Wickeds, part of the job of writing a series is building a community. In your books, have you created any unique community events or celebrations? Did you base them on anything that you’ve experienced? Or did the idea spring from your imagination?
Edith: Death Over Easy features several scenes at the Brown County Bluegrass Festival in Beanblossom, Indiana. In her new B&B rooms, protagonist Robbie Jordan lodges several musicians performing at the festival. The Beanblossom Bluegrass Festival and the Bill Monroe Music Park are real things in the real town of Beanblossom, but I altered the name of both the park and the festival just in case I needed to change any part of the layout or the festival dates – and so nobody would be murdered at or near the real festival! I didn’t create a unique event, exactly, but I had fun including the sounds and sights of hundreds of bluegrass musicians and fans.
Barb: I’ve included all kinds of community events in the Maine Clambake series, including Founder’s Day in Boiled Over, which is a kind of combination of the Fishermen’s Festival and Windjammer Days as they are celebrated in the real Boothbay Harbor. But, because I’ve now written two Christmas novellas, my favorite things to incorporate are holiday traditions. In “Nogged Off,’ in Eggnog Murder, I included Santa coming in a lighted boat parade, the Festival of Trees, Gentleman’s Night, and the day everyone shops in their pajamas. In “Logged On” in Yule Log Murder I included the Illuminations at the Maine Coast Botanical Gardens, which is really Gardens Aglow at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.
Jessie: I have a jumble sale featured in the first Beryl and Edwina book, Murder in an English Village. In Murder Flies the Coop the folks of Walmsley Parva celebrate May Day with a fete in the center of the village complete with a tombola and a May Pole. Village fetes adn May Day celebrations were a very real part of village life in 1920s England. In my second Change of Fortune mystery, Whispers of Warning, the town of Old Orchard, ME is celebrating the opening of the worlds’s longest pleasure pier. I based much of the scene of the pier opening on the real event that took place there in July, 1898.
Sherry: Jessie, I love the celebration of the pier in Whispers of Warning! The New England’s Largest Yard Sale featured in The Longest Yard Sale is based on lots of local flea markets and antique fairs I’ve attended over the years. In The Gun Also Rises Sarah puts together a community fundraiser for a veteran with PTSD. While he was station in Afghanistan he adopted a street dog and his wife and friends think it will help the veteran if the dog can be brought to Ellington. Here is a link to an organization that helps vets bring home: https://pawsofwar.org/worn-torn-pups/
Liz: In my Pawsitively Organic series, there are a lot of fun community events, most of which are based on real things that happen in the town after which I modeled Frog Ledge. The Christmas tree lighting in Purring Around the Christmas Tree happens every year on the green, although Santa usually makes it out alive. However, the Groundhog Day celebration in The Icing on the Corpse was completely made up. However, I really wish I’d found a way to work this one in:
Julie: I love creating festivals and gatherings for characters. In Chime and Punishment, the third of my Clock Shop series, Winding Day is when the old clock tower is going to be wound for the first time in years. It’s a big deal, and Ruth and her team need to solve a murder first. In A Christmas Peril opening night of A Christmas Carol looms over the book. That’s always festive. Pruning the Dead starts with a garden party, and also includes a park cleanup. Community plays a huge role in my Garden Squad series.
Readers, we’re always in need of inspiration. Tell us about some unique celebrations in your community?