Guest Chick: Lori Roberts Herbst

Lisa here, and I’m delighted to welcome first-time Chicks guest Lori Roberts Herbst, who recently burst onto the cozy mystery scene with her fabulous Callie Cassidy Mystery series. Book One, SUITABLE FOR FRAMING, was just awarded the 2022 Silver Falchion for Best Cozy Mystery, as well as 2nd Runner Up for Best Book of 2021. Take it away, Lori!

One for the Road

“Reading a novel was like returning to a once-beloved holiday destination.” — Liane Moriarty

My husband and I are enthusiastic travelers, as you can see from our Wall of Fame.

Now that our nest is empty, we take as many trips as our work schedules and budgets allow, and we are thrilled to be back at it after the pandemic years. We barely dodged the bullet with our last cruise, a trip around the Hawaiian Islands in late February 2020. We’d heard Covid’s murmurings, of course, but it was early days, and we still lived in the bubble of disbelief. By the time we disembarked and flew home in early March, several other cruise ships had experienced outbreaks and could not dock. We breathed a sigh of relief as we locked ourselves in our home for the next months.

But I digress. Back to the pleasures of travel, one of which, for me, revolves around discovering books set in our destinations. Before every trip, I do my research and, like a connoisseur, choose a few books that pair nicely with the place.

I’m not sure when this habit started—possibly at age five, when my aunt presented me with Tike and Tiny in the Tetons before a vacation to Wyoming. I remember gazing up at the mountains even as I read about them, amazed that words on paper could so vividly reflect what I was seeing. Though I never spotted the elusive Tike and Tiny, twin bear cubs, on our vacation, they lived in my imagination.

Since then, Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon has accompanied me to many national parks. My trips to England meant time with Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. Scotland? I solved crimes alongside MC Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth. I strolled around Paris with Dan Brown and Robert Langdon, stopping in at the Louvre for some DaVinci action. Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles provided sanguine companionship in New Orleans, while Stieg Larsson’s dragon-tattooed girl protected me through Sweden. In hindsight, reading Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10 during a cruise probably wasn’t the smartest choice. When we went to Seattle, I immersed myself in Leslie Budewitz’s Spice Shop Mysteries. And James Michener’s epic Hawaii provided me with a more than sufficient historical foundation.

But the best series I’ve stumbled onto based on geographic research ensued from a train trip through Quebec. At the time, I’d never heard of Louise Penny or Armand Gamache. Now, seventeen (almost eighteen) books later, I classify myself as a full-on fangirl. When I met Louise (who graciously requested that I refrain from referring to her as the Goddess Penny) at Malice Domestic in April, I had to stifle a  squeal of delight.

For me, settings add a layer of depth to a book. A well-defined, well-drawn place almost becomes an extra character. My Callie Cassidy series takes place in fictional Rock Creek Village, Colorado, which I loosely based on the charming town of Estes Park. I hope that when readers travel to the Colorado Rockies, they take some pleasure imagining Callie and her friends hiking, shopping, and shooting photos alongside them.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’m off to plan a trip to Castle Rock, Maine. I’ve already read a few books set there, and it sounds like a fascinating place…

Readers, what are your favorite book/travel combinations? Let us know in the comments below–and say hi to Lori!

ABOUT LORI’S LATEST BOOK:

When a visit to a Colorado dude ranch turns deadly, it’s up to photographer Callie Cassidy to corral the killer…

Callie thinks she has planned the perfect bridal shower for her best friend Tonya: a week-long girls’ trip to Moonglow Ranch, where they can all bask in nature and enjoy each other’s company. Then, a conniving local woman publicly threatens the ranch’s owners, and Callie worries the trip may be destined for disaster. The next morning, she and her golden retriever Woody and tabby cat Carl discover the woman’s body in the stable, trampled by a horse. Or did the woman die from a snakebite? Or—as Callie suspects—could something even more sinister be at play? Answers are as difficult to find as a needle in a haystack. And when the town’s police chief accuses the ranch owners of murder, Callie realizes she’ll need to lasso the real outlaw—before the wrong people end up in the pokey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

LORI ROBERTS HERBST is the author of the Callie Cassidy Mystery series. The first book in the series, Suitable for Framing, won the 2022 Silver Falchion Best Cozy Mystery award, as well as 2nd Runner Up for Best Book of 2021. Her books have twice earned CIBA Murder and Mayhem first-place awards. Lori is a former journalism teacher and counselor who now writes, indie publishes, and markets her books. A proud member of the SinC Guppy chapter, she moderates the Cozy Gup group. She lives in Dallas, Texas, and will serve as the next secretary of the national Sisters in Crime.

