Digging for Death by Caroline Clemmons

Marilyn, thank you for having me as your guest.

Don’t you love books set in a small town? Life is kinder, gentler and slower paced in a small town. The wholesome atmosphere makes murder all the more shocking. Even when the victim is the meanest man in town, no one expects him to end up dead by misadventure.

Cozy mysteries are one of my favorite genres. Since 1998 I had written a contemporary mystery (ALMOST HOME) and numerous romances with a heavy dose of mystery, but yearned to try my hand at writing a cozy series. For each possibility I considered, there were other similar-sounding series already available. What to choose, what to choose?

When our Texas weather is tolerable in spring and fall, my youngest daughter and I enjoy a favorite nursery, Weston Gardens in Fort Worth, Texas. We tour the grounds of the home next to the nursery. The grounds include a rose garden and gazing pool, an arbor, extensive gardens with a koi pond, and a stone ship (yes, stone) at a large creek’s edge that functions as a meeting area for lectures and tea tasting (there's also a lecture area inside a building for inclement weather).

Probably due to our affinity for Weston Gardens paired with my own quirky mind, I came up with the idea of a young woman, Heather Cameron, who managed a garden center for the grandparents who raised her. The great-grandmother, Gigi, was inspired by my late mom and her elderly friend, each of whom was/is known to speak her mind. I didn’t choose a garden center and landscape designer on a whim. The family of one of my critique partners owned a garden center in El Paso, and my eldest daughter is a Master Gardener. Each of them was helpful, plus I researched extensively. In addition, I used to belong to an active garden club and have many gardening books.

One of writing’s advantages is that the author has license to create locales. Into the plot I inserted my own concept of a nineteenth century home that had grown in a rambling hodge podge up through modern times, and arranged extensive gardens to suit my purposes. I threw in a fictional town, Gamble Grove, about an hour’s drive north of Dallas and had a lovely time peopling this new little world. In spite of the fact that writing is hard work, I had fun plotting the novel and writing it.

And this brings me to the result, DIGGING FOR DEATH, first in the Heather Cameron cozy series. Here’s a blurb:

          Garden center manager Heather Cameron is DIGGING FOR DEATH to prove her old family friend, mentor, and employee, Walter Sims, is innocent of murdering the meanest man in town. Heather can’t trust the police to find the real killer when all clues point to poor Walter. The dead man was beaten to death with Walter’s shovel several hours after they were overheard arguing, and the two men had a long history of enmity. Walter definitely looks guilty, but Heather is sure—well, almost positive—okay, she certainly hopes her friend and mentor is innocent.
          Heather is compelled to scour the fictional North Central Texas town of Gamble Grove to exonerate her old friend. She’s encouraged when the new police detective in town, Kurt Steele, shows interest in helping her look for clues.  
          The deeper Heather digs into the dead man’s life, the more she justifies his ruthless reputation. Walter is indicted, but police begin to suspect the victim’s stepson as murderer. Heather is convinced the stepson couldn’t have murdered anyone either—although it’s clear no love was lost between the two men. The attempted murder of the victim’s real son creates a new twist. Can Heather solve the murder without becoming the killer’s next victim?

DIGGING FOR DEATH is available in print or e-book.

Author Bio:
Caroline Clemmons writes mystery, romance, and adventures—although her earliest made up adventures featured her saving the West with Roy Rogers. Eventually, her best friend from across the street and she decided to become better detectives than Nancy Drew. The two girls drove their parents and neighbors crazy sticking their pert little noses where they didn't belong. About that time, Caroline started writing down her adventures, but mostly she was a reader. Her career has included stay-at-home mom (her favorite job), newspaper reporter and featured columnist, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, and bookkeeper. She and her husband live in rural North Central Texas with a menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, travel, browsing antique malls and estate sales, and researching genealogy/family history.

Excerpts from some of her exceptional reviews can be found on her website at www.carolineclemmons.com. View her blog posts Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com and find book reviews, giveaways, interview, and miscellany.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/carolinclemmons (No E in Caroline)

Caroline loves to hear from readers at caroline @ carolineclemmons (dot) com

Thanks for stopping by today, Caroline. I loved learning about your book and a bit about your too.


Kevin R. Tipple said…
And, as one of the folks who saw early drafts of DIGGING FOR DEATH, I can say the book is really, really good.
Thanks, Kevin. I value your opinion. Thanks also to Marilyn for having me today.
Geri said…
Carolyn, I love your pictue! Great artical!

Maria Connor said…
I recently contracted what I hope will be the first in a series set against the backdrop of an exclusive island resort. It is a different setting than your small town, but I also have found creating this "community" to be very inspiring. What were some of the biggest challenges to you in world building?
Ruby Johnson said…
Thorough. That is the word that comes to mind when I think of the background research you do for your books. You've written another good book. Congratulations!
Thanks for the comments. In building my community, I picture the protagonists' home and business and draw a little layout of the business and the town. In that way, I can be consistent in mentioning where a business is located, etc. This is especially important for a series.
Diana Cosby said…
Digging For Death sounds like an intriguing story. I didn't know of your interest in gardens. An interesting setting, excellent plot, and love your characters who will surely make this a wonderful read!
Diana Cosby said…
Digging For Death sounds like an intriguing story. I didn't know of your interest in gardens. An interesting setting, excellent plot, and love your characters who will surely make this a wonderful read!
Diana Cosby said…
Digging For Death sounds like an intriguing story. I didn't know of your interest in gardens. An interesting setting, excellent plot, and love your characters who will surely make this a wonderful read!
Paty Jager said…
Caroline, Sounds like a great start to a fun series. I have the book on my Kindle, waiting for me to get to it. Fun learning the background behind the story.
Celia Yeary said…
Caroline--I just can't see you as a mystery writer--you're a Western Romance author!!! So, I'm having a hard time relating.
However, your book does sound like a good one, and I'm pleased for you that you finally got your heart's desire accomplished. Don't you love to create fictional towns? And it's nice to be able to say it's near Dallas, or some such place that you know.
I wish you all the luck with your series, and...yes, you do look good sitting at the table, pen at the ready to sign those book.
Thank you, everyone, who came and read about Digging for Death and left a comment for Caroline. Such a great show of support. And thank you, Caroline for visitng me today.
Marilyn, thanks again for having me on your blog today.
Earl Staggs said…
DIGGING FOR DEATH is an excellent story by an excellent writer. I recommend it highly.
Dee stuart said…
This book was a refreshing read with such likeable characters, that
I hated to see it end. I hope to
meet them again in the next book in
this series.

Dee Stuart
Jake said…
Added to list & hope to read in next few days. Always enjoy your blog postings.

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