Hi. Barb again. It’s the second day of the Wickeds’ month of Thankful for Our Readers giveaways and we’re once again visited by a FOTW (Friend of the Wickeds). Kaitlyn Dunnett’s new Liss MacCrimmon Mystery, Overkilt, was released on October 30. She’s offering a signed copy to one lucky commenter on this post. You can leave a comment until midnight tonight. Winners will be announced tomorrow. This giveaway is for US commenters only.
Take it, Kaitlyn!
A writer’s inspiration comes from all sorts of things, although frequently the finished product doesn’t bear much resemblance to the event that inspired it. Take Overkilt, the newest Liss MacCrimmon mystery, for example.
My husband and I have lived fairly close to his family for most of our married life. At holidays, as long as his parents were living, we were expected to show up at their house for dinner on Thanksgiving and Christmas. One year, we decided to break tradition. The Bethel Inn, a little over an hour’s drive from our house, in the opposite direction from my in-laws, has long been renowned for their Christmas celebrations—tree lighting, carol singing, sleigh rides, and so on. We made reservations and then announced our plans.
Let’s just say it did not go over well.
We went anyway and enjoyed our family-free vacation. I even used the experience of Christmas in a hotel in Relative Strangers, one of the romance novels I wrote as Kathy Lynn Emerson. But what always stuck with me was the knowledge that our break with tradition at the holidays seriously annoyed other people.
In Overkilt, Liss’s father-in-law, who owns Moosetookalook, Maine’s luxury hotel, The Spruces, offers a “Thanksgiving Special” designed to attract the business of childless couples who want to spend the holiday away from their families. The very idea, and the fact that some of the couples may be unmarried and/or same sex, outrages a local troublemaker, Hadley Spinner, leader of a religious sect calling themselves the New Age Pilgrims. He sees the promotion as an affront to family values and vows to ruin not only Joe Ruskin’s hotel, but also the businesses of Joe’s sons and daughter-in-law, if he doesn’t cancel it.
Since Overkilt is a mystery novel, this conflict leads to a murder at a demonstration held in Moosetookalook’s town square. Some of Liss’s family members and a couple of her friends are suspects, although I’m happy to say that none of them were among the protestors. Naturally, in the end the murderer is caught and the bad guys get what’s coming to them. The final scene takes place on Thanksgiving Day when the Liss and her family, and their pets, celebrate with a very traditional holiday meal, a happy ending during which Liss and her meddling mother declare a truce. Well, why not? This is, after all, a work of fiction.
Thanks to the Wickeds for asking me back. It’s always a pleasure to be here.
Readers: Have you ever rebelled against family tradition? Snuck off for a holiday? Tell us about it below or just say hi to be entered for a chance to win a copy of Overkilt.
Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett is the author of nearly sixty traditionally published books written under several names. She won the Agatha Award and was an Anthony and Macavity finalist for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category. She was the Malice Domestic Guest of Honor in 2014. Currently she writes the contemporary Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries (Overkilt) and the “Deadly Edits” series (Crime & Punctuation) as Kaitlyn and the historical Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries (Murder in a Cornish Alehouse) as Kathy. The latter series is a spin-off from her earlier “Face Down” mysteries and is set in Elizabethan England. Her most recent collection of short stories is Different Times, Different Crimes. Her websites are www.KaitlynDunnett.com and www.KathyLynnEmerson.com and she maintains a website about women who lived in England between 1485 and 1603 at www.TudorWomen.com