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: