My first novel, SCRAPBOOK OF SECRETS, will be published four months from now. I’m not counting the days or anything. Grin. But I think it’s about time that I introduced you to the characters that have become like old friends to me. Seriously. Now that I’m working on the third in the series, when I sit down to write, it feels like I’m visiting old friends.
My Cumberland Creek Mystery series revolves around a group of women in a small but growing Southern town. They get together to scrapbook, eat, and as it happens, to solve murders.
The story is told from three main characters points of view. They are surrounded by a secondary group of women and men. There’s also a third tier of characters I like to call my “walk-ons.” I thought I’d introduce you to the main three characters and next week I’ll tell you more about the secondary characters. The third group of characters shifts from book to book—but I’ll get into that later.
Annie Chamovitz is 36-years-old and has “retired” from the rough and tumble world of Washington, D.C., investigative journalism. She and her husband Mike moved to Cumberland Creek from Bethesda, Md., a posh suburbanish city. Her family is the only Jewish family in town. When the book opens, she is a stay-at-home mom to Sam and Ben. After being in Cumberland Creek about a year, she is finally invited to a weekly scrapbooking crop. She goes to the scrapbook gathering—reluctantly. Visions of frilly stickers and glitter paper dissuade her. Soon, she is part of the group, finding she loves the “puzzle” aspect to scrapbooking. Soon enough, she also gets sucked back into freelance journalism.
A narrative bit about Annie:
The first time Annie was asked the most popular question new residents were asked, which was “What church do you attend?” she grimaced. She felt violated. She was used to moving in an urban community in which such questions were not asked.
My favorite quote from Annie:
“I don’t need my husband’s permission, Detective, just his support. This is the twenty-first century,” she said.
Vera Matthews has just turned forty. She is the owner of the only dancing school in town. She has never quite resolved her longing for the stage. So, among other things, she delights in changing hair color and make-up palettes. She is married to her college sweetheart, Bill Ledford. She grew up in Cumberland Creek, went to college in New York City, and danced professionally for a brief period of time. Because she’s childless, she makes scrapbooks for her students and herself.
A narrative bit about Vera:
It wasn’t as if she kept secrets from her dearest friends. Some things were too private to talk about at a crop. After all, crops were primarily for scrapbooking. Oh yes, there was the social aspect that one couldn’t deny. But nothing deep or heavy should be broached.
My favorite quote from Vera:
“I may be a bitch, but I work too hard for my money to go and have some pop psychologist to charge me to tell me about the psychological aspect to a hobby. For godsakes. Some people just sap all the fun out of everything,” Vera said, taking a bite of the cake.
Beatrice Matthews is Vera’s eighty-year-old mother and is not a scrapbooker. She is a quantum physicist and has conversations with her dead husband, who appears in ghost form throughout the book—but only to her. She grew up on Jenkins Mountain, one of the many mountains surrounding the town of Cumberland Creek. At the beginning of the book, Bea is stabbed.
A narrative bit about Bea: Now this knife in the neck business concerned her. Who would do such a thing? And what would have happened if it had not been lodged just exactly where it was? She could have died—or worse, been paralyzed, at the mercy of the likes of Vera and Sheila, two mid-life fools if ever there were.
My favorite Beatrice quote: “Your Daddy bought it for me and taught me how to use it. I feel safe with it here next to me in my nightstand. So over my dead body will I get rid of it. In fact, you can bury me with my gun in one hand and Leaves of Grass in the other,” Beatrice said.
You can pre-order the book on Amazon. And if you’d like some recipes from Cumberland Creek, give me a holler and I’ll send you a pdf file. Also, I have a newsletter available, Paper. Story. Recipe. Please sign up for it in my side panel for the latest updates, news, scrapbooking deals, and hopefully, a bit of inspiration