Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
My guest today is Sheila Connolly, author of the Orchard Mystery Series and the Museum Mystery Series. The latest book Bitter Harvest was released on August 2 and the prequel to the entire series Called Home (An Orchard Mystery) is available for Kindle. It is a wonderful series where each book starts up right where the last one leaves off. I was wondering how Meg was going to spend the winter and was really surprised how Sheila handled it. I will let her tell you all about it. I am so happy she found a little time to spend with us out of her busy schedule.
Thank you Lori, I am glad to be here. Now let me tell you about Bitter Harvest.
I wrote a murder mystery and I didn't kill anyone.
Bitter Harvest, the most recent in my Orchard Mystery series, came out last week. It's the fifth book in the series, and over those five books I've covered my protagonist Meg's first full year living and trying to grow apples in the small New England town of Granford. In that time the fictional town has suffered from a major crime wave, with a suspicious death every couple of months (with Meg somehow in the middle of things). Since the place is based on a real small town in Massachusetts, and I've corresponded with the local police chief, I know that the actual murder rate there is about one per decade. So I thought I should let Meg take a breather from corpses.
But there is a mystery, and there may have been a murder—it's hard to prove when it happened over two hundred years ago.
Bitter Harvest came about because of two unrelated incidents. In a former life I was a professional genealogist, and for a time I worked for one of the producers of the Antiques Road Show, which included doing research for a piece that appeared on the show: a nineteenth century sampler that some guy found in a closet when he moved into a house he bought. I don't know that anyone ever figured out what it was doing there, but we learned a lot about who made it and where. I thought it was a great story, so I gave Meg a sampler shoved into the back of a closet in her colonial house—and explained how and why it ended up there.
The second inspiration came when I gave a talk to a Daughters of the American Revolution group not far from where the series is set (and also the town where Johnny Appleseed's family had an orchard). Without giving away too much of the plot, I can tell you that I met someone who told me about a hereditary disease that I'd never heard of, but that also fit well into a story about a town with a long-established and highly interconnected population.
Those two stories weave together in Bitter Harvest. It takes place in winter, so Meg doesn't have obligations in the orchard and she has the time to do a bit of investigation of her own into the sampler, with results that surprise her. And as always, I'm thrilled to be able to use my own experience from my rather diverse career in my writing.
Thank you so much Sheila.
I want to tell you a little bit more about this wonderful author. Her web page says she has "more degrees than (she) knows what to do with," in Art History and Finance. She has lived in 7 states, 19 towns and 2 foreign counties. She has also been employed as:
and then of course, a mystery writer. I don't know about you but I believe all of this life experience has given her a treasure trove of knowledge to draw from for her mysteries as we have seen with her two current series. It looks to me there is great wealth of ideas still available to write about so this is definitely someone to keep your eye on as she continues to bring us more exciting stories. Be sure to check out her web page for news about her new series!
by Mary Ann Lasher
by Annette Fiore Defex
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group
An Orchard Mystery
5th in the Series
Sheila told you what the book was about above so I will leap right to my review.
This story was not your normal whodunit cozy. It was more of a puzzle, gathering the pieces and putting them together in the right way to solve it. It was a brain teaser as you followed Meg through the process of finding out all the secrets this very special sampler holds.
It also had the characters relating differently as the story didn't revolve around the orchard and they had to really spend time with each other and work together to get through everything winter was throwing at them.
I have enjoyed every trip to Granford to visit with Meg, Seth, and lovable Max. These trips are exciting because I always learn something new and can get caught up in a bushel basket of mystery too, even if no one was killed.
|Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent|
Now for the giveaway!!
Thanks to the wonderful people at Berkley Prime Crime I have 2 copies of Bitter Harvest to Giveaway!!
U.S. AND CANADIAN RESIDENTS ONLY
FOLLOWERS WILL RECEIVE
2 BONUS ENTRIES FOR EACH ENTRY
LEAVE A COMMENT FOR SHEILA AND
RECEIVE 5 BONUS ENTRIES
CONTEST ENDS AUGUST 24 AT 11:59 PM CST
WINNERS WILL BE CHOSEN BY RANDOM.ORG
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Berkley Prime Crime, a Division of Penguin Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”