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!
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?