Cozy Wednesday with Author Jennie Bentley (Giveaway too!)

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so excited that Jennie is here today. Hubby and I used to be quite the Do-It-Yourselfers. We extensively remodeled 2 of our houses and even worked as home builders for awhile. In fact Mr. Dollycas with the help of friends and family built the house we live in today. Even with one side paralyzed I took great pleasure in doing the several coats required to stain and finish most of the interior trim and doors. So when I read about the tasks and projects Derek and Avery take on it just gives me a comfy feeling. Thankfully we have not come across any dead bodies but it wouldn’t be a cozy mystery with one or two of those popping up unexpectedly. Jennie is one of the masters of the cozy mystery genre and in this installment she had excited about one of the settings as well as the story. I will let her tell you all about it.

Hi Jennie!

Hi Everyone!

When Lori emailed last week to remind me that I’d promised to write a blog post for the release of Wall-to-Wall Dead,she happened to remark on the church in the book where a couple of the scenes take place. A high school friend of Derek’s is getting married, and the wedding takes place in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, Maine.

The rest of the book takes place in Waterfield, which is a small fictitious – or fictional; I can’t keep those straight – town about forty five minutes north of Portland by car. You take Interstate 295 north, you get off at the Brunswick exit, you pass through Brunswick and keep going for twenty minutes or so, and you’ll end up in Waterfield. Just as soon as you pass Barnham College and the entrance to the snobby Wellhaven development.

No, it isn’t really there. That’s just where I chose to put it back in 2007, when I had a map of New England pinned to the wall, a blindfold on, and a dart in my hand, trying to figure out where to set this new mystery series I was starting to write.

Obviously New England is a real place. Maine is a real state. Portland is a real city. Brunswick is a real town, and so is Boothbay Harbor, on the other side of Waterfield. Waterfield isn’t. Rowanberry Island, which featured prominently in book 4, Mortar and Murder, and which crops up again in the prologue to Wall to Wall Dead, isn’t either.

I chose to make Waterfield fictitious for a couple of different reasons. The first one is that I’ve never actually been to Maine, and although I can write with a certain degree of accuracy about the landscape there – it’s a lot like Norway, where I grew up – it would be a lot harder to describe an actual town I’d never been to. One grove of pine trees looks much like another, and one craggy coast is a lot like the next one. But if I picked a real town, sooner or later I’d hear from someone who’d been there that I’d put the Starbucks on the wrong corner or the elementary school on the wrong street. Going fictional was a lot easier; I could just build the town I wanted from the ground up.

The other reason is that once you use something real in your book – be it person, place, or thing – you’d better be sure you speak nicely about it. If you don’t, someone will come get you. And when you’re writing about murder and mayhem, it’s safer to keep things fictitious. Less chance that someone will sue you.

So I made Waterfield fictitious, but put it in a real place in the real world. In a way, if everything around it is real, it becomes real too, by default. I’ve had people ask me whether it’s actually there. And no, it isn’t. Boothbay Harbor is there. Brunswick is there. I-295 to Portland is there. And the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is there. It really does have a tower that’s 204 feet tall, where on a clear day you can see the mountains of New Hampshire on one side and the bay on the other. It does have Franz Mayer Bavarian stained glass windows and Stations of the Cross in Venetian glass mosaic. And if I lived in Portland and didn’t already have a husband, it would be where I’d want to be married too.

So what do you think? Do you have a preference when you read? Do you like real places you’ve been – or might go – to, or places made up from whole cloth in the author’s mind? Or some sort of combination? Have you ever visited a place you read about in a book because the author made it so vivid you just had to see it for yourself? And if you could pick a fictitious place and go hang out for a while, which place would you pick and why?


I love the combination of real and fictitious. I have to say after Jennie told me the cathedral was real I had to do a search on the internet because I just had to see if the picture in my mind from Jennie’s words matched the real thing. It was amazing how she took me there in the story. I wished I could visit there in person. I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone but after you read the book check out this site to see the pictures. Let me know what you think.