Connect with Lori:

Amazon

Website

Facebook

Goodreads 

BookBub

25 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Lori Roberts Herbst

  1. Love the travel photos, Lori! For me, trip to Florida means either an Elmore Leonard or Carl Hiassen tale. Upstate New York includes Sarah Burr’s Glenmyre Whim cozy books. A trip to New Orleans wouldn’t be complete without Ellen’s Vintage Cookbook mysteries.
    I could go on, but that’s enough for now. Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I do the same thing, Lori! A train trip through Quebec and environs with Gamache and crew sounds absolutely delightful. I will say, however, that my Icelandic Edda (ancient Norse literature … egad!) still remains unread and I enjoyed Iceland just the same.

    As a Colorado girl and frequent visitor to Estes Park, I’ll definitely be reading yours! What made a TX gal such as yourself choose CO?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oooh, Iceland is on my bucket list!
      I’ve been traveling to Colorado since I was a child and always fantasized about living in the gorgeous state. In fact, I’m visiting Manitou Springs even as we speak! I love the mountains—never feel so at peace as when I’m here…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Me three on Iceland! I saw the Icelandic mystery/procedural series Trapped! and I was hooked.

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  3. Congrats on the book, Lori! I grew up in Maine–a great place in fact and fiction, and I visited the Grand Tetons when my daughter was a park ranger there. Unlike Anna Pigeon, she didn’t solve mysteries, but she did keep visitors at a safe distance from twin bear cubs!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Congrats on your book and the Silver Falchion, Lori!

    I think I have everything backwards. Instead of bringing a book along, I tend to read first and then want to go to the place. It probably all started with Anne of Green Gables (and I’ve still yet to travel to Prince Edward Island). Will definitely have to think of book pairings for my next trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Welcome, Lori! I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting CO for years, but I definitely enjoyed my reading visit to Callie’s Rock Creek Village. The setting was so vivid I could feel the frost and see the mountains–and in the fabulous PHOTO FINISHED, I even enjoyed the trail rides (my fear of horses has been well-documented here on Chicks, lol). Right now I’m working on an Irish-themed book. I’ve been furiously incorporating my real-life trips to the Emerald Isle with practically every page.

    Like

  6. I, too, love to read books set in the places I’m visiting–which has the added benefit of extending your vacation for as long as it takes to finish the books! Michener was long a favorite, but now I tend toward murder mysteries, because who doesn’t like to read about dead bodies in the place they’re visiting?

    Congrats on the new book and on the awards, Lori, and thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lori, so sorry about the delayed response. I love books that inspire me to visit new locations. My dream and #1 bucket list item is to visit the Brontë Parsonage and walk the moors the Brontës walked.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Congrats on the Silver Falchion, Lori — and thanks for hanging out today with the Chicks!
    For trips, I usually hit the guide books and websites. But, reading fiction set at the destination is a brilliant idea. When I can’t travel, I often cozy up to the fire with a cup of tea in Jane Marple’s cottage. Always a favorite escape for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Vickie! I’m kind of an organizer savant (though my husband calls me a control freak…lovingly, of course!), so I do the guide books and websites, too. But those fiction books just give a place depth and mood that most guide books don’t (except maybe Rick Steves). Like you, I also love traveling virtually!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lori, thank you so much for being here and congratulations on all of the accolades! Your series sounds fabulous, and I’m even more intrigued with the Estes Park-inspired setting, as I’ve been and have loved.

    When I visited Florence, I gleefully texted my son and fellow Dan Brown reader about visiting various murdery/mystery-laden locales from Inferno. As for Ware’s Woman in Cabin 10, I was planning a cruise whilst reading, which made the experience that much richer!

    Liked by 1 person

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