Welcome Nancy Coco!

Happy Friday! Liz here, happy to welcome our friend Nancy Coco, aka Nancy Parra, also aka Nell Hampton… but today, she’ll be Nancy Coco. Her newest book, Oh Fudge, is out August 29. It’s the fifth novel in the Candy Coated Mystery series set on Mackinac Island, Michigan, which she’s going to talk about today. 

Here’s a little more about the book, then Nancy will take it away!

Oh Fudge      View More: http://alisonpaigephotography.pass.us/nancy_parra_roanoke_texas_portrait_photograph

Life is always sweet in Allie McMurphy’s delectable fudge shop. But murder can make things unpleasantly sticky . . .

After Allie inherited her family’s McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop, cousin Tori moved off to California in a bitter huff, and the two haven’t spoken since. So to have her cousin reappear on Mackinac Island without warning is a big surprise—but not as surprising as finding her standing over a dead woman impaled with a garden spade in the Mackinac Butterfly House. Butterflies may be free, but Tori won’t be for much longer—unless the cousins can bury the hatchet and work together to catch a killer who’s taken flight. Because when it comes to family, blood is thicker than fudge . . .

Hi, Nancy here. I’m lucky to have grown up along the shores of Lake Michigan. We had sand dunes in our backyard and a blueberry farm on one side, woods on the other. We used to go out in the early morning and spend the entire day outside playing. There were wild grapes in the trees and wild strawberries and blackberries, mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns and other wild things to gather and eat. My Dad grew huge gardens. We raised chickens, rabbits, ducks and geese for eggs and meat. My best friend had horses and magical things like electric fences. If you touch an electric fence with a stick covered in bark you don’t feel the shock. But if you remove the bark you would get the poke.

They used to crop dust the blueberries and we would run up to the second floor of the old farmhouse and watch as the plane came straight at the house then shot straight up in time to miss hitting the house.

There were bee hives, clover, bee stings from running barefoot in the grass. We used to draw lines in the sand and outline houses with hand drawn doors and rectangles for furniture. In fourth grade, my best friend’s mom gave us a box of old party dresses with crinoline. We were small and they make perfect pioneer outfits. The boys would build forts with pine needles and pull out the ferns. The roots were pointed and the ends feathered and they would toss them at each other playing cowboys and Indians.

This is my memory of Michigan. We would go to the lake shore and play in the water. Visit cousins and swim in smaller lakes. Every few years we would vacation to the Upper Peninsula crossing the great Mackinac Bridge – a suspension bridge that rivals the Golden Gate. There we would stay in cabins along a lake. We would hike up and down old mining roads and get visits from bears. Everywhere we went the people were hospitable and the days long.

It’s why I chose to set this series on Mackinac Island. I hope to bring some of the joy of growing up in the mitten state to readers everywhere. It’s a place where the sky touches the water. The smell of fudge, fresh hay, horses and fair food mix together. Where you can sit after dinner across from a fire roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories. Where children wave sparklers and write their name in the sky as dew falls on the grass. The scent of tall pine trees, warm sand and sassafras brings all the memories back. I get to visit again every time I write another Candy-coated mystery.

Now that I’ve told you about my summers growing up. I’d love to know-what is your favorite summer memory?

22 Thoughts

  1. What a vivid and delightful memory you paint of your childhood! Those were the days, weren’t they? I also have many fond memories of childhood, including our yearly camping trip to Sequoia National Park in California. We’d drive from our suburb east of Los Angeles up the Central Valley to the Sierras. We kids would make treasure maps for treasure hunts among the huge boulders shaded by fragrant evergreens, ending with the treasure: little coins of tin foil. My mother taught us how to read the stars at night. We swam in the glacier-melt stream. It didn’t matter if we got dirty hiking or playing, we’d just rinse off with our first splash in. A special time! Best of luck with the new book.

    1. Lovely! Let’s hope more kids get out for these kinds of vacations. Cheers, Nancy

  2. I grew up in Iowa and never made it to Mackinac Island. But now I get to go through your books. I remember laying out on the warm driveway and staring up at the stars. And catching lightening bugs and…

  3. I think all the times we went camping when I was a kid and when we took our kids. We had great times of just sitting around a fire or hiking or swimming. We would sight see and then go and enjoy being outdoors and just playing.

  4. What. A beautiful description of your childhood. Visiting Mackinac Island is on my bucket list. I have visited the UP but farther north (the Keweenaw Peninsula area). It’s a beautiful place! I love Allie and her friends and can’t wait to read the new book.

  5. Always wanted to visit that area. What a great setting for your books! We used to have summer lobster fests on our beach when we lived on Long Island Sound, ending with a bonfire. All our kids and their friends would come–lobster is huge draw! Those were wonderful days being surrounded by the young people and their friends and our neighbors and close friends~

  6. I’m from Michigan also and I love this series. I can picture Mackinac Island and smell the fudge when reading this series. Can’t wait to read the latest book in the series.

  7. I was only 3 when my parents and I went to Mackinac Island. I do remember the horse drawn carriages. I am told I nearly drowned when I thought I could walk on water and tried to walk out to the rowboat my daddy was coming in on. Duh! I would love to go back. Looking forward to reading this series now that I know about it! Thanks for the lovely description of your childhood. It brings back a lot of memories of lightening bugs and lying in the grass.

  8. That sounds lovely.

    I grew up in a city in Northern CA. But a big memory for me in camping in the redwoods each year. Smelled wonderful and so quiet and relaxing and fun. I really do miss the redwoods.

  9. Hi Nancy:
    I LOVE your Fudge Shop Mysteries because Mackinaw Island is one of my favorite places. As a Michigander all my life, except two years in the early 80’s in North Carolina, Mackinaw has been a favorite destination for many summers. One of my favorite memories of Mackinaw was when my husband and I were able to introduce our sons to the magic of the island. We biked around the island, something everyone should do at least once. We took the carriage tour, of course. We even hired horses for riding for the boys and they had a guide that took them up through the interior of the island. They had such a great time! We stayed at the Lilac Tree downtown. To me it’s most fun to stay on the island overnight so you can really see the magic after the ‘fudgies’ go back home. The Lilac Tree offers room with balconies overlooking the downtown street and it’s fun to sit out there and watch as the sun sets over/under the Big Mac Bridge and the lights start to come on. The bridge is indeed magnificent at night.

    When I read this series I can picture all of my favorite places on the island. I’m sure the McMurphy Hotel is actually the Murray Hotel. By the way, the Murray has the best, least expensive fudge in town and it’s always our last stop to pick up souvenir fudge before boarding the ferry to go back to the mainland.

    Thank you so much for your wonderful stories. My only regret is that you don’t get them out faster. *wink*

  10. I haven’t tried one of this series yet but I’m going to now that I’ve read this post. A candy store/ hotel sound like a fun setting and I’m currently reading another series that also used Mackinac Island and I love the description.

  11. I am dying to read this. It sounds so amazing.. Thanks so much… I will let you know my thoughts when done reading..

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