Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What Makes a Psychological Thriller Psychological? A guest post from Holly Brown

RHYS BOWEN: One of the fun aspects of being a Jungle Red is meeting new-to-me writers. And when I was introduced to Holly Brown I found out that she lives in San Francisco, so we're almost neighbors! So I'm welcoming her today to share her insights into psychological thrillers. And it turns out that her pet peeve is mine too! Is it yours as well?

HOLLY BROWN: I’m a therapist who writes psychological thrillers (or domestic suspense, if you prefer.) And I have to confess to one of my pet peeves in the genre: When after a novel full of fascinating twists and turns, the final answer turns out to be, “The sociopath did it” (or “the psychopath,” if you prefer.)
It’s just such a cop-out. I mean, humans are inherently fascinating, full of complicated and contradictory motivations. Good people do bad things all the time. Why? The simple answer is: the unique psychology of the characters, plus enormous stress. That intersection is where a truly great writer of the genre can work magic.
I’m lucky in that I hear all sorts of stories all the time in my therapy office. So I’m constantly reminded of people’s vulnerabilities, struggles, and resilience. The struggles might start with the external circumstance, but then become internal, with the stereotypical angel versus devil on their shoulder. They might know what they should do, but they have all sorts of rationalizations that lead them to do something else. Or sometimes, people are just presented with exceedingly hard choices, and what’s right is not nearly as clear. In times of extreme emotional or physical pain, or intense fear, or rage, people can become capable of what they never thought possible.
That’s where some phenomenal fiction is born—with real people in crazy-making circumstances. My favorite suspense books make me believe that this particular person, when under these particular stresses, with that particular history would have taken a particular action that makes all hell break loose, credibly.

That’s the kind of novel I tried to write with THIS IS NOT OVER, my next release in January. And below are three of my favorite examples of psychological thrillers made psychological (or psychology made thrilling, if you prefer):

1) Turn of Mind, by Alice LaPlante –
Dr. Jennifer White, once an accomplished surgeon, is now afflicted with Alzheimer’s. When her neighbor and friend is found dead with four fingers severed at the joints, Dr. White is the logical suspect. But did she commit the crime, or is she being framed? And how can she piece it together with a crumbling memory?
It’s as good as it sounds. Alice LaPlante works in enough medical data and information about how memory operates (and how it begins to fail) to ground the story without diluting the suspense. I was totally caught up, and I believed it all.

2) Under the Harrow, by Flynn Berry
Nora goes to visit her sister Rachel in the countryside outside London, and discovers that Rachel has been murdered. It’s a mystery because we want to know who did it; it’s also a thriller as Nora is in danger herself and harboring various secrets, her own and her sister’s. It’s a short book and a fast read, but a powerful one. The sisters’ relationship and Nora’s grief packs an emotional and psychological punch.

3) A Line of Blood, by Ben McPherson
Alex Mercer loves his 11-year-old son Max and his wife Millicent. They’re his whole world. But after a neighbor is found dead, Alex faces a reckoning in the most important relationships in his life. How far would you go to protect those you love?
Max is precocious, as children often are in thrillers, but not beyond the pale. The marital and the parental relationships are expertly drawn, and the tensions ratchet beautifully. These are flawed and difficult personalities, and no, they’re not always likable, but they’re intriguing.

So that’s my short list! What’s on yours?

Holly Brown lives with her husband and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she’s a practicing marriage and family therapist.  Her blog, “Bonding Time”, is featured on, a mental health website with 1.5 million visitors per month. Her novels from HarperCollins/Morrow are: DON’T TRY TO FIND ME, A NECESSARY END, and the forthcoming (in January) THIS IS NOT OVER. She also has an e-book only novella called STAY GONE available now from Harper Impulse.

RHYS: If you are dying to find out about Holly's upcoming novel, here is the scoop on it: THIS IS NOT OVER:
A chance encounter through a vacation home rental site leads to an escalating game of cat-and-mouse between two very different women. Two very different women, that is, with one thing in common: Each knows they're right, and they're determined to win this battle of words and wills and (eventually) worse. No one can yield, not before they’ve dredged up hidden secrets, old hurts, and painful truths that threaten to shatter the foundation of their lives.

