Welcome our guest poster - DAWN EASTMAN!
Let's give a warm welcome to our guest weekend poster, Dawn Eastman. Dawn is the author of the "Family Fortune" series for Berkley Prime Crime.
Inspired by Fun
Have you heard the “write what you know” advice to writers? I used to wonder how to make the things I know, which seem pretty boring to me, interesting enough for readers. But now I take it to mean that in order to make a fictional world real for the reader, it should be real for the writer. And for me, I also have to be entertained while I’m writing or I just can’t make myself sit in the chair. I started writing the Family Fortune Mysteries five or six years ago. They weren’t called that at the time. I think I referred to the first book as “that reluctant-psychic book.” Clytemnestra (Clyde) Fortune, her mother Rose, and her aunt, Violet appeared one day when I was busy avoiding another book. I had just finished my first full novel – a mystery that was okay, but not great. I felt like taking a break from editing (or completely re-writing) that “practice book.”
Then I heard voices – even though I was alone in the house. I assure you, this is not normal for me. Two older women were discussing what was to be done with a younger family member who was refusing to take their sage advice and join the family business. The young woman piped up saying she had a perfectly excellent career, thank-you-very-much. When I realized that the “family business” was psychic fortune-telling, I was hooked.
Pall in the Family introduces the quirky Fortune family as Clyde returns home to Crystal Haven, Michigan for a “brief” break from her law enforcement career. One thing leads to another, as they do in cozy mysteries, and she stumbles on a murder. That first book was fun to write because I was getting to know the characters – all of whom were weird and eccentric in their own way. I was able to spend time in a fun little town, populated by psychics, wiccans, palm readers, and a few “normal” people. I threw in a couple of dogs, because I can’t imagine life without a dog.
The rest of the series has continued the theme – whatever entertains me, goes in the book. Halloween is my favorite holiday, so Be Careful What You Witch For takes place in late October and begins at a fall festival that could only happen in Crystal Haven. The third book, A Fright to the Death is set in a “haunted” castle during a knitting retreat. Knitting is one of my favorite things, and who doesn’t love a haunted castle? I also enjoyed playing with the idea of a “locked room” mystery.
The most recent book, An Unhappy Medium, features a zombie run, pirates, and family secrets – plus stolen diamonds. I’m not a runner, but the idea of a zombie themed 5K (these things actually exist) was too entertaining to pass up. Clyde is on a running team, but aunt Vi and Rose dress up as zombies and lurk in the woods to complicate things for the runners. Clyde’s sister, Grace, returns to Crystal Haven and family drama ensues. I tossed in a town meeting, a strange parade, and an annoying palm reader. The dogs, as usual, have important roles.
So, rather than “write what you know” I write what I would like to know, or what I would like to read. Hopefully, other people are entertained by some of the same things. If you haven’t read one of the Family Fortune mysteries, I hope you’ll come visit some time. And if you have, then on behalf of Crystal Haven, we’d like to say “welcome back.”