Edith here, trying not to get whiplash from how fast and how extreme our weather has been changing. I’m happy to welcome author Linda Lovely back to the blog. She has a new book out today that looks like a lot of fun! Here’s the blurb:
It’s been seven months since vegan Brie Hooker moved to Udderly Kidding Dairy to live with her feisty Aunt Eva, a confirmed carnivore. But tonight there’ll be no family feud over dinner entrees. Udderly’s hosting a campaign fundraiser for Eva’s best friend, who hopes to be South Carolina’s next governor. The candidate’s son, a pro quarterback, is flying home for the wingding. And Brie’s eager to get a close-up view of the cute tush she’s admired on TV, even though she’s reluctantly sworn off even more tempting local beefcake.
The campaign fundraiser promises to be a huge success until a pitchfork attack turns the goat farm into a crime scene—again. To protect her friends, Brie puts her sleuthing skills to work. Will she live long enough to find out who’s behind a vicious assault, a kidnapping, blackmail, and multiple murders?
Take it away, Linda.
How often do you spend a full twenty-four hours having no interaction with people younger or older than yourself?
The answer is probably seldom unless you’re a hermit or an author on deadline, who doesn’t find time to interact with soap and water either.
From birth through teen-hood, even the kids who have their eyes glued to electronic screens for hours at a time must deal with parents, grandparents, teachers, doctors, babysitters, and store clerks.
Likewise nursing home residents may be surrounded by other oldsters, but they still come in contact with younger medical orderlies, nurses, doctors, and, if they’re lucky, visiting family members.
Those of us in the middle typically spend some time every day with younger and older people. Out in the real world generations mix, which is one of the best arguments for populating a mystery with a cast of characters outside the hero’s or heroine’s age range. It makes the novel’s world more credible.
But there are even better reasons for giving face/page time to individuals of differing ages. These include divergent viewpoints shaped by generational life experiences and unique knowledge and skill sets that can be tapped to solve a mystery. And don’t overlook how choosing main characters of mixed ages opens up possibilities for conflict and laughs.
Among my favorites in the “Die Hard” film franchise is Live Free or Die Hard. This film pairs a crusty veteran detective (Bruce Willis) with a twenty-something computer hacker (Justin Long). The combination accomplishes all of the objectives just mentioned as the two team up to stop a digital-based “fire sale” aimed at crippling America’s transportation, communication, financial and utility networks. The plot would never have worked had screenwriters tried to pull it off with either main character acting solo. The detective was a digital simpleton, while the hacker’s skills would have been worthless without the detective’s policing knowhow.
I’m currently re-reading Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, the first of Alan Bradley’s delightful English mystery series set in 1950s Britain for a mystery book club. The series features Flavia, a precocious 11-year-old girl, who keeps her loneliness at bay with her passion for chemistry. She has two older sisters (late teens) with quite different interests and outlooks. But the clever plot has her interacting primarily with adults from relatively young to over ninety. Humor’s derived from her view of the world and also from adult assumptions that tend to dismiss Flavia’s capabilities due to her age.
In my new humorous cozy Brie Hooker Mystery series, I’ve yet to feature a main character as young as Flavia. (Not sure my childhood memories are anywhere near accurate.) But I did intentionally make certain that Brie, my early thirties heroine, has plenty of give and take with the older generation. Brie, a vegan, lives with her Aunt Eva, a sixty-two-year-old carnivore, on a goat dairy farm, and Brie’s parents, a lawyer and a professor in their fifties, live a few miles away. Since I’m closer in age to Brie’s aunt than Brie my casting motivation may, in part, been a desire to give older folks a voice in the series. But my main reason was to offer the reader a more textured world with greater variety. Like the world most of us live in.
Readers: What’s the age range of the people you hang out with?
Over the past five years, hundreds of mystery/thriller writers have met Linda Lovely at check-in for the annual Writers’ Police Academy, which she helps organize. Lovely finds writing pure fiction isn’t a huge stretch given the years she’s spent penning PR and ad copy. She writes a blend of mystery and humor, chuckling as she plots to “disappear” the types of characters who most annoy her. PICKED OFF is the second humorous installment in her new Brie Hooker Mystery series. Lovely is active in Sisters in Crime and belongs to International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America.