Follow Holly on Facebook at 
or her website

Holly will be giving away an advance copy to one lucky commenter today. So do share your favorite psychological suspense novels with us.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Rhys Bowen: When I read the first book in D.E Ireland's series featuring Eliza Doolittle as a sleuth I thought what a brilliant idea it was (and also why didn't I think of it first!) These books are such fun and I'm looking forward to reading GET ME TO THE GRAVE ON TIME that debuts this month. And I'm happy to have the two ladies who write under the joint pseudonym come to visit on Jungle Red today. Take it away ladies:

With the third book in our Eliza Doolittle/Henry Higgins series debuting this November, we thought it both fitting and gracious that Jungle Reds has invited us to visit for a third time. The series’ latest installment, Get Me To The Grave On Time is an Edwardian version of Four Weddings And A Funeral. Naturally, brides – and murder – take center stage. While our heroine Eliza is not saying “I do” anytime soon, she does find herself a bridesmaid or a guest at all the nuptials. However, given the events that transpire in the first three books, Eliza is not quite the young woman she was at the beginning. Nor should she be. We’d like to examine how everyone’s favorite Cockney flower girl can transcend not only her circumstances, but her creator’s original intentions.

Hold up a kaleidoscope, look through the eyepiece, and marvel at the delightful array of colors. Now imagine that colorful mosaic as a character in a book – and twist the kaleidoscope again. The colors fall into a different pattern, one just as lovely and intricate. A literary character can also change with only a few twists of the writing kaleidoscope. When that character is one of the main protagonists in a series, the author has to be careful not to rearrange the pieces too much, or else the original character might become unrecognizable. As co-authors of the Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mystery series, we decided early on that the kaleidoscope known as Eliza Doolittle would include more colors and surprises than her creator George Bernard Shaw ever dreamed of.

When we first had the idea of using Shaw’s characters, we were aware that much of the initial hard work was done for us. Shaw had already created Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins, the stars of his play Pygmalion and the popular musical it inspired, My Fair Lady. And he also gave us the remarkable transformation of his main character Eliza Doolittle. Due to Professor Higgins’s desire to win a wager he made with his friend Colonel Pickering, and Eliza’s equally fierce determination to better herself, this “guttersnipe” flower girl is turned into an elegant lady by the end of the play.

According to Shaw’s essay on the subject, he never intended Eliza and Higgins to become a romantic couple. Instead, Shaw envisioned Eliza marrying the hapless Freddy Eynsford Hill; the young couple go on to open a flower shop, but their lack of business sense land them in financial trouble, requiring the kind assistance of Colonel Pickering. We thought this seemed a banal future for the resourceful and unstoppable Eliza Doolittle. So we twisted the kaleidoscope.

At the end of Pygmalion, Eliza – the ‘ideal woman’ in Shaw’s view – announces that she wants her independence. Well, we gave it to her. In Wouldn’t It Be Deadly, the first book in our series, Eliza has gone off to teach phonetics with Emil Nepommuck, one of Higgins’s biggest scholarly rivals. When the Hungarian is murdered, Higgins finds himself the prime suspect, leaving Eliza to track down his killer and save the Professor from prison. At the end of the book, Eliza is truly on an equal footing with the irascible, stubborn, and demanding Henry Higgins.

We twisted the kaleidoscope once more in Move Your Blooming Corpse, when we brought Eliza back to 27-A Wimpole Street. This time, she takes up residence as a fellow phonetics instructor, not a student. Given the political climate of 1913, we also created a female character devoted to the suffrage movement. Through her, Eliza becomes involved with the suffragettes and deepens her understanding of the larger world. While her teaching fees have given Eliza more financial security than she’s ever known, we wanted to widen her prospects even more. Time for another change in the kaleidoscope pattern.

The obvious choice would have been to introduce her to an aristocratic young man; wedding bells would follow, allowing Eliza to become a lady indeed, titled and privileged. But that seemed too Edwardian, and 1913 is on the cusp of the modern era. So we used Book Two to involve Eliza in the horse racing world, beginning the fun at Royal Ascot. When Eliza winds up as part owner of a winning racehorse, she is at last financially independent. A far cry from Shaw’s vision of her as a penurious shop owner with a boyish husband who lacks ambition and ability.

We have no plans to stop changing the patterns of her character. In our most recent book, Get Me To The Grave On Time, Eliza will find herself not only caught up in murder, but in the fun and furor of four weddings. Inspired by all the bridal couples, her suitor Freddy becomes increasingly ardent. But Eliza realizes that she is far too young to settle down, despite the cultural norm at the time. For now, our Eliza wants nothing more than to enjoy her new life, which includes politics, teaching, romance, and spending her money on lots of fashionable clothes. She is, after all, only twenty years old.

