We’re thrilled to have the charming and talented Shari Randall as our Guest Chick today! Her debut novel, Curses Boiled Again, will be released next week (Jan. 30, 2018). Bestselling author Krista Davis describes Shari’s first entry in the Lobster Shack mystery series as “A fun whodunit full of New England Coastal charm and characters who feel like friends.” Take it away, Shari!
Hi Chicks! Thank you so much for asking me to hang out with you today. I’m counting down to the launch of my debut novel, Curses, Boiled Again, on January 30. Cyber champagne for everyone!
When I started writing my book, I had all these preconceived notions about what it meant to be a novelist. Most of these notions were based on old episodes of Murder, She Wrote and Dynasty. I’d wear Joan Collins power suits. I’d have an assistant to handle all those book signings, right? I’d have plenty of time to enjoy a walk around a scenic New England harbor and solve a murder or two and my book would practically write itself, because, honestly, how often did you see JB Fletcher actually writing her book? But, as you Chicks know, those notions have nothing to do with the reality of a writer’s life.
My biggest preconception was that I would write a mystery with a heroine who was just like my favorite childhood detective, Nancy Drew. How I adored Nancy! Not just because of the cool car and her dad’s lax parenting style. She was so resourceful. I’ll never forget how once she needed to write down a license plate number but didn’t have a pen so she used her tube of lipstick instead. She conquered any sport – skiing, skating, sailing – with ease but Nancy never broke a sweat. Over sixty of her adventures formed a beautiful yellow line on my bookshelves.
When I started writing the first book in my Lobster Shack mystery series, I expected that my main character, injured dancer Allie Larkin, would be like Nancy. But something didn’t feel right. No matter how much I wrote and rewrote, something wasn’t working.
Then I went to the Malice Domestic Conference.
I found myself chatting with Mark Baker of the wonderful review site, Carstairs Considers. We talked about formative childhood reading and he asked, “Have you read any Trixie Belden?” The rest of the crowd with us lit up. Obviously, everyone else had been on the Trixie train for a long time.
Read Trixie Belden? That girl who wandered around the covers of her books with uncombed curls and ratty jeans? Nope. Never. But because Mark is such reliable guide to good books, I decided to pick up a Trixie book to see what the fuss was about.
So I checked out the first Trixie adventure, The Secret of the Mansion.
Reader, I loved it.
Yes, Trixie is a younger, less sophisticated sleuth than Nancy. She’s often stuck babysitting younger siblings, and sometimes she doesn’t do that especially well, but I honestly think Nancy would be at a loss babysitting children. They’re so messy. Give her a burly, middle aged bank robber any day.
But it’s not just a difference of age – it’s a difference of style. Nancy never has a hair out of place. Nancy doesn’t make mistakes. Nancy is twinsets and pearls, Trixie is t-shirts and tennis shoes.
Put aside age and the biggest difference for me is this: Nancy thinks before she acts and Trixie usually acts before she thinks things through. Nancy’s crime solving is more cerebral, Trixie’s more impulsive, more physical. That gets her into a lot more trouble, which she then has to get herself out of.
My main character, Allie Larkin? I’d written a Trixie instead of a Nancy.
When I figured that out, the story picked up steam – a lot of steam. My main character is closer in age to Nancy than to Trixie, but Allie’s artistic and imaginative, and a bit impulsive. She leads with her heart. She may be injured, but she is the type that runs toward danger – perfect for a sleuth. She’s not as polished as Nancy, but she’s just as dogged an investigator – and just as resourceful.
Are you Team Nancy or Team Trixie? Tell me in the comments section. I’ll give away a signed copy of Curses, Boiled Again! to one commenter. I’ll be holding additional giveaways to celebrate the publication of Curses – so be sure to stop by my Facebook Author Page or website to see the details and join the fun. And if you like, you can also check out the Goodreads Giveaway for Curses, Boiled Again! Five lucky readers will win a copy there.
Many thanks for having me here, Chicks!
Welcome to the seaside hamlet of Mystic Bay, where the fish is always fresh, the folks are ever-friendly, and murder is on a roll. . .
Allie Larkin was living her dream as a ballet dancer when a bad fall put her out of business. Now she’s back home in Mystic Bay to heal a broken ankle while also helping her dear Aunt Gully get her Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack off the ground. Nothing would help Gully more than winning the local food festival’s Best Lobster Roll contest. The competition is sure to be killer—especially after one of the contest judges dies after eating a roll from one of Gully’s biggest rivals.
Soon, all eyes fall on Gully as the prime suspect. Allie may only have one good leg to stand on, but she’s not going to let her aunt go down for a crime she never could have cooked up. Can Allie, along with her devoted crew of friends, family, and customers, find a way to trap the killer and claw herself out of this hard-boiled murder case?
When she’s not committing murder (on the page, of course), Shari enjoys walking the beach near her house, traveling and eating the local cuisine, reading, and dancing. She’s currently trying to talk her husband into a tango class. Here’s where you can connect with her. (Be sure to check out her mermaid obsession on Instagram)!
GOODREADS GIVEAWAY https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/264280-curses-boiled-again
FACEBOOK PAGE https://www.facebook.com/sharirandallauthor
We think we know what Lisa will say, but what about the rest of you – Team Nancy Drew or Team Trixie Belden? Share in the comments! Shari will send a signed copy of Curses, Boiled Again to one lucky commenter!
(The winner has been selected in the GIVEAWAY for Curses, Boiled Again! by Shari Randall, who was our guest Chick this week. Congratulations, Sue Farrell!)