Becky here. One of my favorite things about cozy mysteries are the punny titles. Heather writes two different series, and when I saw that her latest Charles Dickens title was Grave Expectations, I laughed out loud. But today I’m excited she’s talking about her new series … it sounds grave, er, great too!
Thanks so much for allowing me to visit today. I’m having fun with my first cozy mystery series—the Journaling mysteries—and I feel so much at home in my amateur sleuth Mandy Meadows’s life.
I’m writing today in a complete post-holiday slump. The last of my eggnog coffee isn’t cutting it. We had our first at-home Christmas this year, after having always travelled for the holiday. I had the husband and kid home for about seventeen days straight (but who’s counting). Every day I wondered, “How can three people use this many towels?” as I ran the washer yet again…
Honestly, I wish I had Mandy’s energy! With her divorce just finalized, she’s working full time as a hospital barista, as well as putting in hours on a thriving side-hustle as a vlogger (video blogger) focused on art journaling. She’s a single mom to a teenager and has a tenant as well. Whew! Those Seattle mortgages are tough to cover. She’s doing it all, except dating. That’s where she draws the line with the kind of schedule she’s keeping.
My version of life falling apart is getting a manuscript needing edits back just before the holidays, or having my computer die on me just before my edits are due. Mandy, on the other hand, has to deal with her tenant tumbling to his death on her basement stairs. At least it’s an accident, or so she thinks until the homicide cops turn up.
One of the worst things about having to pack up her daughter and leave the house while the police process her tenant’s death, is that Mandy has to leave her journal behind. How can a busy person survive without their running to-do list? Creative outlets have always kept me sane as a working mom, and Mandy is left without her productivity and art tool. However, that irritation is nothing compared to the horror of discovering she’s a murder suspect. She has to come up with her own version of a murder board in order to figure out who the killer is before the police arrest her instead.
Not only that, when the police allow her back home, her house is less of a sanctuary than usual, with her ex-husband creating drama, evidence of a prowler, and her daughter insisting that their dead tenant is now haunting the basement. Her entire neighborhood seems drama-prone, between falling skateboarders, random car accidents, and the local dentist turning Lothario. At least the University of Seattle Hospital’s Coffee Bar is her sanctuary, until the ER doc the nurses have nicknamed “Dr. O’Hottie” starts asking her out.
Okay, I have to admit some of these are fun problems. But certainly not all of them, especially when I tell you that the tenant who died was Mandy’s own beloved cousin, and she didn’t know him nearly as well as she thought she did.
I really loved writing this story, set where I grew up, in Seattle, on a street where one of my oldest friends lives, in a house very similar to hers. I’ve never been a barista, but I’ve spent a lot of time watching the world pass by in hospital coffee bars, and I’ve been a journaler like Mandy for years. Yes, this series is very personal to me, and I hope readers enjoy Journaled to Death.
What is your favorite creative outlet?
Heather Redmond writes two mystery series, A Dickens of a Crime, featuring young Charles Dickens in the 1830s, and a Seattle-set cozy mystery series, the Journaling mysteries. Her latest Dickens title is Grave Expectations, book 2 in the series, and Journaled to Death is book 1 of her cozy series. She also writes romance as Heather Hiestand and lives in Washington state. Her website is https://heatherredmond.com. Please subscribe to her newsletter for updates and contests, available from the home page of her website.