Friday, July 10, 2009

Guest Blogger - Laura Childs - An Element of Shiver....

Guest Blog from Laura Childs, author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries


Since Mayhem and Magic is the subject this month, I’m delighted to be writing this guest blog. The thing of it is, I always try to include a generous dollop of mayhem and magic in all my mysteries. And one of the most basic ways to inject a little extra element of “shiver” is by creating a strong sense of place. For example, my Scrapbook Mysteries are set in New Orleans, which is one of those cities that’s eccentric and fanciful and just naturally has a dark side. You've got the French Quarter with its grand architecture and bad behavior, above-ground cemeteries, wild Mardi Gras celebrations, and lots of old families with skeletons in the closet. New Orleans is also highly atmospheric - deteriorating mansions, live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, and fog-shrouded bayous.

My Tea Shop Mysteries are set in Charleston, SC, which also happens to be one of America’s most haunted cities. It, too, has ancient graveyards, headless Civil War soldier-ghosts marching around, haunted mansions, narrow cobblestone streets with gaslights flickering overhead, and dark, low-country bayous that stretch for miles.

As a counterpoint to the basically spooky aura I try to create, my main characters tend to be optimistic, strong women who are also pretty darned smart. Take, for instance, Carmela Bertrand, the main character in my soon-to-be-released mystery, Tragic Magic. Carmela is a smart, savvy entrepreneur who’s been through Hurricane Katrina and lived to tell about it. Although her scrapbook shop, Memory Mine, is still recovering, Carmela proves to be an intelligent, focused, amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on “coincidences” or inept police work to solve crimes. She jumps right into New Orleans society, rubs elbows with the right (and wrong) people, and digs for information. In Tragic Magic, Carmela is tapped to design set d├ęcor for a haunted house, tours an abandoned insane asylum, learns a few facts about cremation jewelry, and gets stalked in a Garden District cemetery.

Tragic Magic isn’t exactly your traditional cozy – in fact, it’s more of a thrillzy, but without the sex or really tough language. There are also a shameless amount of Southern recipes included, such as sausage gumbo, Southern coffee cookies, cocoa loco pie, and deep fried strawberries.

But just when you’ve settled back and assumed everything is safe in Carmela’s world, footsteps sound behind you and the lonely toot of a tugboat whistle floats in from the Mississippi.

Gosh, I picked a fun career!

All my best,

Laura Childs

Laura Childs is a New York Times Bestselling Author who has written ten Tea Shop Mysteries, six Scrapbooking Mysteries, and one (so far) Cackleberry Club Mystery. Due out this fall are two more mysteries – TRAGIC MAGIC and EGGS BENEDICT ARNOLD.

2 comments:

  1. I am looking forward to Tragic Magic. What a delightful blog. Thank you.
    MareF

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love your books! I have all three series on my bookshelf. Looking forward to the next releases of each.

    Alexa

    ReplyDelete

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