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
Congratulations on the new series! The premise is delightful – and you have the chops to write it. I’ve never been to the Thousand Islands – is that where the salad dressing comes from?
Thanks, Edith. Yes, it is….at least that’s the story told on the boat cruise I was on! It’s a truly beautiful region.
Thanks, Edith. Yes, it is…at least that’s the story I heard on the book cruise I took.
I haven’t visited any of the Islands, but drove through the area once. Would love to visit, but until then, reading your series would be my choice. Congrats on your second series.
Thanks, Ginny. You really should try a boat cruise some day, if you’re able.
I have not had the pleasure of visiting these islands but am excited to read this book!! Thank you for the chance!
Thanks for taking the time to comment, Ann.
No, I haven’t visited that area. It sounds lovely. Congratulations on the new series.
Thanks, Paricia. It is a very lovely area.
Sorry for the typo, Patricia! I do know how to spell your name.
Congratulations on the new series. I love a mystery set in a bookstore. I think I’m one of the ones that have said I’d love to own a mystery bookstore but I do understand how hard it is to run a business. I think when I was little, our family was in the Thousand Islands once but my husband had an uncle that owned a summer place there and he and his family would spend lots of time there enjoying water sports and the beautiful scenery.
Thanks, Margaret. It is hard but it has so many rewards!
I love the Dinner Club mystery series! The new book looks great too! Can’t wait to read it! Congratulations! 📚
Thanks! I’m so glad you enjoyed the Dinner Club series. And, I hope you’ll enjoy this one, too!
Thanks, Sherry! So happy to be here.
I’ve never been to the Thousand Islands—they sound cool. Legallyblonde1961 at yahoo dot com
They’re very cool! Thanks for leaving a comment.
I have never been to Thousand Islands, but it sounds amazing. So does your new book!
Thanks so much, Marla!
Sadly, I have never visited them; although, they sound delightful! Thank you for the chance to win!
And thank you for leaving a comment, Abby!
it’s wonderful to find a new series and this sounds entertaining. My fingers are crossed I’ll be able to call
Essie Lang’s book mine. I am sure it will be just as interesting as her other series written under different
Thanks for your comment about my other series. Hope you’ll like this one too.
Congratulations, Essie! (Don’t include me in the giveaway.) I love the setting of your book. I was born and raised in NY state but the southern part and I never got to the Thousand Islands, much as I wanted to. They’ve always looked gorgeous. I envy you being so close to them!
Never to late, Ellen!! 🙂
Two years ago when we took a bucket list trip to the New England states in the fall, one of our destinations was Alexandria Bay NY with the goal of seeing Boldt Castle. After arriving, we wished we had allowed ourselves more time in the area. Having so many great places of interest to see all along the way of our journey, it just wasn’t possible. We loved the area and didn’t get to see near enough in our brief stay there. Although we scratched off seeing the beautiful fall New England colors, we still have the area on our bucket list in hopes of taking another trip some time to expand on the places like Alexandria Bay where we didn’t get to spend near enough time.
Thank you for the wonderful chance to win a copy “Trouble on the Books”. I’d love the opportunity to read it. I think the whole concept for this series is amazing and I’d love to read all of Shelby’s adventures.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
Thanks, Kay. It’s certainly an area worth a second and third visit. So many delightful places to experience.
No, I have not visited. But thank you for this chance to win.
Thanks for leaving a comment, Carolyn!
No, I have not visited. But thank you for this chance to win. 1cow0993(at)gmail(dot)com
And thanks for entering the draw.
Many, many years ago I was lucky enough to visit Norway Island the vacation home of a friend of a friend. Stayed with the family for a week and fell in love with the island and the area. We even took a boat ride across the St Lawrence to Canada for dinner. I have never forgotten this family’s hospitality and the week I spent there.
I’ll bet that was delightful!
Congratulations on the new series! I’ve read and enjoyed your other series. I’ve never been to the Thousand Islands but it sounds beautiful. Thanks for the chance!
Thanks, Christi. Delighted to hear you’ve enjoyed the earlier series. Hope this one will be a hit, too.
Congratulations on the series. This sounds like an interesting series. Wonderful post today. i have never been in the area, but it sounds lovely. I have just recently started reading cozies and am enjoying them.
Glad to hear you’ve entered the realm of cozies, Lori. There are so many delightful series to keep you reading for a long time. I hope that the Castle Bookshop Mysteries will be one of them.
I’ve heard some authors chance things to “write what you are willing to research.” If you are interested enough to dig things up to make your books real, you are fine no matter what you write about.
Congrats on the new series!
Thanks, Mark. I’d not heard that but it makes sense. The author spend so much time immersed in it. What a drag if it wasn’t a place or occupation you didn’t enjoy!
Congratulations on your book. Haven’t been able to vacation in years. Not gone anywhere
Armchair travel is always a good substitute, Mary. I hope you’re able to do a lot of that!
Can’t wait to read this exciting new series. Thanks for the giveaway.
Thanks, Doward. Hope you enjoy it!
I am not much of a traveler, but the islands sound lovely.
Trust me, Gloria, they are!
Congrats on the new book! I’d love to visit the Thousand Islands area & see all those castles!
Thanks, Jana. It’s definitely a vacation destination!
I’ve never been to the Thousand Islands.
Congratulations on your new series!
Thanks, Mary. And, thanks for commenting.
When we got to Waterford, we only had time for the short cruise in the Thousand Islands that afternoon. My mother, aunt, and I wanted to take the long cruise that included Boldt Castle the next morning but Dad insisted we do the short cruise and leave the next morning. Turns out that Dad had high blood pressure and was less patient than usual. It still was a lovely area, and I’m sorry that I didn’t see more. I like your other series.
Thanks, Sally. At least you got a taste of the islands.
Thanks, Sally. Sorry about your dad”s condition. At least you got a taste of the region.
I live your other series and am looking forward to reading this. I have not visited this area but sounds like fun! I am from South Carolina and it’s already hot down here. I love book stores and books set in bookstores! Thanks for the chance.
Sorry, I meant love!
Thanks, Margaret. That’s so nice to hear about the other series. This would be a a great vacation spot for you. Those river breezes would keep you cool!
“Trouble on the Books” sounds like the start to a great new series. I have never been to The Thousand Islands, but I can’t wait to read about them in your book.
No I have never visited there but your new cozy sounds like fun!
Linda, congrats on the new series — Thousand Islands sounds like a fab setting! I’m disappointed to learn that bookstore owners (like mystery writers) don’t get to spend all their time reading, lol! (Don’t enter me in the drawing.)
How did I not know about this new series?! And I really can’t believe I was in that bookstore before I knew any of you 🙂
I’ll tell you all about it when I see you at Malice, Nikki!
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