In many ways, Eliza represents the new century: brash, energetic, bold and pioneering. Like the 20th century, such a character deserves an ever changing pattern of colors and complexity. And we have no intention of putting down the kaleidoscope.

Author Bio

D.E. Ireland is the pseudonym of long time friends and award-winning authors, Meg Mims and Sharon Pisacreta. In 2013 they decided to collaborate on a unique series based on George Bernard Shaw’s witty play Pygmalion, which inspired the musical My Fair Lady. At work on Book Four of their Agatha nominated series, they also pursue separate writing careers. Currently both of them write cozy mysteries for Kensington under their respective new pen names: Sharon Farrow and Meg Macy. Sharon’s Berry Basket series debuted in October 2016, and Meg’s Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear series will be released in May 2017. The two Michigan authors have patient husbands, brilliant daughters, and share a love of tea, books, and history. Follow D.E. Ireland on Facebook, Twitter, and

RHYS- Did you know that Shaw's original play had Eliza marrying Freddie? What was he thinking!
Now I'm wondering if Eliza and Henry will ever be a romantic couple. Do you think that would even be possible, given his impossible nature?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dear Diary

RHYS BOWEN: A couple of weeks ago Hank posted a very funny comment. We were discussing Halloween costumes and she said she had once written in her diary that she had met a cute guy at a party but had written in her diary "Why would he call me? He's only seen me dressed as a teabag!""

That got me thinking about diaries. Do you keep a diary? Have you ever kept one? I have not. When I was a child I was given a shiny new diary for Christmas, complete with lock and key. On January first I started to write. "Nothing much happened today. Raining. Shepherd's pie for dinner."
Then on January 2 I wrote, "Still raining. Go back to school in three days."
By about January 10 nothing worth noting had happened so I gave up.

The only time I have actually kept a diary has been when I've been traveling. And then it's purely factual and usually food-centered. "Went to the art museum in Vienna today. Had open-faced egg sandwich for lunch. Had pork cutlets and red cabbage for dinner. Good."  Nothing about what paintings impressed me, what I felt. Reading those pages you'd never believe that I might grow up to be a writer!

Over the years I have tried several times to pour out my innermost feelings onto the pages of journals, but I simply can't do it. I cannot put my feelings onto paper. When I've attended workshops where I am asked to relive a time of sadness or anger I find it almost impossible to put down the words. I suppose I'm a private person and I don't want to share my feelings.

This maybe why I write fiction. My characters can express feelings that I really mine, but sufficiently removed that they do not upset or embarrass me.  My kids, on the other hand, are all big on journaling. They fill journal after journal with deep innermost thoughts. Not that I've ever read them. I wouldn't snoop. Maybe if I'd grown up with a sister I would have snooped in her diary, but alas I only had a brother, seven years younger than me.

So now I'm curious, Reds. Did you keep a diary when you were growing up? Do you now?

LUCY BURDETTE: I'm with you Rhys, not a diary or journal writer--and for many of the same reasons--the few times I tried it was beyond tedious. As a young teen, my family took a 6 week trip across the country and my father induced all four of us kids to keep journals. I still have that one--with postcards affixed to very dull stories with absolutely no insight into my inner life. I can't put my hands on it right now or I'd show you a picture. During grad school in clinical psychology and for several years after I spent many hours in therapy. Which was a wonderful, growth-inducing process. But my gosh, after yammering about my feelings and my life in great detail, I certainly wasn't interested in writing it all down too!

My sister, on the other hand, has kept journals for years. And they are invaluable as she writes essays and memoir. I'm envious that I don't have my own memories captured...

HALLIE EPHRON: I'm so jealous of anyone who did keep a diary. I remember starting diaries I got for Christmas and within a few days giving up. My husband is a terrific journaler--we have a travel journal that he's been keeping since 1969. We've kept journals on both of our kids. Here's part of my first entry from when my firstborn was 10 weeks old: "Last night Molly slept from 10 pm feeding until 6 am. A truly historic event! She's all smiley now and finds her thumb all the time. She loves to be sung to and loves it when we blow in he face or whistle." I don't know why Molly (the now grown-up) doesn't find this fascinating but she does not.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Yeah, I kept a diary for a while, in the 80's. That's how we know about the teabag.  I am telling you, it is..painful. Painfully boring. No philosophy, no nuance, nothing thoughtful. I think there must be a skill to journalling. Some sort of a way, if you learn how to do it,  to plumb your brain and emotions. And learn something. But wow. If you try to write just before you fall asleep, which is the obvious time, sleep is so much more attractive. My diary entries, for the most part, are like...lists. Which brings up another thought--my to-do lists are more like diaries.  And WAY more interesting. I really think I simply don't know how to do it.  I know there are so many things I forget,  and diaries are good for that. One word, even, in my calendar, would be worthwhile.  And often, i do that. But really, in the end, would anyone care?

