Edith/Maddie here, with our fourth August Wicked Wednesday.
We are still in what we think of as full summer. School hasn’t started yet in Massachusetts. People are still going to the beach, having cookouts, wearing white and drinking gin and tonics, and relaxing in the warmth of the season. But, alas, dear readers, we’re closer to the fall equinox than the summer solstice. The light in New England makes sure we know it, too: sunrise today is at 6:59, and sunset at 7:31. The sun slants more, and the air changes.
Halloween Party Murder, the collection Barb has her novella “Scared Off” in, released in paperback yesterday, and congratulations, by the way! And that also got me thinking about the fall even while we’re still enjoying the activities and fruits of summer.
Wickeds, would you rather write about the summer or the fall? Which books have you set in August and which in September, October, or November? Did it change the way you wrote? Which season do you prefer for yourself?
Liz: I love both! They’re both my favorite seasons. My Pawsitively Organic Mystery A Biscuit, A Casket is set in October around Halloween, and the Cat Cafe Mystery The Tell Tail Heart is a November book. Claws for Alarm is a summer book. And I’m currently working on the newest Cat Cafe Mystery, which will be another Halloween setting.
Barb: My Maine Clambake books are about a very seasonal place and business, so it makes a huge difference which time of year I’m writing about. The novels that take place during the clambake season are full of sun and fun and great food, though Julia finds it challenging to find time to solve a mystery. The stories in the off-season are better for sleuthing but without the tourists and snowbirds, there are fewer victims available. The novellas are tied to holidays, all of them in the off-season, and I particularly love the challenge of writing those stories.
Julie: The five books in the Garden Squad take place in one calendar year. May/June, August, October, December, May/June. One would think that writing books that center on gardening would be harder in the fall/winter, but I loved writing Wreathing Havoc and Digging Up the Remains. Lilly, after all, has a greenhouse. The spring season for gardening is the time of opportunity. Late summer, which is when Tilling the Truth takes place, is always hot and often dry. My other books mostly took place in the fall and winter, so I suspect that may be my favorite time of year to write about.
Sherry: Like Julie, both my series follow calendar years. Each of the four Chloe books is in a different season which follow the local seasons — summer is the busiest, fall the quietest, winter is snowbird season, and then it’s spring break season. The garage sale books take place over two years with more of them in the spring/summer/fall because of the nature of the business. I don’t have a preference as far as writing in a season, but I do love fall personally!
Edith/Maddie: I’ve set books in each season all around the year in each of my series. Like Barb, my Local Foods mysteries were seasonally tied to what’s growing on the farm and how much time Cam has to deal with murder, and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries are connected to which tourist season it is on Cape Cod. It’s a bit hard for me to write in the summer, because I love being outside so much, but I do it anyway! And it’s as fun to write a blizzard scene when you’re sweltering in July heat as it is taking your characters to the beach when it’s snowing outside your office.
Jessie: I agree with Edith that it can be such fun to “visit” another season while living in another one. My last Beryl and Edwina book was set in August and the one I am writing at present is set in late September/early October. I tend to enjoy writing books set in any season but often the story springs from research that ends up guiding when the novel will take place. Like Sherry, I love autumn in real life!
Readers: Do you have favorite seasons to read about, or to read in?