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