Author Diane Weiner’s new release The Tainted Course is a winner in my book. The Tainted Course is the fourth in her Sugarbury Falls Series. I thank Diane for guesting on my blog with a post on the ins and outs of writing another book in an already popular series. Welcome, Diane.
From devouring soap operas with my grandmother to reading Nancy Drew mysteries, I’ve always loved a good series. The characters and settings become old friends and unlike in a standalone or a movie, the characters have time to grow and change over a period of time while we become more and more attached to them. A series is attractive because we are in it for the long haul.
In my ten-book Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mysteries series, retired teacher Susan Wiles solves murders which occur in and around school settings. Just how many mysteries can Susan solve without the books getting boring? What about Emily and Henry Fox in my Sugarbury Falls series? Semi-retired and living in a small town in Vermont, they’ve already seen a lot of action. How does an author keep a series fresh, both for herself as a writer, and for her readers?
We learn by exposure to different people, ideas, and locals. So do my main characters. What happens when you think your newly found half-brother is a killer, or you’re stuck with your recently discovered mother on house arrest in your home? How do you react when you’ve lived a peaceful life for half a century and suddenly must deal with a moody, eye-rolling teenager? What if your child is in danger? Do you remain meek and quiet if that’s been your way, of does the situation bring out a wild cougar you never knew existed?
In Murder is Medical, the latest in the Schoolhouse Mysteries, Susan teams up with a new friend. We hadn’t seen her working with someone her own age with the same intelligence, curiosity, and gumption as she has. How does she adapt and what does she learn from the experience? By observing the actions and quirks of her new friend, what does she realize about herself?
Changing locales is another way to keep a series fresh. In Murder is Private, Susan and her daughter travel to Florida and help solve a murder while visiting newly discovered family members. Susan and Mike travel to Atlanta to solve a crime linked to a mysterious letter they receive in Murder is Legal, and to St. Louis in Murder is Medical. New places bring new people and situations into the mix. I’m planning on writing about a destination wedding in an upcoming book.
Health problems can also keep a series fresh. What does Susan do when Mike has a heart attack and she fears losing him? What about keeping her own diabetes in check? She struggles with weight all through the series, having, like most of us, her ups and downs with it. Emily faces a possible cancer diagnosis. How does she react, especially now that she has a child and that child has already lost a mother recently?
Characters, like all of use, have personal demons, doubts, shortcoming, and self-inflicted obstacles. Over the course of a series, we can empathize with a character facing many of the challenges that we do. Our interactions with others, new experiences, and the challenge of overcoming vulnerabilities is a catalyst for growth both for the reader and the for the protagonist.
Emily and Henry are back and there is a new resident in Sugarbury Falls. She brings with her an entire set of problems that disrupt the lives of the community. It is no secret that this series is my favorite series of Diane’s. My previous reviews have stated that.
This is a cozy series but this book touches on a few serious subjects that are prevalent in our society today. I give kudos to bringing this up in her cozy mystery and Sugarbury Falls. As much as we want our books to take us away from the world and give us that cozy feel, adding a little of the real world is not necessarily a bad thing because small communities are not immune to the world’s problems and the way small towns come together in times of crisis is refreshing. I give this book five stars.
In a town known for covered bridges, craft fairs, and a cat cafe, murder just doesn’t fit. When newcomer Faith Maguire is murdered, sleuthing couple Henry and Emily Fox are compelled to find the killer and restore equilibrium to their beloved hometown. After all, their daughter is friends with the victim’s daughter, and the body was discovered after a dinner at their good friend Coralee’s inn. Is the owner of the new bed and breakfast in town responsible? Emily uncovers disturbing evidence that shows she’s capable of such a deed. Meanwhile, an elusive motorcyclist throws warning messages through the Fox’s cabin, the handyman from the inn makes secret treks after dinner, and Faith’s ex-husband, denied custody of his girls’ thanks to his wife’s accusations, has been less than truthful since coming to town. Will teamwork bring the killer to justice before it’s too late?
Diane Weiner is a veteran public school teacher and mother of four children. She has enjoyed reading for as long as she can remember. She has fond memories of reading Nancy Drew and Mary Higgins Clark on snowy weekend afternoons in upstate New York and yearned to write books that would bring that kind of enjoyment to her readers. Being an animal lover, she is a vegetarian and shares her home with two adorable cats. In her free time, she enjoys running, attending community theater productions, and spending time with her family (especially going to the mall with her daughter and getting Dairy Queen afterward). Murder is Medical is the latest (book 10) in the Susan Wiles School House Mystery series. Clearing the Course (book 3) is the latest in her Sugarbury Falls series. A Deadly Course won an Eric Hoffer finalist award. Murder is Collegiate made the shortlist for the Chanticleer Murder and Mayhem Mystery Award. Follow her at dianeweinerauthor.com or visit her Facebook page at dianeweinerauthor.
Thank you for being here Diane. I hope you visit her links and enthrall yourself with her mysteries.