Today Trudell Becket is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about The Broken Spine, the first novel in the Beloved Bookroom mystery series.
Welcome, Trudell. 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.
Oh, hello there. I didn’t notice you at first. Most strangers to our town don’t come into the library. They’re here to go fishing on the lake or to hunt. The town of Cypress in South Carolina isn’t much more than a dot-on-a-map-blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of small town. But it’s my home, and for that matter the only place I’ve ever called home. Who am I? I’m Trudell Becket, assistant librarian.
You’ve stepped into the first book of the Beloved Bookroom Mystery series. And what a day to come into the book, too. There’s trouble afoot. The town manager is converting my beloved library into a high-tech bookless library. You heard that right. He’s getting rid of all of these lovely books. He’s selling some and sending all the rest to the landfill. Nothing I’ve said can get him to change his mind. I’m at my wits end, you know?
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
Oh, the writer thinks she’s in control. But—come a little closer, I don’t want her to hear this—she doesn’t control anything. What she calls fiction is my life. I’m as real as anything and you’d better not get in my way when it comes to protecting my library. Yes, you heard that right. I might simply be an assistant librarian, but this library is mine. It’s yours too. Our public librarians belong to everyone. Don’t ever forget that. And I’ll do whatever is necessary to protect the Cypress library from being destroyed.
How did you evolve as the main character?
Well, I didn’t kill the town manager. That’s not why the story is about me. Sure, the situation at the library pushed me to the edge. Sure, I did some things that on the surface may appear to be illegal. But I’m the quiet neighbor that goes around killing people. Actually, I don’t think I can ever go back to being the quiet, meek librarian. I got a taste for justice as I set out to prove my innocence and I like this new assertive me.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
Cypress is filled with so many interesting characters. (And I mean that in the nicest way.) For example, while my best friend since kindergarten, Tori Green, has a killer fashion sense, she is unfortunately a man-killer when it comes to the men in her life. She’s been married and divorced four times, which really isn’t fair since I haven’t yet found my first “Mister Right” or even “Mister Right Now.” Tori owns Perks, the town’s only coffee shop and is the best, best friend any girl could ever ask for. Thanks to her, I’m bolder, braver than I could ever be on my own.
She’s not my only close friend. Flossie Finnegan-Baker writes bestselling novels. She’s also traveled the world and has some amazing stories to tell. She spends most of her days at the library writing. That’s how I got to know her. She dresses like a hippy in brightly colored tie-dyed dresses, which makes sense since she’s forty years older than me. Like Tori, she has a personality that’s as strong as the winds at the eye of a hurricane. Unlike Tori, she has the wisdom to go with those years.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
As I already mentioned, I live in Cypress, South Carolina. It’s a small town in the middle of the state. It’s located on the shores of Lake Marion, which helps attracts seasonal tourists. The town is named after the grand cypress trees that can be found growing in the nearby marshes and even lining Main Street. Although we’re not rich and the buildings may need to be fixed up, the people in the community are the best you can find anywhere. We pull together and help each other. And what I did for the library was my way of helping my fellow book-loving residents.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
Y’all need to read The Broken Spine. And after you’re done reading it, tell a friend to read it. It’s entertaining. Plus, there’s an adorable cat that makes my life miserable at first and then wonderful.
Thank you for answering my questions, Trudell, and good luck to you and your author, Dorothy St. James, with The Broken Spine, the first book in the Beloved Bookroom mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Dorothy St. James: Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband, a crazy dog, and fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.
Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.
* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including: Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”