Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to welcome Samara Yew
to Escape With Dollycas today!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello! I’m a cozy mystery author who lives on a small acreage in BC, Canada with my husband, son, and two sweedy dogs (that’s sweet but needy.) Murder by the Seashore is the first book in the California Bookshop Mysteries, and I wrote its first draft during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November 2020.
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
1. Most people reading this are probably pronouncing my name wrong. It’s okay; I forgive you. But it’s pronounced Sah-mare-rah. The mare rhymes with air not car.
2. My family loves to travel so much that we realized our son has been to eleven countries and he isn’t even three years old yet. I’ve been to twenty-three, so he still has some catching up to do. And yes, traveling with a toddler is extremely exhausting, but we’ve made some amazing memories.
3. I love green bananas. They are so much better than ripe bananas.
What books/authors have most inspired you?
The Library Lover’s Mysteries by Jenn McKinlay for the gorgeous setting and humor.
The Secret, Book, and Scone Society Mysteries by Ellery Adams for the strong friendships and quaint bookshop.
The Seaside Café Mysteries by Bree Baker for the quirky characters and page-turning mysteries.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I don’t do a lot of research, but I do make an outline. I usually spend a few weeks on it before I start actually writing. But then I totally go off-outline. Sometimes I’m not even sure how my books get written because the process can be all over the place.
Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?
Not really. I suffer from “Not Very Much Time To Write,” so the odd hour or so I get to sit down and write, I have so much built up in me that there’s no time for Writer’s Block.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Read lots, especially in your genre (hey, it’s considered homework!)
When you are not writing what do you like to do?
I love to read, travel, swim, and bake.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
I’ve honestly been fortunate enough to check most places off my bucket list of places to go. Two places I would love to return to are London and Tokyo because I didn’t get to spend enough time in either.
What is next on the horizon for you?
I’m working on book two of the California Bookshop Mysteries. It’s been fun to be back with Scarlett and the Palm Trees and Page Turners’ gang as they get into more mischief around Southern California.
Thank you, Samara, so much for visiting today.
Keep reading for my thoughts about Murder by the Seashore.
About Murder by the Seashore
Murder by the Seashore (A California Bookshop Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – California
Crooked Lane Books (October 17, 2023)
Hardcover : 256 pages
ISBN-10 : 1639104933
ISBN-13 : 978-1639104932
Digital ASIN : B0BSKSHZF5
Perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Ellery Adams, Scarlett Gardner’s dream was to open a bookshop in Southern California, but it soon becomes a nightmare when she finds the dead body of a customer—and becomes the prime suspect.
Southern California is where dreams come true—or so Scarlett Gardner thought. When she moved there and opened the Palm Trees and Page Turners bookshop, she thought her boyfriend and business partner would be part of the story. When he leaves her for a better job, Scarlett finds herself struggling to keep her new business afloat. That’s not the only thing she has to worry about—she discovers something underneath the pier by her bookshop that she didn’t outline for her life’s story: the dead body of a book-buying customer.
After Scarlett gives a statement to the police, she thinks her life can go back to business as usual. But when a lawyer, representing someone named Lorelai Knight, tells Scarlett that she now stands to inherit a small fortune, she’s left with more questions than answers. Before she can make sense of any of it, the police bring her in for questioning; the body she found was Lorelai Knight. And the evidence they have against Scarlett doesn’t look good. Business is booming as Scarlett returns to Palm Trees and Page Turners, but for all the wrong reasons – curious tourists don’t want books, they want a glimpse of the Bookshop Killer.
Who could really be behind all of this? And why frame Scarlett? To clear her name, she’s going to have to get creative—and hope she can remain one page ahead of the killer.
Welcome to Palm Trees and Page Turners, a new bookshop in Southern California owned by Scarlett Gardner. The original dream of opening included Scarlett’s boyfriend as her business partner but their relationship imploded when he left her and the business for a “better job”. The dream also didn’t include her finding one of her customers dead underneath the nearby pier or that she would be a suspect in the murder. Her motive, the dead woman left Scarlett a fortune in her will. But Scarlett has no idea why, she only visited the bookshop once. She is clearly being framed, but by whom, and why? She has those and many more questions to be answered so that she can get on with her life and prove she is not the “Bookshop Killer”.
I am very impressed with this first California Bookshop Mystery!
The author does an excellent job of introducing Scarlett Gardner and all the supporting cast. I love that Scarlett has a fantastic roommate who can really come to her rescue when needed. Scarlett’s employee Evelyn is very capable but a bit pushy which gave me pause. Evelyn’s husband is the lead detective on the murder case. Scarlett’s ex Connor shows back up in town too. Lucia and Scarlett’s friend Hiroki works at his family’s restaurant and was also friends with Connor. All the characters are very well crafted for the first book in the series. I enjoyed the way they grew over the course of the story while leaving room to evolve as the series continues. The connections make sense and the dialogues ring true.
The entire book was very well-plotted and there were layers to peel away. The murder mystery had some nice twists and the clues were dropped with precision. I had pared my suspects down to two when the last twist made everything clear and the dramatic showdown began. I was delighted with the way things played out.
I do love the setting for this series. Escaping to a sunny beach with a good book is my paradise and this book places that perfectly within reach.
Murder by the Seashore has given this series a marvelous start. Interesting characters, two compelling mysteries to solve, and an ideal setting are everything I need for a Perfect Escape. I am excited for this series to continue to see what Ms. Yew has in store for Scarlett next.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
More About Samara Yew
Samara Yew is a cozy mystery author who writes about adorable bookshops and dead bodies. A full-time mom, full-time dog servant, and part-time writer, Samara lives in British Columbia, Canada, where she can often be found watching Psych reruns. Samara loves to travel, especially visiting her husband’s home country of Singapore or donning Mickey ears in Disneyland. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers.
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