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The Joy of Avalon

Has a novel ever helped you get through a hard time? They’ve helped me, so I was just wondering. Usually, when a book “takes me away,” it’s not the dense, classic type you study in school. Right now, when I need to get to sleep, I’m finding Fannie Flagg’s new novel THE WONDER BOY OF WHISTLE STOP is a great help. I love revisiting those folks from FRIED GREEN TOMATOES and finding out that some of them are doing just fine, thanks.

I’ve loved hearing and telling stories since I was a kid. I loved creating worlds and populating them. I had so many friends! Of course no one else knew them, or knew where the secret rock was, where we met. I also had breathtaking adventures as the youngest secret agent. Again, it’s nowhere on my resume (but would anything employing the word “secret” be on a resume?).

For me, now, writing is therapy. It’s where I channel my emotions and explore life’s questions. As you know from my last post, I started writing the Bartender’s Guide to Murder series after our catastrophic house fire. One thing you can be sure of: someone facing murder is worse off than me.

The mysteries I write tend to feature of cast of characters who are, for the most part, good folks. They’ve got issues–everybody’s got issues–but only one or two of them would actually kill anybody. The rest of them are dealing with life, in all it’s joy and sorrow and messiness and complexities, and with all it’s questions and quirks. That’s the part I love.

That’s why I’m so lucky to have Avalon Nash, my young bartender heroine. Avalon is smart, she’s intuitive, she’s got issues that go deeper than mine. But mostly, she asks questions. That’s what I love about writing these mysteries, is that I get to explore life’s questions–sometimes, the tough questions–alongside folks I like. Even if they’re fictional.

The second of Avalon’s adventures, Death by Gravity, is coming out on December 2. In it, she deals with some more difficult issues than she did in the first book. I’m grateful for the reviews the book has gotten, but I’m a little afraid when people call these books “cozies.” One person said the first book was “squeaky clean” except for some language in difficult scenes.

I never meant the books to be cozies or squeaky clean. I do believe difficult things are sensitively handled. Violence is referenced but happens offstage. They’re rated PG-13, at most.

I do hope the tone is one of hope. That’s what I need to work through all the craziness in this world to get to. That’s where I direct my stories.

If novels have helped get you through hard times, I’d love to hear which ones. I always feel those of us who have read the same books have friends in common.

Oh, here’s a special offer. If you’ve read a Bartender’s Guide mystery, or even if you haven’t, if you email me at Sharon@SharonLinnea.com with the subject line Drinks to Die For, I’ll send you a fun ebooklet with some yummy recipes from the books.

In the meantime, cheers!

Sharon

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