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I don't know, Hank. Samuel Pepys may have thought the same thing about his diaries, and look how that turned out. Like the rest of you, I'm not a diarist except for special occasions. I also got the little book with lock and key like Rhys, wrote in it four or five times, and gave up. Let's face it, if you're having a happy childhood, there's not much to write about.

When we lived in Germany, my mother made me journal during our trips around Europe. Thanks, Mom! And when I went to school in London, a journal was required - and again, I'm so thankful, because mine has so many events and jokes and feelings I would have forgotten otherwise. Then, when my late father-in-law took me and Ross on safari in sub-Saharan Africa, I kept a journal. There was almost TOO much to write about every evening!

But day-to-day? Get up, write, clean, cook, walk the dog, play Mah Jong online. And so to bed.

HANK: I did keep a journal, ish, on my first and second book tours. Scribbles, writing as fast as I could. But very valuable, looking back now. It seemed like something I didn't want to forget. I made myself write during takeoff. And you know, that was a good idea.

RHYS  :I've been thinking about famous diaries. Anne Frank's, for example. We'd never have known about her shining spirit if she hadn't. And I've just realized something: we all blog. That is keeping a diary in a way, isn't it? So dear readers, have you ever kept a diary? Do you now? Any tips on good journal writing?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

That's Entertainment! Or is it?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:   So here’s an easy question. And I say that because it isn’t.  First, let me preface by saying my new book, SAY NO MORE, tackles, as one of the story threads, campus sexual assault. And to the end of my days, I will be thrilled that Publishers Weekly calls it not only thrilling and gratifying, but “Unflinching.”
And I have told many audiences, if I can write a great story—one that allows you to see the world in a new way , through a new point of view, and think about an intensely important social issue—then hurray, that’s a good thing. But—and here’s where the debate is about to begin—I think my first task is to wrap that in entertainment.
But there’s another way—an opposite but equally compelling way—to tackle that balance.
Alex Sokoloff is one of the heroes of my life. An inspiration and a joy. If you know her, or have read (and studied) her books,  or have heard her teach, you understand why. If you don’t know her—hurray.  I am delighted to make the introduction.
And now—how Alex answers the question:
Is Crime Fiction Entertainment?
BITTER MOON, Book 4 of my Huntress Moon thrillers, is out this week, so thanks to the Reds for hosting this episode of my blog tour!

Here’s my discussion question for the day.

Is Crime Fiction entertainment?
I belong to several online readers groups and it’s a question that has been coming up frequently, lately.
A thorny issue, right? But I’m glad to see it being discussed. For me – no. I DON’T read crime fiction for entertainment. When I pick up a crime novel as a reader, I want to see intelligent treatment of societal evils that focuses on bringing awareness to problems and proposing activist solutions.
That’s my goal as an author, too.
My Huntress Moon series is intense, page-turning psychological and procedural suspense.  I worked as a Hollywood screenwriter for ten years before I wrote my first novel. I’m well aware that I need to deliver a satisfying genre experience to my readers. If they’re not biting their nails and staying up way past their bedtimes, I’m not doing my job.

But within the context of a ripping thriller, I am writing about issues I care passionately about and want to eradicate for good – meaning the good of everyone on the planet. Violence against women. Child sexual abuse. Human trafficking.

The last thing I want to do is show these scenes in a way that anyone could get pleasure out of. The few times I show anything on the page, it’s very brief and absolutely not there for entertainment. And I am very suspicious of any book that starts with a beautiful woman obviously being set up to be raped and tortured. Sexualizing rape and torture is not solving any problem – it’s actually contributing to the atrocity of sexual abuse.  Personally I won’t support any book or author, film or filmmaker, that sexualizes scenes of abuse.

But I used to teach in the Los Angeles County prison system. I want to explore the roots of crime, not soft-pedal it. For better or worse, my core theme as a writer is “What can good people do about the evil in the world?”

So my choice is to confront the issue head on.

