The Chicks are delighted to welcome as our guest today fab author Christina Freeburn, whose latest book, Not A Creature Was Stirring, the first in a new series, is just released. Take it away, Christina!
Hi everyone! I’m Christina Freeburn. I write the Scrap This Mystery and the Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mysteries series. Or as I like to say, I write a mix of crafty and crime. I’ve always loved mysteries and crafting. I’ve cross-stitched, painted, created cards, beaded, scrapbooked, crocheted, paper crafted, embellished t-shirts, and vinyl décor which is my new crafting love. There hasn’t been a craft I haven’t tried. I’ve always enjoyed creating whether it’s crafts — or writing. The first book I ever wrote was a teenage romance story when I was in the ninth grade.
When I started writing cozy mysteries it seemed natural to incorporate crafting into the story. It was something I enjoyed doing, and at that time I was immersed in the world of scrapbooking. I read the magazines, participated (and even moderated) in message boards, and attended weekend crafting crop retreats. Scrapbooking seemed the perfect backdrop for a young woman who was trying to start her life over by returning home. My heroine Faith had a harrowing experience while venturing off to see the world and shake off small town life. She returned to her hometown, and grandmothers, and tried to pretend her most recent past didn’t exist. I loved how Faith used scrapbooking as a way to reconnect with her family and remind herself of the good things in her life.
A while ago, I found myself with an unusual problem, I couldn’t get Faith engaged in a plot. It didn’t matter the plot or the length of the story, she just wasn’t interested in amateur sleuthing. It’s hard to write a mystery when your heroine doesn’t want to show up on the page. I knew it wasn’t because I didn’t want to write anymore, I get a little testy if I go days without writing, there was just something causing me and Faith to be on a “break”. Faith and I were at different stages of life, her soon-to-be-married and start a family and me going through the pangs of empty nesting. Maybe the problem wasn’t so much Faith but me.
I needed to write so I decided to write a mystery with a new character. Someone crafty. An older heroine who had a crafting business, vinyl crafting, which she balanced with seasonal jobs, because it’s not that easy to make a living crafting. As I usually work out my own struggles through writing, she’d also be an empty nester. I started writing and Merry Winters appeared. Newly divorced. Youngest had moved out. Now with no children to worry about fending for, Merry could focus on herself and her crafting business. It was a time of dreams and excitement…but as happens in a mystery, the start of her adventure came with an unexpected, unwanted, and very dead, stowaway.
Since my new crafting obsession was vinyling, I knew it was the perfect crafting business. Plus, there is so much Merry can create: signs, personalized gifts, t-shirts, decorated wine glasses, wine bottles (my favorite!). But I also wanted her to have more of a crafting niche. Something else I loved: Christmas. Merry would be all about Christmas and helping people experience more of the season through the items she handcrafted for gifts and décor. And it’s also an attitude, hope and belief in goodness, that she carries with her all year round.
Empty nester Merry Winters loves three things: Christmas, crafting and her family. To regain purpose and joy, Merry hits the road to a Christmas vendor event with her furry sidekick Ebenezer in her new mobile crafting sleigh, aka an RV.
But it soon turns into the nightmare before Christmas when Merry unwraps her Scrooge of an ex-husband’s body in one of the RV’s compartments. Add to that his missing winning lottery ticket believed to be stashed somewhere in the RV, leading the homicide detective and Merry’s stepdaughter to believe Merry is the one whodunit.
With visions of prison dancing in her head, will Merry be able to solve this Christmas calamity before she’s locked away?
Christina Freeburn has always loved books. There was nothing better than picking up a story and being transported to another place. The love of reading evolved into the love of writing and she’s been writing since her teenage years. Her first novel was a 2003 Library of Virginia Literary Award nominee. Her mysteries series, Faith Hunter Scrap This and Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mysteries, are a mix of crafty and crime and feature heroines whose crafting time is interrupted by crime solving. Christina served in the US Army and has also worked as a paralegal, librarian, and church secretary. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid of or allergic to felines. Connect with Christina and learn more about her books on her website.
Do you have a craft or hobby you enjoy? What is your favorite creative outlet? Please share in comments.