About Jennie Bentley

New York Times bestselling author Jennie Bentley writes the Do It Yourself home renovation mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. As Jenna Bennett, she writes a variety of romance – from contemporary to futuristic and from paranormal to suspense – for Entangled Publishing. She also writes and publishes the bestselling Cutthroat Business Mysteries for her own gratification. Her most recent release is Wall-to-Wall Dead (A Do-It-Yourself Mystery), the 6th in the series.

Find Her on Facebook here.
Here on Twitter.
On Her Website Here.

Wall-to-Wall Dead (A Do-It-Yourself Mystery)
6th in the Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (September 4, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cozy Mystery
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages ISBN-13: 978-0425255568
Cover Illustration by Jennifer Taylor/Paperdog Studio
Cover Design by Rita Frangie

Wall-to-Wall Dead (A Do-It-Yourself Mystery, #6)

Derek and Avery are fixing up a cute little condo in Waterfield, Maine. It reminds Avery of her tiny apartment in Manhattan. She hopes to use some “tricks of the trade” that she has learned to make the small condo into a place with a more open feeling. It should be a quick job and a fast sale as the need the money as they wait for the right buyer to come along for the huge project they had just completed.

The only drawback to the project is the little old lady in the downstairs condo. She watches every move every resident of the building makes from her perch in front of her window. Hilda loves to snoop and keep track of everything happening outside her window.

When Hilda is missing from her window for a whole day Avery gets suspicious.  She convinces Derek to break open the door so they can make sure she is all right. It is then they find that the busybody is now a dead body. While most people think she has died of natural causes Avery thinks there is more to the story. No one seems sad that Hilda is gone. Some residents are even happy. Maybe the old lady had some dirt on one of the residents, a secret they didn’t want to get out. Could anyone have a secret worth killing for? Avery is determined to find out by doing a little snooping of her own.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Checking in with Derek and Avery is like getting together with old friends. I love to see what they are up to and their projects never fail to spark some DIY ideas for around the house.

Every small town and most apartment buildings have someone who could be called a busybody but Hilda is a busybody extraordinaire. In my synopsis I called her seat in front of her window her “perch”, that is so fitting because she seemed to me like an ornery old bird. Too bad her snooping got her into so much trouble.

Jennie Bentley is one of the master writers of the cozy mystery genre. She has created characters we care about and she has a plethora of ideas for having trouble find them. The stories are fun and full of suspects which keeps the reading guessing. This one fooled me right to the end.

The setting in part of this book took us to the  Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, Maine. After reading about this wonderful building I had to find out if it was a real place. It is! Jennie’s words had formed a picture in my mind.  All I can say is her words took me there and the pictures confirmed that this cathedral really is an awesome place. The best books help us to escape and travel without ever leaving home. This one did that for me!! I know Waterfield is a fictional place but the author has painted it so clearly in our minds that we can escape there in each installment without any need to physical pictures.  From Barnham College to Waterfield Inn. You can travel around Waterfield with ease and be drawn right into the lives of its residents from the seat of your cozy chair.

Wall-to-Wall Dead is a wonderful cozy mystery and a perfect escape.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Jennie for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End September 19, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.


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.”

56 thoughts on “Cozy Wednesday with Author Jennie Bentley (Giveaway too!)

  1. I enjoy reading about places with which I’m familiar, but I admit that I get angry when the authors get things wrong. Consequently, reading about fictional places near real ones works perfectly for me!

  2. One writer told me she’s always careful that if someone dies in a hotel that it’s a fictitious one. Hotel owners are not too happy if you kill someone in their hotel!

    1. No, they’re not. Restaurants aren’t, either, especially if you imply food poisoning. And if you reference a real person, dead or alive, you better make sure you say nice things about him or her!

  3. I find that using fictional places as the main setting is a very good thing, then the characters can go to real places for a short time and there is less chance of having someone think the wrong thing about the real place. I just love this series!!!

  4. I enjoy a combination of real and fictional places. I have a great imagination so putting the two together, you have the perfect place. A real area that I like is the New England area especiallly in the Fall. Ah, the crispness in the air, the trees changing to their beautiful Fall shades and a warm, fuzzy sweater. Yum!

    1. I LOVE fall! It’s my favorite time of year. I can usually find something to like about all of them, but there’s just something about fall. The cooler weather, the pretty colors, the bright blue sky… and I guess it’s left over from being a kid and starting the school year in the fall, but fall has always been about new beginnings more so than spring or even New Year for me.

