First, I want to shout out a big thanks to my friend and fellow author, Jo Chumas, for giving me this blog challenge. I have the utmost respect for her and her work.
Though I’ve mostly written cozy mysteries, I’ve taken a departure in my latest creation. It’s a bit more serious, but still focused on entertaining, rich characters who drive the story. Now, the task at hand is to answer questions about a character from one of my books – WIP or already published. I’ve chosen the female heroine in my recent WIP mystery, Grave Maker Blues. This is the first novel in an anticipated series that takes place in the Alleghenies of northwestern Pennsylvania. I chose this setting because it’s where our family has a cabin and I have many special memories of this beautiful country -- covering sixty-some years in my lifetime. It’s rich with history and scenery. Anyway, here goes …
DESCRIBE THE MAIN CHARACTER:
Sarah Blue Mackenzie, known to friends as Mac, is a young woman who by the age of eighteen had lost both her parents. It forced her to become strong and independent. With tending the bar, Moe’s Deja Blue Bar and Grill, inherited from her father, Mac’s life is busy enough. However, she’s been given the added role of caregiver to her Uncle Chaz who is crippled and partially blind due to diabetes. His career as a writer of historical books and articles would be over if it weren’t for Mac. She’s become his research assistant, or fact finder as she likes to call herself.
Sarah is a loyal, hard working, and loving woman, yet there is a part of her that always looks for more. Love evades her, or so she thinks. And mystery seems to surround her.
SETTING – WHERE AND WHEN:
The Allegheny Forest of northwestern Pennsylvania is picturesque to say the least. But it’s also a place of adventure, rich culture with the Seneca and Iroquois people and their history, and lots of wildlife. Mac’s home is located on Roper Hollow Road, close to the Kinzua Reservoir, and not coincidently, the place you would find our family cabin! The story is in the present, though there are references to the past, which play a significant part in the mystery.
THE MAIN CONFLICT, HOW IT CHALLENGES HER, WHAT SHE CAN DO TO SOLVE IT:
As I mentioned, one of the roles Mac takes on in this story is that of researcher or fact finder. In the opening scene Mac visits a cemetery to collect birth and death data for Uncle Chaz’ latest book on the history of local Native American families. Rather than having a routine day of tedious data collecting, Mac discovers a body lying in an open grave. The problem? The face is familiar and that person was assumed to have died over ten years ago. Matters get more complicated when Mac becomes suspected of murder. Finding out the true identities of the victim and the murderer becomes a priority in Mac’s life. Throw the challenge of impending romance into the mix and you have a quite entertaining tale. Nash Redwing has been her friend since their youth, but could this be changing? Mac has her doubts, but also hopeful expectations.
BOOK TITLE AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE:
I’ve titled the book Grave Maker Blues. It’s intended as part of a series called Shades of Blue. There are many references both literal and figurative which led me to the titles. Sarah’s middle name is Blue, as are all the family members on her father’s side. There’s a story behind that, and it’s explained in the book. Wouldn’t want to spoil the fun! The bar Mac owns, which she inherited from her father, Moe, is called Moe’s Deja Blue Bar and Grill. And last but not least, Nash Redwing plays guitar and sings blues music. I think you can guess the figurative reference to Shades of Blue.
Once I’ve polished the work to its shiny best I will start the process of pedaling it off to an agent. (Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed!) Be waiting and watching for news about this.
I guess that’s about it. Thanks again to Jo Chumas. You’ll find anything and everything about her and her work at her website/blog:
http://www.jochumas.com/blog and Twitter: @JoChumas . Her award winning novel, The Hidden, is available through such online retailers as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
**Now, for the not so great news I won’t be passing the baton, so to speak, to move this along to future blogs. I wasn’t able to persuade anyone to take on the task, but we all have super busy lives! Right? I wasn’t even sure if I’d get this out in time. Still, it’s all good. Cheers! And happy writing, everyone!
Mystery Writer -- Lilly M Series
Dying to Dream
A Deadly Deed Grows (soon to be released)