve researched embezzling, poisonous plants, werewolves, magic spells, ghosts, shipwrecks, rumrunners, the Underground Railroad, and countless other fascinating subjects, most of which happily found a home on Cranberry Island. (Except the werewolves and magic spells. That’s another trilogy.) But I’m so glad I ignored that old adage. Because every time I pick up a pen (or, these days, the laptop), I get to escape to an alternate reality, where the scenery is fabulous, the characters are old friends, and I never know what might happen next.
I know I’m not the only one who gets to live different lives through writing – and reading. What about you? What fascinates you when you go to the bookstore – or when you sit down to write?
About This Author
Karen is the author of the Gray Whale Inn mystery series (the first of which, Murder on the Rocks, was nominated for an Agatha award for Best First Novel) and the Tales of an Urban Werewolf trilogy, featuring reluctant werewolf Sophie Garou.
When she’s not toting children to or from activities, teaching writing classes, or hitting the Hike and Bike trail, you can often find Karen at her local coffee house working on her next book. She lives in Austin with her husband, two children, and a house rabbit named Bunny.
Find out more about Karen by visiting her webpage here.
Brush with Death
(The Gray Whale Inn Mysteries)
5th in Series
MIDNIGHT INK (May 8, 2013)
An Imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
E-Book File Size: 837 KB
Winter on Cranberry Island should be a time for Natalie to relax but her niece is preparing to show her paintings at an art show, her future mother-in-law is coming to visit and she has just received a foreclosure notice for the Inn. Then she finds her niece’s mentor dead and when she realizes he really didn’t commit suicide she puts herself right in the line of fire as she tries to uncover the truth.
After just losing our house to foreclosure this one started out hitting a little close to home but as I continued to read Natalie’s circumstances were totally different than ours so I was able to get right past it and enjoy the splendor of Cranberry Island and its residents. But the financial woes of another character did break my heart.
The mystery had more than a few twists and kept me enthralled to the final page. John was away from the island when the murder occurred so Natalie was sleuthing on her own. Gwen was dealing with conflicting advice from Natalie and the gallery owner while trying to deal with her mentor’s death. John’s mother grew by leaps and bounds for me in this installment. Plus Natalie’s way with food and her ability to just whip something up had me drooling.
The author pulls us right into the story. We can feel the frigid air and the freezing water, smell the muffins baking and picture Gwen’s masterpieces with such ease. If this is a new series for you start at the beginning with Murder on the Rocks but if you are like me you have been waiting for this installment you will devour this story. Karen MacInerney has exceeded my expectations. I can’t wait to return to Cranberry Island again soon.
Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?
Thanks to the people at Midnight Ink
I have 1 copy to giveaway!!
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What fascinates you when you go to the bookstore – or when you sit down to write?
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Contest Will End May 29, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”