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Edith/Maddie writing from a full-summer north of Boston.
Linda Lovely has a new book in a new series out, and she’s here to share it with us!
High on the Lowcountry
It’s hard not to be high on the Lowcountry. My husband and I lived in the Lowcountry for twelve years and loved the small islands we called home. Well, our love did wane a bit during hurricane evacuations.
Depending on who’s drawing the map, the Lowcountry encompasses between four and eleven South Carolina counties, but always includes coastal Beaufort County, the setting for With Neighbors Like These, the first book in my new HOA Mystery series.
Why did I choose the Lowcountry as a setting? Did I mention I love the region? The landscape is gorgeous, and there’s water—everywhere. A major lure for my heroine, Kylee Kane, a retired Coast Guard investigator, who lives on a 38-foot sailing cruiser moored at the downtown Beaufort marina.
Beaufort County claims more than three hundred islands, including Hilton Head and St. Helena Island, two of the largest. While some “islands” are only surrounded by water at high tide, the diverse delta offers Kylee plenty of opportunities to sail off to island hideaways to discover clues and stymie killers.
My heroine works as a security consultant for a company that provides management services to homeowner associations. It’s owned by Kylee’s long-time family friend, Ted Welch. Ted’s hobby is restoring a mansion in Beaufort’s Historic District. His restoration project treats readers to a glimpse of Beaufort’s historic allure. Founded in 1711, the town boasts the same beautiful antebellum architecture as Charleston in a much more intimate setting.
Beaufort’s small-town atmosphere is another asset for a mystery writer. Like Kylee’s friend Kay, who owns a B&B, locals know the movers and shakers. This means there’s plenty of gossip to mine regarding the tourist trade, land development, and the business community. While the town has an Old South core, it also has a diverse population, thanks to military installations and its billing as a retirement Mecca. More good material for a mystery writer.
The homeowner associations featured in With Neighbors Like These are fictional. I have zero knowledge of any HOA disputes in the Lowcountry. However, I doubt any region is immune to HOA dust-ups, and dozens upon dozens of HOAs are scattered about the Lowcountry. An HOA’s potential for good or harm depends on the ethics, personalities and agendas of the people who serve on its board. Plus, one person’s ideal HOA may be another person’s nightmare.
I hope you’ll come visit the Lowcountry with Kylee and me. While it’s not my current home, I keep coming back. I hope you’ll be a frequent visitor, too.
Readers: Have you visited the South Carolina Lowcountry? If so, what’s your favorite memory? Do you live in a homeowner association? If so, have you witnessed/been involved in any neighborhood spats? My heroine lives on a boat? Could you? I’ll send one commenter an ebook of With Neighbors Like These!
A journalism major in college, Linda Lovely has spent most of her career working in PR and advertising—an early introduction to penning fiction. With Neighbors Like These is Lovely’s ninth mystery/suspense novel. Whether she’s writing cozy mysteries, historical suspense or contemporary thrillers, her novels share one common element—smart, independent heroines. Humor and romance also sneak into every manuscript. Her work has earned nominations for a number of prestigious awards, ranging from RWA’s Golden Heart for Romantic Suspense to Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion for Best Cozy Mystery.