Today Allison Brook is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Checked Out for Murder, the latest novel in the Haunted Library mystery series.
Welcome, Allison. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
CHECKED OUT FOR MURDER is the fourth book in the Haunted Library mystery series. This series takes place in a small town called Clover Ridge, in Connecticut. My sleuth, Carrie Singleton, is the head of programs and events at the Clover Ridge Library. Carrie finds herself solving murder mysteries, often with the assistance of the ghost of Evelyn Havers, a former library aide.
In this book, Carrie befriends a psychic who appears to have a secret. She also has to deal with her difficult mother who has come to Clover Ridge because her second husband is in a movie being filmed in town. Two murders occur and Carrie wonders if they are connected in any way to a homicide that took place twenty years earlier. She must locate a woman who might have the answer.
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
I like the idea of bringing in secrets of the past and the idea of linking a cold case with current murders.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
The theme of parent-child relationships underlies the story—Carrie’s relationship with her non-maternal mother—and another relationship that’s connected to the homicides.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
My characters are most important to me. I love writing a series because, with each adventure my characters develop and grow. I love to see how they relate to one another. I’m not sure how I create my characters. They simply come to mind and grow more and more real with each book.
Carrie, my sleuth, is my favorite. At the beginning of the series, she’s unhappy, rebellious and ready to leave town when she’s offered the position in the library. Over time, she develops friends, has a boyfriend, and becomes a responsible member of the community.
I adore Evelyn Havers, my ghost, who comes and goes mysteriously. She offers Carrie advice and helps Carrie solve mysteries. However, she withholds important information when she fears it will tarnish any of her relatives’ reputations. Evelyn also comes to depend on Carrie and often asks her to contact people on her behalf. I’m so fond of Evelyn because she has her own vulnerabilities.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
Clover Ridge is based on a real town that I once visited. I often read about this town and study pictures and maps of the town and its surrounding area. And of course my imagination makes up or changes what best suits my novels.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
My sleuth works in a library. While I’m not a librarian, I spend a lot of time in my library and have a good friend who has position very similar to Carrie’s.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
I think it’s a fun read and a good mystery!
Thank you for answering my questions, Allison, and good luck with Checked Out for Murder, the latest book in the Haunted Library mystery series.
Readers can learn more about Allison by visiting her website and her Facebook, Goodreads, Bookbub, Instagram and Pinterest pages. You can also follow her on Twitter (@MarilynLevinson; @AllisonBrookML ).
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Allison Brook: A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. Her books have received many accolades. As Allison Brook she writes the Haunted Library series. DEATH OVERDUE, the first in the series, was an Agatha nominee for Best Contemporary Novel in 2018. Other mysteries include the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series and the Twin Lakes series.