The fact is, one reason crime novels and film and TV so often depict women as victims is because it’s reality. Since the beginning of time, women haven’t been the predators – we’re the prey. Personally, I’m not going to pretend otherwise.

But after all those years (centuries, millennia) of women being victims of the most heinous crimes out there… wouldn’t you think that someone would finally say – “Enough”? 

And maybe even strike back?

Well, that’s a story, isn’t it?

So my Huntress Moon series is about just that.

The books take the reader on an interstate manhunt with a haunted FBI agent on the track of what he thinks may be that most rare of criminals – a female serial killer.

And here’s what’s really interesting. Arguably there’s never been any such thing as a female serial killer in real life. The women that the media holds up as serial killers operate from a completely different psychology from the men who commit what the FBI calls “sexual homicide”. 

So what’s that about? Why do men do it and women don’t? Women rarely kill, compared to men — but when it happens, what does make a woman kill?

Because another pet peeve I have about crime fiction is the way so many authors presents serial killers for entertainment. So many authors seem to have no clue what a serial killer actually does. What we see on the page and on screen is criminal masterminds who stage their murders like artistic masterpieces or leave poetic clues in a cat-and-mouse game they're playing with the cops or FBI.

Well, bullshit. What serial killers do is rape, torture and kill for their own gratification. They are not masterminds. There is no art or poetry to their sadism.

Yes, two of my favorite books are Thomas Harris's Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs, both of which deal with mythic versions of serial killers. But Harris was writing horror novels in which he created mythological monsters within the frame of very accurate police procedurals. And authors who don't really understand the complexity of what he did have been ripping him off - almost always badly - ever since.

Silence and Red Dragon are entertaining, no doubt. But they're also brilliant, passionate explorations of the nature of evil and the quest of good people to fight evil.

As an author, you can settle for writing entertainment, and make a living at it. But is that really all we're here for?

I hope not.

Within the context of my Huntress series I can explore those psychological and sociological questions, and invite my readers to ask – Why? I can realistically bring light to crimes that I consider pretty much the essence of evil – and turn the tables on the perpetrators.

And I’ve created a female character who breaks the mold – but in a way that makes psychological sense for the overwhelming majority of people who read the books.

Whoever she is, whatever she is, the Huntress is like no killer Agent Roarke – or the reader – has ever seen before. And you may find yourself as conflicted about her as Roarke is.

Because as one of the profilers says in the book: “I’ve always wondered why we don’t see more women acting out this way. God knows enough of them have reason.”

So what do you think?

Readers, do you read crime fiction for entertainment? Are you looking for something that goes farther and examines the root of crime, and maybe even solutions? Are you concerned about scenes of violence against women being presented as sexualized entertainment?

Authors/writers: is this an issue you grapple with? Have you found ways of exploring real-life issues of violence against women and children that both fulfill the conventions of the thriller genre and avoid brutalization for entertainment?

I’m always interesting in hearing!

-       Alex

     HANK: Told you she was fabulous! So--what do you all think? And see below--you can get a huge bargain, and maybe a FREE BOOK!

Alex says: 
"I strongly recommend that you read the Huntress/FBI thrillers in order. So…"

SALE ALERT: The first three books in the HUNTRESS series are currently on sale on Amazon US for just $1.99 each (and Amazon Prime members can currently read Book 1, HUNTRESS MOON, for free!

BITTER MOON, book 4, is now out in paperback, ebook and audiobook:

 Alexandra Sokoloff is the Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Black Quill Award-nominated author of the supernatural thrillers The Harrowing, The Price, The Unseen, Book of Shadows, The Shifters, and The Space Between; The Keepers paranormal series, and the Thriller Award-nominated, Amazon bestselling Huntress/FBI Thrillers series (Huntress Moon, Blood Moon, Cold Moon), which has been optioned for television. She has also written three non-fiction workbooks: Stealing Hollywood, Screenwriting Tricks for Authors, and Writing Love, based on her internationally acclaimed workshops and blog (, and has served on the Board of Directors of the WGA, West (the screenwriters union) and the board of the Mystery Writers of America.
Alex is a California native and a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, where she majored in theater and minored in everything Berkeley has a reputation for. She lives in Los Angeles and in Scotland, with Scottish crime author Craig Robertson.
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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Each House Has A Story

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  I wish you could see our basement. Well, no I really don’t. 

But someone else lived in our house, many someones actually, before we did (Jonathan moved in 30 years ago, and I moved in 20 years ago, but our home was built in 1894.)  

