Welcome Cathi Stoler! How could I not invite Cathi to the blog to celebrate Bar None the first book in her Murder On The Rocks mystery series? We both have new books out set in bars! While mine is set in a small town, Cathi’s is set in the heart of New York City! I have loved seeing and getting to know Cathi at conferences so join me in welcoming Cathi to the Wickeds!
Dear Wickeds, a big thank you to Sherry for having me as a guest on your blog. I’m very excited to be here and to discuss the setting of my first book in the Murder On The Rocks Mystery series, BAR NONE, which released last week.
I love writing, and I especially love creating the kind of atmosphere that lets readers become totally immersed in the story I’m telling—the setting. Whenever I start a novel, I know the setting is going to be very important. It supports the characters, voice, and plot and brings them together to create a perfect sense of place.
My husband was in the restaurant business for many years and I came to know it fairly well. When I decided to write BAR NONE, I wanted most of the story take place in a restaurant. But, I didn’t want this fictional restaurant to be in our quiet, calm neighborhood. Instead, I chose The Lower East Side of Manhattan as the home for The Corner Lounge, and made its owner, my protagonist, Jude Dillane, the owner. It’s where she lives, and works, and unfortunately, in doing a favor for her landlord and friend, Thomas ‘Sully’ Sullivan, finds a dead body in his apartment.
I’ve always been interested in the LES and its history. When I was a teenager, it was murky territory, which of course made it all the more appealing. Then, as something slightly illicit. Today, as a great setting for a murder mystery and the unusual protagonist who solves it.
If you’ve ever seen or read anything about this neighborhood, you may know that it’s undergone a huge gentrification in the last twenty or so years, changing from a seedy, drug-filled area to a vital, thriving and diverse community with green spaces, historic buildings, and river-front promenades, all of which play a role in the story.
I spent many afternoons walking around the neighborhood, soaking up the vibe of the people, the thrift shops and vintage clothing stores, and the great restaurants that line its streets. Seeing it as Jude would see it. And, even though it’s been transformed, it hasn’t lost all of its under-the-surface edginess that still makes it so compelling.
For me, viewing the elements of a novel through a setting like the LES makes the story so much more interesting. It puts the reader right in the moment, helping them experience the story, and visualize the action so they can feel exactly what the characters feel, hear what they hear, and maybe, even figure out who done it.
Jude belongs there. Like the neighborhood itself, she’d faced adversity, and undergone a transformation. It’s a backdrop that reflects her personality and her quirkiness. I couldn’t imagine a better place for Jude to start over than The Corner Lounge on Tenth Street and Avenue B where she’s found a new life and friends who’ve become her family.
Readers: It’s well known that bartenders have lots of good stories. Would you believe one who told you they solved a murder?
Bio: Cathi Stoler’s Murder On The Rocks Series features The Corner Lounge owner, Jude Dillane and includes, BAR NONE, LAST CALL and STRAIGHT UP. She’s also written the Laurel and Helen New York Mysteries, and the suspense novels, NICK OF TIME and OUT OF TIME. She is a board member of Sisters in Crime New York/Tri-State, MWA and ITW. You can reach her at www.cathistoler.com.
Blurb: Bar None, set in the heart of New York City, is an edge-of-your-seat mystery that features Jude Dillane, owner of The Corner Lounge on 10th Street and Avenue B. When Jude finds her friend and landlord Thomas “Sully” Sullivan’s work pal, Ed Molina, dead in a pool of blood in Sully’s apartment, she’s sure it wasn’t suicide as the police suspect. Jude investigates and adds murder to her plate as she delves into a case of major fraud at the Big City Food Bank.
Available at Amazon: https://amzn.to/3fSBv3s
Barnes And Noble: https://bit.ly/2WNrs8i
Congrats on your new series, Cathi! Depending on the bartender, I might believe them. My brother-in-law is a bartender though. If he were the one telling the story, I would likely be skeptical!
Hi Marla, I understand. I think for some bartenders, it all in the telling of their stories and they often like to embellish them.
Hi Marla, Thanks for the good wishes. I think it’s all in the telling of the story. Many bartenders like to embellish their tales.
Thanks Marla. I think with bartenders, it’s all in the telling and sometimes they tend to embellish their stories.
Congrats, Cathi. I love the premise and look forward to diving into this new series. If a bartender told me that, I’d start picking her brain and thinking up a new mystery series. ;^)
Thank you, Edith. As a mystery writer, it’s great to get all the information you can.
