I’m an author, photographer, teacher, gardener and music lover living in South Kingston, Rhode Island with my husband Charley and our two cats, ZuZu and Roxie. My blog posts, which may be found at Around ZuZu’s Barn – Conversations With Kindred Spirits, reflect these interests among other eclectic topics that catch my fancy.
Although I now write murder mysteries set in the neighboring villages of my home town, I wasn’t once so enamored with crime. I started my career fashioning tales about a little tabby born in a barn at Tanglewood, the summer residence of the Boston Symphony. The first story about ZuZu’s discovery of the music in the air soon blossomed into a series of stories set in the historic places of the western hills of Massachusetts. A Berkshire Tale follows the kitten through the adventures of her first year of life. And every tale has a happy ending, because ZuZu loves happy endings.
At the request of some friends, I eventually tried my hand at writing an adult mystery, Last Train to Kingston, and I set it in my home village of Kingston, Rhode Island. It became popular and so I followed up with Last Rose on the Vine. As a backdrop, I used the familiar places I loved when I was a student at the nearby college.
After graduation from URI, I began my teaching career at a high school in the city where I had grown up, but the beauty of South County lured me back. When it was time to buy my own home, I found a small cottage in Wakefield. And that is where I chose to set the next South County Mystery, Last Carol of the Season, which takes place during the village’s Winter Wonderland Festivities. One of my newer fans commented it would make a great Hallmark Christmas Mystery. This one is filled with lots of holiday traditions mixed with the murder and mayhem imbedded in the plots of all my books.
People have become invested in my characters, as often happens with a series. Detective Lieutenant Kara Langley, her partners, Detective Carl Sullivan and Sergeant Shwinnard, are people you would trust to help in times of trouble. Intertwined with the cases they are working on, Kara has a network of close friends who help whenever called upon. Kara’s astrophysicist husband, Stewart, loves using their kitchen to experiment with innovated recipes. URI Professor Ruth Eddleman, Sophia Carnavale, a nurse at South County Hospital and her husband Gino and his brother Rick never fail to be there for Kara when needed. I think this is the key to any good series – reading about people who work together to make things better for each other.
Right now I’ve finished writing Last Sermon for a Sinner but still need to do the background details about the village of Peace Dale. I include information on each South County village with links if readers want to find out more about the cultural and historical places featured in the books. And there are always some photos for added interest. I expect to launch this fourth book in the Fall of 2019. I’ve begun, the fifth installment to the series, Last Castle in the Sand at the request of those readers living along the beach areas in southern RI.
At every presentation, people ask how I moved from a writer of children’s books with their happy endings to the author of a local murder mystery series. I explain to them that in ZuZu’s world there are problems to solve in order to get to the happy ending she loves so dearly. Within a mystery, the happy ending lies in solving the cases and finding the culprit – making sure justice is served. This comprises an adult’s happy ending.
Please contact me if you’d like to discuss writing, mysteries, or children’s books. After all, this is a blog dedicated to conversations with kindred spirits .