The changing owners came and went –and some of them didn’t take all their possessions from the basement. A while ago,  under a pile of other stuff, we found a box of old newspapers.

Turned out, they were from World War I , and were filled with articles about trench warfare  and  photos of camels in Africa. The newspapers are incredible, and I am thinking of sending them to Charles and Caroline Todd. It made me realize that though we love our home, others loved it before us. Others with their own experiences and fears and joys. 

Our dear Susan Van Kirk  has a special house, too.

Ben Franklin: “Marry in haste, repent at leisure.”

                       by Susan Van Kirk

We all have a watershed year in our lives when everything changes forever. Mine was 1968. Within ten weeks I graduated from college, married, began a high school teaching job, and moved into the first floor of a 4,410-square-foot Victorian house that had been converted into apartments in the small town of Monmouth, Illinois. At the time I was a superficial twenty-something and totally oblivious to the history that mansion must have witnessed.

Here I stop to mention that we caught seven mice in the bedroom the first autumn (one of which jumped out of the bed covers I turned down); the upstairs tenant left her bath water on, overflowing into our kitchen; and we saw cockroaches—yes, cockroaches—in that kitchen. I didn’t even know what those ugly things were!

But, I digress. Time and distance add layers of gauze around memories like those.

Well, maybe not the cockroaches.

Years later, this late 19th century house was still visiting my imagination, but now I had a more mature appreciation for its past. I decided to research the McCullough House, using its rooms for the setting of my mystery, Marry in Haste. I wanted to write a novel set in two time periods: 1893 and 2012. The house would connect the stories of two marriages with, of course, a murder or two.

Researching, I discovered that in 1893, Sarah McBroom, a widow, sold the corner lot to a contractor who built the Victorian for W.W. McCullough. McCullough owned a lumberyard, brickyard, and a pottery. He also had shares in a railroad and a local electric trolley line.

He later sold the house to town newcomer John C. Allen, a former Nebraska secretary of state. Allen built a huge dry goods store on the public square, became quite prominent, and was voted into the U.S. House of Representatives. After Allen, other townspeople lived in McCullough House until the 1940s, when a lawyer bought it, converting it into apartments.

The house had mahogany woodwork throughout and leaded glass windows in the foyer with an impressive front staircase that rose to a third-floor ballroom. A servant’s staircase was on the opposite side of the house—not nearly so grand—and city directories listed a number of Irish servants. Although the house was converted to electricity around 1905, the original gas lighting fixtures peered out of the walls.

Our first-floor apartment had three pairs of mahogany pocket doors and a huge living room that used to be two parlors—a public parlor and a private family parlor. I remember my husband and I were up in the wee hours on a summer night in 1969, painting those never-ending walls and watching Armstrong’s walk on the moon.

A study off the living room contained an outside door, but by 1968, that door had disappeared, and the study had become our bedroom and bathroom. The main staircase was above this room. Most mornings around three, one of the upstairs tenants beat a staccato rhythm that jarred us awake as he careened down the stairs to work. His speed and volume indicated tardiness. A kitchen, large walk-in pantry, and dining room completed the downstairs. To give you some idea of the size of the house, the front to the back was the length of a bowling alley.

Now, I look back on that house fondly, and I have made it the 1893 home of Judge Charles Lockwood in Marry in Haste. The powerful Judge Lockwood is on his second marriage, and his new bride is uncovering dangerous secrets. A diary hidden in the house and found in the present day reveals clues to those secrets and parallels a murder in present-day Endurance.

This is the wonder of writing fiction. This lovely 19th century mansion, minus the mice and cockroaches, has been restored to its former splendor just in time to accommodate murder.

Do you have a favorite book that revolves around a particular location?

HANK: What a great question! Can’t go wrong with Maycombe County. Or the Mushroom Planet.  What do you all think?

Marry in Haste
It is 2012 in the small town of Endurance, and wealthy banker, Conrad Folger, is murdered and his wife, Emily, arrested. Emily Folger was one of Grace Kimball’s students in the past, and Grace knows Emily could never murder anyone. So, Grace joins Detective TJ Sweeney to investigate the murder, and they uncover a dark secret.
In 1893, Olivia Havelock, age seventeen, moves to Endurance to seek a husband. She finds one in Charles Lockwood, powerful and wealthy judge, but her diary reveals a terrifying story.
Two wives—two murders a century apart—and a shocking secret connects them. Marry in Haste is a story of the resilience of women, both in the past and the present.