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!!
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
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Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Leave a comment for Karen for 5 Bonus Entries !
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
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.
CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM
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.”
Comments on “Cozy Wednesday with Author Karen MacInerney (Giveaway too!)”
I love to read about whatever piques my interest, whether it’s familiar or not. When it comes to writing, however, I have a difficult time with fiction. I prefer to research and write about things that appeal to me!
When I go to the bookstore I’m always fascinated by the diversity of the things I find interesting. Art books, new and old fiction, biographies, old books of poetry and on and on. I have to keep myself aware of the time or I’ll lose all track and miss something else I have scheduled that day.
I’m fascinated by the shear volume of mystery books at the bookstore these days.
So many of them with female protagonists… a big change since I was a kid.
I have a varied reading taste….cozy mysteries, horror, British mysteries, fantasy…but what draws me in initially are the covers. If the cover grabs my attention, then I read the synopsis to see if it will be a good read.
I’ve read – and liked – the first in the Grey Whale Inn series, and the second is coming up on my TBR list. (My wife has already read it and enjoyed it.)
I must get the first one in the series soon. Dee
A great interview. I love hearing how an author works. thinks.
I’m a big mystery lover, especially a cozy mystery, so what fascinates me the most when I walk into a bookstore is the shelves after shelves of mystery books to choose from! I could easily spend a day there looking at them all, and come out spending my whole checking account on more books! =)
I really enjoy her books!
Great review, I’m looking forward to reading the book.
I enjoyed learning about this author and her writing. Living in Nfld. during summers. I visited and it was extraordinary. Best wishes.
What an interesting post today. This series is captivating and special.
Oh, man–I totally agree with you! I mean there has to be some CORE thing I know… but if we stuck to ONLY what we knew, it would be boring indeed.
Those that have the motivation to learn what they don’t know, are those that will excell in all they do. Can’t wait to read your book.
When I go to the bookstore, it always fascinates me how I can limit myself to what I buy (it isn’t easy but I have to) I usually end up leaving with a bag full anyway! The book sounds wonderful and I have added it to my (seemingly endless) TBR list and wishlist. Thanks for the opportunity to win!
I can’t believe it’s been 10 years. Congratulations and please, please keep writing this wonderful series.
When I go into a bookstore, it’s going to be the cover, the synopsis that’s going to jump out at me. The problem is not to come home with the entire bookstore.
Karen, do you plan on doing anymore Gray Whale Inn series in th future?
Wow… what terrific responses. I can’t tell you how fun it has been to read them all (and to know there are other biblioaddicts out there). For those of you who already know the series, thanks so much for your support — I can’t tell you what it means to me. And for those who have not yet picked up a Gray Whale Inn mystery, I hope you enjoy them! Candace, I turned in GWI #6, Death Runs Adrift, a few weeks ago, and do have plans for more… I’m also starting a new series set on Dewberry Farm in Texas, featuring one of Natalie’s oldest friends. I’ll be introducing her in a Gray Whale Inn short story this fall, and the first book of the new series, Killer Jam, should be out around the same time. (This time I got to learn how to milk a cow, among other things. You should have seen the perplexed looks I got at the coffee shop when I was doing some of the research reading — SO YOU WANT TO BE A DAIRY FARMER — for this series. Ha!)
When I go to the bookstore I am more inclined to try a new author. There maybe a display or I may just see a cover that catches my eye. If I shop on amazon I usually know what book I want. I go to half price books weekly. I love the smell of a bookstore.
Welcome Karen! I’m sorry to say I haven’t read any of the Gray Whale Inn series, yet…! I love the soft colors on the cover of the new book. When I am at a bookstore, I am a sucker for a nice cover. I have stopped and read the back or flyleaf of many books that way and discovered some favorite read that way. Thanks for the chance to win!
When I go into a bookstore I love seeing all the books and having my pick of whatever one I want. I love looking at all the covers and seeing the new books that are out. Thank you for the chance to win.
When I visit a bookstore, I am always fascinated by the wonderful variety of books. I love mysteries, paranormal and historical romances. The covers catch my eye. I never leave without buying something. Thanks for the great giveaway.
this series is on my WishList!!
thank you for the giveaway!!!
I love to read cozy mysteries mostly but will read anything except horror or deep paranormal books.
I read the cover and go by the cover picture. But that may not always mean its a good book. I could wander in a book store or library all day long.
Sounds like something I would enjoy reading
I am so excited to hear a new book was coming out in this series~!
I had read a lot of science fiction, biographies and career books while I was growing up. Now, I prefer Cozy Mysteries. I have not been to Maine but, would not mind visiting through a good book.
I never get to read really great cozy mysteries like this. I don’t know why, but it is a rarity. The title alone and the name of the series is quite intriguing.
Going in to a bookstore—it’s better than a candy store; just the mix of different books, the chance to wander and guess what connects them, the rush of ideas…
I really like this title, thank you for the chance to win the book.
I love going into a bookstore, it’s like treasure hunting for just the perfect gem. And if they have a coffee bar, well it’s just the perfect place to hide away for a while and read.
Cant wait to read this book. Sound like a cozy mysteries.
I am fascinated by the sheer number of non-fiction topics people write about – everything from “What A Plant Knows” to how to resurrect antique farm tractors. When I sit down to write, I am fascinated by a number of things. How many distractions there really are around me, how my imagination suddenly seems to malfunction, how my senility prevents me from finding just the right word I am looking for until sometime next week, when it pops into my head without being summoned….
I love to just wander in a bookstore (or a library) and take in all the smells of the books—then start looking at the covers–and finally read a little about them on the cover or dust jacket.
We used to have a lovely bookstore very close to us, and when I would have time and money at the same time, I would take my “Book Book” and my list and my walker and go in to see what adventures I could find. I would head for the mystery section first and go through my list while sitting on my walker, scooting down the aisles. I have been a reader since childhood and I am so happy to report that my granddaughter is a reader, also. My daughter has never read for pleasure. So sad. There may be book stores elsewhere but ours are all gone and I am reduced to Amazon.com and the coldness of on line shopping…also, so sad.
I always love to pick up a new mystery book. I hope I win this.
Lol, you are SO correct!! I don’t want to read what someone else knows. I want to read what someone dreamed or fantasized or created from the hidden recesses of her mind!!
cc_clubbs at yahoo dot com
Karen, I really enjoy your Gray Whale Inn series. I am looking forward to reading #5!
What fascinates me at a bookstore? Everything! – in my favorite bookstore, Malaprop’s in Asheville, NC – an indie bookstore, with a coffee/tea shop, and a nice selection of book-related gift items, in addition to the books. There are cards posted throughout the stacks, identifying the recommended and favorite books of the sales associates.
Jane at Jane Reads
I love the mystery section of bookstores! I see so many books I want to read there…so many books, so little time. I have read a couple of the Gray Whale Inn mysteries and look forward to this one.
need a new book for my collection … thanks
I love bookstores and libraries. When I walk in, I take a deep breath and I feel like I have been invited to one big party and not sure which direction to start in. I love books! Visiting these places is heaven and I don’t want to leave.
I have tried to write before and just cannot get things to fit together correctly. I am in awe of those who can do it so well.
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