      Thanks for commenting!

  5. Hi Jennie,

    I like reading about places I’ve been like Michigan, Colorado, Texas & Vegas, but I also like reading about places I’d like to go like the NE & NW parts of the U.S. In the winter I like reading books that take me to warm climates like Florida, Texas, California or a tropical island. Those help escape the long, cold winters in Iowa!

    I’m surprised you’ve written so many books in this series that take place in Maine without having been there! I look forward to reading this!

    1. Thanks, Barbara! I love reading about foreign places, actually. It’s a bit like being able to go to Paris and Rome and the Greek Islands. 🙂

  6. I’m starting to redo my bedroom in two weeks. Sounds like reading your book would put me in the mood and help me get through it!

    1. Definitely! There are how-to tips in all the books. I’ve done my own share of renovating. Bedrooms was DIY-3, IIRC. Plaster and Poison. 🙂

  7. I love the New England Wish your novels were great giant the enjoyment would linger longer and last and last!! The best things are having the next book in the series ready to go and dig into!!

    1. LOL! My novels are great giant tomes. I always write 10,000 words more than my contracts. They should by rights be a lot shorter than they are. 🙂

  8. I absolutely loved Fatal Fixer-Upper! I am on my way to reading your whole series! My husband and I are in the process of our own home remodel that has been going on for a few months now… So, I can relate. Keep up the great work!

  9. Sounds like a wonderful book with terrific DIY ideas. Looking forward to reading the entire series (so far) and hoping that there are many others…..

  10. I think this series sounds very interesting, and I will be anxious to read this one. =)
    Even though I havent done alot of remolding myself, I wouldnt mind helping someone else.

    1. Remodeling can be fun. And a lot of hard work. And as Derek says, it always takes longer and costs more than you expect. 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

    1. LOL! I remodeled nine of them in nine years, some we lived in and some we didn’t. Have no desire for another. Next time someone else can do the work. I’ll sit and watch.

  11. Love your book cover. Sounds like a great book. I like a combination. I kind of go with what the author writes. I do like it to seem like you could really go there though. And you can picture it in your mind.

  12. I think I like a combination of real and imagined for settings. Certainly gives the authors more latitude. Can’t wait to read the new book! Thanks for the chance to win.

  13. No preference – it depends upon the story. I like stories that reference where I live (MN) but also like fictional so I can give it nuances of my own. Even at my age my imagination is still active!

    1. A healthy imagination is a wonderful thing! No reason you should have to stop imagining, either. Adulthood is highly overrated.

  14. I was just looking at pictures of our neighbors new house. They will move after they sell their present one. The book they created shows some of the before renovations and some after. So reading your book would be a good follow up.

  15. I like both ideas a real and fake mix together make my imagination go wild , so I can get a clear image where it is located. I can’t wait to read the book. 🙂

  16. I like both places. I like to picture places but i love the author’s fictious towns. Sometimes i wish i live in the fictious town to get away from reality. Congrats on your new book. Can’t wait to read it. 🙂

  17. I love settings that have some real and fake places..same with People.D.I.Y. .series sounds perfect as our house has planned remodeling projects this Fall ! I want to read your book! Do you take time off or are you working on the next book? How do you spend any free time? Wishing you much success:)

  18. I really enjoy books that I can relate to in some way. I went to summer camp in Maine and I have also visited several other New England states so I am familiar with the landscapes and culture. I am also a DIY’er. I had a horse farm for 30+ years and did everything from building an 8-stall barn from the ground up to renovating a 100+ year-old farmhouse that hadn’t been touched in 50 years, building 5 miles of fence and repairing everything, including tractors. My Fine Arts degree was little help so every project was a wonderful learning experience and successful completion of a project gave me great satisfaction. DIY’ers are a breed apart and I fully appreciate the results of their endeavors. This book sounds like one I would especially enjoy. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.

  19. I would really ejoy reading this book. Nothing keeps me more entertained than a good mystery!

  20. I would love to win this book!! I liked on facebook, I following on twitter, I posted on facebook. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

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