New beginnings often come from an event that was difficult. How has this played out in one of your books? How did it impact your protagonist and those around her?
Barb: In some ways this is a cozy trope, the heroine’s life goes into the dumpster and as a result she moves to a small town and starts a business. In the Maine Clambake Mysteries, it’s not so much Julia Snowden’s life that goes bad, but her family’s back in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. As the series starts, the Snowden Family Clambake is on the brink of bankruptcy due to Julia’s father’s death, a bad bank loan, the mismanagement of her brother-in-law, Sonny, and the lingering effects of the recession. Julia’s sister Livvie calls and begs her to come home to run the clambake. Julia does so with some resentment, although it turns out to be the best thing that could have happened to her.
Sherry: Barb, I always loved how you gave the trope of going home a new twist. It felt fresh to me. In my Sarah Winston Garage Sale mysteries Sarah has to start life over after her divorce, but instead of going home to California she decides to stay in Ellington, Massachusetts the small town close to the Air Force base she was living on. She didn’t want to go home as a perceived failure and that forces her to cobble together a new life.
Barb: Sherry, what I’ve always admired about Sarah’s origin story is how in losing her marriage she also loses her place in her community and her lifestyle. It’s a complete ground zero, yet she grows where she is planted.
Edith: And what a success Sarah has made of her new life, Sherry! As has Julia Snowden, Barb. In my Cozy Capers Book Group series, Mac Almeida goes home again after a couple of disappointments while traveling, but the investments she previously made in the banking industry and the smarts she acquired give her the means and the savvy to open her own business down the street from her family on Cape Cod. In my Country Store series, Robbie is already living in Indiana, happily working as a chef after a divorce in California, when her beloved mother dies suddenly. She’s devastated, but Robbie’s inheritance from her mother enables her to buy and renovate the country store where she opens her restaurant.
Julie: I do love the varied and robust ways our protagonists prevail! In the Garden Squad series Lilly is a fairly recent (within 2 years) widow who is just starting to come back to life to tend her gardens, and her town. She’s been there forever, but has been buried in grief so she is able to tell readers how it used to be while she notices all that has gone wrong.
Liz: I agree, Julie – I think we’ve all done a good job of making new starts fresh and different. In my Cat Cafe series, Maddie comes home for a funeral and has no intent on sticking around, until it becomes apparent that her grandfather is going to lose his house unless she steps in. Which leads to a whole new life for her back home that she never expected. And much like Julia, Barb, she doesn’t really know if she is going to stick around for all that long at first.
Sherry: Maybe we should have title this blog “you can go home again or create a new one.”
Readers: How has a new beginning played out in your life?