“Where do you get your story ideas?” is the most common question I get asked.
For Digging Up Secrets, my upcoming cozy mystery from Annie’s Attic, the answer is . . . my life!
I was staying at the hospital with my grandson Jed when I was invited to write this story for a new multi-author Victorian Mansion Flower Shop cozy mystery series, but I knew instantly that I’d have no trouble finding fodder for it.
First of all, the heroine, Kaylee Bleu, has just taken over her grandmother’s flower shop housed in an old Victorian Mansion and I live in a similar old house—very old. In fact, two days before the editor contacted me I’d been home for the weekend and our well’s foot pump went kaput, so we had to dig down to the well head. Trouble was . . . we didn’t know where it was!
We had a general idea, based on where the pipes entered the basement, and began digging. But by the time we unearthed the well head, we had a grave-size hole, five feet deep beside our house. So . . .
Of course, I knew the same trouble needed to befall Kaylee. And although being without water for several days is troublesome enough for a flower shop with countless thirsty flowers inside, how much better to find unknown human remains in the hole?
Thankfully, that part came from my imagination, not personal experience!
Then again . . . when my kids were younger, they did set up an “archaeological dig” next to our house and came across some bones.
But I’m pretty sure they were old beef bones a dog had buried.
But I digress.
As if we didn’t have enough crazy things to deal with that summer, once we had the new pump installed, the awesome improved water pressure blew our hot water tank and flooded the basement. So . . .
Guess what other trouble Kaylee will face, besides trying to figure out who’s buried in her backyard? 🙂 To make matters worse, the police are slow to release the crime scene and allow the plumber to get her well back in operation, which not only puts her plants’ health in jeopardy, but her entire business.
It also helps that I have tons of “plant research” under my belt from my Port Aster Secrets series.
Translation: I know lots of plants that can
kill hurt people, as well as many ways forensic botanists can glean clues from crime scenes. 😉
Did I mention Kaylee has a PhD in plant taxonomy, and had been a university professor who also did forensic botany consulting for law enforcement, before her position was suddenly eliminated?
Kaylee also tends to refer to plants by their taxonomical name, rather than their common name, a phenomenon I also have ample experience with, since my eldest daughter studied horticulture for three years.
Sadly, I didn’t actually get to visit the story’s locale, the picturesque Orcas Island of the San Juan archipelago off the west coast of Washington State, but I did a lot of “island life” research for Over Maya Dead Body, which helped.
So aside from interviewing a few florists for anecdotal details and reading up on Orcas Island, this was one book I could dive right into writing. Or should I say dig?
About Digging Up Secrets:
Nothing is coming up roses for Kaylee Bleu. Not only are all of the plants in her flower shop going thirsty because of a busted well pump, but a competing florist on Orcas Island is stealing customers from The Flower Patch. As if that wasn’t enough to turn her into Florist Grump, a new client who could be Kaylee’s golden ticket to the lucrative country club set is also her most persnickety yet—and continuously threatens to take her business elsewhere.
But all of that seems like no big deal when Kaylee’s plumber discovers a fractured skull in her shop’s yard. The remains belong to Danny Lane, a troubled teen accused of killing a high school girl in a boating accident thirty-five years ago. The consensus around Turtle Cove was that the boy fled town shortly after the accident, but Kaylee thinks the holes in that story are as big as the grave-size pit dug up around her well head.
Unfortunately, somebody on Orcas Island wants Kaylee to leave the past buried.
Image courtesy of stockdevil at FreeDigitalPhotos.net