Congratulations, Cathi, and best of luck with the new series – a murder solving bartender? Why not! Who better to hear all the dirt. People tell bartenders the darnedest stuff. I remember the LES of the late 1960s. I bet it is very different today, but I ‘m sure it still has the patina of danger.
Thank you Kate. It’s true. People tell bartenders and other customers everything and anything. The LES still has an edge but it’s really evolved and has a great mix of people living there.
Cathi, congrats on the new book!
Would I believe a bartender who told me they’d solved a murder? Well, if I could confirm the story independently I’m sure that I would.
I don’t drink, so it isn’t like I spend a lot of time in bars. But I usually sit at the bar at my favorite restaurant and the main bartender there is one that I’d more likely believe she’d committed a murder than solved one. She is not a bartender to be trifled with.
Thanks Jay. Oh, she’s one of those, huh? Probably better not to ask her too many questions.
Cheers to books set in bars! Congratulations on the new book!
Thank you Sherry. We’ll have to do a toast or two next time we meet!
Congratulations, Cathi! I love all the history of the LES. And if a bartender told me that, you’d better believe I’d be picking her brain, just like Edith!
Thanks so much Liz. Bartenders seem to know a lot of things, even if it’s not about murder. Definitely pick away.
I’ve always wanted to spend more time in NYC-now I can! Sounds like a good read.
Hi Vida. Thanks. I hope you enjoy the book and experiences some of the city through its pages.
Good morning Cathi! I’ve not had the honor of reading your books, but I’ve already found you on Facebook.
Congratulations on the release of BAR NONE. Sounds like a wonderful book. Can’t wait for the opportunity to read more about Jude and the LES.
Hi Kay, Thank you. We’ll definitely keep in touch on Facebook.
Best wishes, Cathi! Well-written thoughts on settting, which I too look for in my reading and my own writing. Agree that it’s where the story begins.
Hi Triss, Thanks so much. Just like with your books set in Brooklyn, the right setting adds so much.
Congrats and best wishes on the new book. I have this one in my TBR pile I believe but with a different cover. Is this a rerelease or the second in a series?
Hi Alicia, Thank you. It is the rerelease of the first book with a different publisher. Hope you enjoy it. The second book, LAST CALL, will be released in October, so stay tuned!
Excellent, I’ll be watching for it!
Sounds like a fun read. Hope Suspense got an arc! Good luck with the new series.
Hi Susan, Thank you. Not sure if Suspense received an ARC. If not, let me know and I’ll ask my publisher to send one.
Welcome to the Wickeds, Cathi. I love the Lower East Side setting and look forward to reading Bar None. On the more noir side of the street Dick Cass’s Elder Darrow series features a bar owner solving mysteries, so I totally buy this premise.
Hi Barbara, Thanks. I hope you’ll enjoy Bar None. I’m not familiar with the Elder Darrow series, but
I will definitely look for it.
I’m not sure I’d believe anyone who said they solved a murder who wasn’t a cop. But yet I read books where that happens all the time.
Hi Mark. I think it’s so much easier to believe in fiction. It’s that suspension of disbelief.
In real life, not so much.
A good description of setting is of prime importance to me because I need to really be “in” the story to appreciate it. Bar None sure sounds as if it fills the bill. Congrats on the release.
Thank you, Ginny. I’m glad you are about setting. I think it helps readers to wrap the story around the characters and themselves.
In my entire long life I have only ever been to two real stand alone bars, both in rather unrefined areas of their respective locations. One was a country cowboy bar and I think the bartender there was telling some tall tales, but not about murder…about cattle rustling instead. However, in the other big city bar where the lights were low and the Ink Spots were singing in person…that bartender could have told me about a murder and I would have believed.
Hi Judy. I think the atmosphere had a lot to do with it . . . and maybe the bartender!
Thanks for guest posting on the Wickeds, blog, Cathi! I love believing stories from wherever I hear them so long as they are intriguing, funny or otherwise engaging!
Hi Jessie. Thanks. It’s nice to believe in things you might not otherwise know about.
Congratulations on your new series! What an intriguing idea for a story.
Thank you Daniella. It was lots of un to write.
Hi Barbara, Hope you’llread and enjoy the book.
Cathi, what first attracted me to your book was the cover. And then I have to say it was the setting, not just NYC but the LES, and a bar, no less. Many years ago, I worked in bars and enjoyed the confidential atmosphere of the dim lights and the stories people told.
So happy the cover attracted your attention and the setting kept it. Hope your enjoyed the story.
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