I’m thrilled to welcome Essie Lang to the blog today!
by Essie Lang
We’ve all heard over and over again, write what you know. But for many years I was one of those writers who wrote what I didn’t know and put in a lot of hours of research trying to find out all that information. I quickly became grateful for the internet. It took me via Google streets to the neighborhood in my plot, filled me in on the professional duties of my characters, and linked me to many sources who I could follow up with to ask questions. The thesaurus made a re-appearance as a part of my toolbox! Of course, nothing beats a road trip or plane ride to the location you’ve chosen. But, as I’d found out years ago when I learned that a writer I totally respected had not made the trip the Venice, the setting of his series, but had still managed to turnout quality, believable books – research in any form, is key.
Of course, he hadn’t travelled back in time either, for his historical mysteries, nor was the internet available in those days. But he was widely read and researched every possible detail.
As for my writing path, these days I’ve created the Castle Bookshop Mysteries. It’s set in Alexandria Bay, NY, where the Thousand Islands bask in the St. Lawrence River, and a mere 1.5 hour drive from home. I’ve enjoyed many pre-book days and years as a tourist in those island realms.
And, best of all, I have over 15 years of experience owning and running a mystery bookstore that I hadn’t put to major use in my previous series. Although that’s not happening these days, I’ve enjoyed re-living some of the experiences from by bookselling years as my new protagonist, Shelby Cox, learns the book biz and meets the variety of customers.
I can’t begin to count the number of customers I’d had who said, “I’d love to own a bookstore and read all day.” Huh. Doesn’t happen, believe me and if that’s what Shelby also had in mind, she soon finds out that just isn’t so. I’ve tried to give infuse that reality, hoping the bookshop allure will encourage readers through the pages of the Castle Bookshop Mysteries. The first one, Trouble on the Books, was released last month, the second one has made its way to my editor, and I’ve just started writing the third in the series.
Of course, Shelby has a murder to content with, which I never did in all those years. Imagine that! The suspects are many, even though this is a tourist destination we’re talking about and should not include murder. And, Shelby feels the pull to search out the truth, and in the process, get her friends off the hook.
Another difference between Shelby and me is, unfortunate in some ways, that Shelby finds romance with a Coast Guard Investigative Service officer who is trying hard to keep her out of the investigation.
You know that’s not going to happen!
I hope you’ll visit the imaginary Blye Castle, on Blye Island and get to know Shelby, her eccentric aunt, and the rest of the colorful staff and residents who make my writing time such a pleasure.
I’d like to know if you’ve visited any of the Thousand Islands. There are regular boat tours as well as tours of the real castles in the area. If you have, tell me about it or if you haven’t, please leave a comment anyway. I’ll be drawing tomorrow evening, for a winner of a signed copy of Trouble on the Books. US only please.
Trouble on the Books by Essie Lang,
from Crooked Lane Books
Shelby Cox never intended to become a bookseller when she returns to her hometown of Alexandria Bay, nestled in Upstate New York’s breathtaking Thousand Islands region, to help her aunt and run the seasonal bookshop at Blye Castle, on Blye Island. So, she has no idea what to expect. Certainly not a murder. But when the body of the Castle volunteer coordinator is found in the Grotto, Shelby must clear her own name and then help out her aunt’s dear friend, also a suspect. Nor does she expect to butt heads with unnerving and handsome Special Agent Zack Griffin of the Coast Guard Investigative Service. But can she find the murderer before she becomes the next victim?
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/y6oecx8h
BIO: Adding a second pen name, Linda Wiken writes the Castle Bookstore Mysteries as Essie Lang, for Crooked Lane Books. As Linda she wrote the Dinner Club Mysteries; as Erika Chase, the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries. Nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada for Best Short Story, she’s a former mystery bookstore owner and avid chorister. www.lindawiken.com