Today Charlie Cooke is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Fishing For Trouble, the latest novel in the Alaskan Diner mystery series.
Welcome, Charlie. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
FISHING FOR TROUBLE is the second adventure in The Alaska Diner Mysteries. I’m Charlie Cooke, owner and manager of The Bear Claw Diner, and I can’t seem to avoid getting involved in more hazardous activities than dropping a skillet on my foot OR forgetting to buy new kitchen cloths. Early on, family friend and Alaska State Trooper Cody Graham informally deputized me a couple of friends, one my BFF and inn owner, the other a local journalist. You can see how short-handed he must be! In this second novel in the series, college students who flock to Alaska’s fishing industry for the summer get into more trouble than dorm parties, and one of them loses his life to murder.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
I’m kind of afraid to go against my writer, since this is her 4th pen name, leading me to believe she’s hiding from the law. Suspicious, don’t you think? So, I don’t argue when she puts me in risky situations, though I might add that it is my life that’s on the line, not hers. She’s really Camille Minichino, sitting in a cozy office in California, not buffeted by snowstorms, never being called on to follow a clue to a murderer. Plus she almost never cooks! Is this at all fair?
How did you evolve as the main character?
I’m lucky enough to be an heiress! Not to a great fortune, or to a royal title, but to a thriving business—a diner that my mom had worked hard to make a success. Elkview, Alaska is on the main drag, you might say, on one of very few roads in the state. We are between the two major cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks, and close to Talkeetna, a jumping off point to Denali National Park. We get tours going in both directions, to or from the Aurora Borealis, and we’re one of the staging areas for rock and ice climbers. When Mom was ready to retire, and hand off both the Bear Claw diner and her orange tabby, Benny (short for Eggs Benedict, the world’s best cat), I gladly stepped in.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
I’m also lucky enough to be sharing my days with my childhood BFF, Annie Jensen, who, coincidentally, inherited her family inn, just down the road from my diner. My staff is great, also, never minding when I leave them to manage the diner while I traipse off with Annie and Chris, the local reporter, to work on a case for Trooper Graham. I’m still trying to figure out where Chris and I are going, if anywhere, but recently we took it up a notch and had a real date where he took me up in a small plane (he’s a pilot, too) for a scenic tour of our neighborhood.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
A very small town, so you have to behave, more or less. Tourism is a major industry, keeping both me and Annie busy year round. As I’ve said, the scenery in every direction is breathtaking—mountains, fjords, lakes, glaciers, parks, and wildlife. And it’s a great morning when I wake up to find a herd of elk in my back yard.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
I’ve enjoyed being featured in “Fishing for Trouble” and in the whole series. So far, my friends and I have been successful in helping our friend Trooper Graham, who has a heavy workload. Once in a while, he worries that we’re putting ourselves in danger, but we have each other and a perfect record of solving our cases! Also, I love seeing my name—that’s CHARLIE (short for Charlotte) COOKE—in print, so if you could post a review, I’d appreciate it!
Thank you for answering my questions, Charlie, and good luck to you and your author, Elizabeth Logan, with Fishing For Trouble, the latest book in the Alaskan Diner mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Elizabeth Logan: Camille Minichino, who writes as Elizabeth Logan, is turning every aspect of her life into a mystery series. A retired physicist, she’s the author of 28 mystery novels in 5 series, with different pen names. Her next book is “Mousse and Murder,” May 2020, by Elizabeth Logan. She’s also written many short stories and articles. She teaches science at Golden Gate U. in San Francisco and writing workshops around the SF Bay Area.