by Barb, taking time out from book jail in Maine
Hidden Beneath, the eleventh book in my Maine Clambake Mystery series, releases today. It feels like it’s been a long time coming, but it’s actually almost exactly a year since the last book in the series, Muddled Through, was published. And only six months since the last novella, “Perked Up,” in Irish Coffee Murder came out.
To celebrate, I’m giving away paperback copies of Hidden Beneath to two lucky commenters below.
A New Map
Regular readers of the blog and the series will be familiar with the map of Busman’s Harbor, Maine that I had made for the release of Shucked Apart. My goal at the time was to capture the intricate world I’d created through nine novels.
My motivation to create the new map was just the opposite. Instead of a sprawling world that threatened to get out of my control, I was dealing with a limited geography that was critical to the story. As I wrote Hidden Beneath, I had such a hard time visualizing my characters movements through this terrain that I had to rely on my hand-drawn map a great deal. Unlike Busman’s Harbor, which is deeply familiar to me at this point, Chipmunk Island, the site of the new novel, was terra incognito. I was making it up as I went along.
Chipmunk Island appears on the map of Busman’s Harbor and in several of the earlier books in the series, mostly as the Snowden Family Clambake tour boat, the Jacquie II, takes customers out to Morrow Island to enjoy their clambake meals. In other words, in passing. Up until this book, I had only the vaguest notion of who lived on the island, and aside from the shape that contributes its name, knew next to nothing about the physical island either. Hidden Beneath fills those spaces.
As with the previous map, I worked with artist Rhys Davies. I drew a (terrible) draft of the map and researched the houses. That process was made much easier this time, because a) I hadn’t described the houses in multiple books prior to looking for physical examples, and b) Kensington did such a terrific rendering of the victim’s house for the cover that I had my starting point. Rhys did everything else. We went back and forth a few times, but we’re veterans of working together now. I highly recommend him should you ever need a map.
A new book and a new map. Feels like a day for celebration!
Readers: Do you like maps in books? Do you find them helpful or distracting? Comment below or just say “hi” for a chance to win one of two copies of Hidden Beneath.