Today Keri Isles is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about The Body in the Beaver Pond, the first novel in the Keri Isles Event Planner Mystery series.
Welcome, Keri. 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.
I’m Keri Isles and my life turned completely upside-down when I divorced my cheating jerk of a husband. Even though I ended up with the Christmas tree farm in the Cascade Mountains rather than the Seattle townhouse, I’m definitely better off without him.
I lost my event planner job shortly after the divorce, so for now, I’m concentrating on the Christmas trees. I’m the first to admit I don’t know how to run the tree farm, but I’m learning and my neighbors in the mountain valley offer advice and lend a hand when I’m totally drowning.
Eh, speaking of drowning, my dog accidently found a body in my beaver pond and I swear, I had nothing to do with it. Since the local law enforcement officers seem to think I killed the guy, I rounded up the archaeology students from the dig on my neighbor’s property, a bad boy photographer, and assorted eccentric neighbors to find the killer and clear my name.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
What makes you think anyone is in control of my life? Since I’m living it, and it gets more interesting every day, I’m clearly feeding the story line to the woman who writes it down.
How did you evolve as the main character?
I was shell shocked when I landed in the mountains, on a tree farm in the middle of nowhere. But ya know, while I still miss parts of life in Seattle—and I really miss the steady paycheck from my event planner job—I’m learning to love both the farm and the town. I’ve always stood up for myself, but there is nothing like a murder rap hanging over your head to make you grow a spine and learn what real friends are like.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
Where to start? My best friend, CoCo, runs a great café in Liberty Falls, the small, not-ready-to-admit-it’s-a-tourist-town near my farm. Not only is she a warm, generous person, she’s also an amazing cook. She’s trying to teach me to cook. Really simple—okay, idiot proof, although I’d never admit it aloud—cooking is all I can manage. Just ask my ex-husband. He’ll be thrilled to note it’s one of my many shortcomings.
Then there’s my neighbor, Bill, who I wish would adopt me. Seriously, he lends me tools, helps me understand life in the valley, and ran off the protestors who had me trapped up on High Bridge Road. (You’ll need to read the story to understand them. Well, if it’s possible to understand them.) There’s also Richard, my attorney. Our relationship is probably as strange as the contract I signed when he started working for me. Or maybe that should be I work for him…
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
I mentioned before that I live on a Christmas tree farm in a mountain valley outside the small town of Liberty Falls. The farm is amazing, several hundred acres along a mountain river. The beavers dammed the river’s side stream, creating the pond in front of my cottage. The cottage itself? Not so much. It was built at the turn of the century, the one where the 1800s turned into the 1900s. The plumbing is suspect, a mama bird built her nest inside one of the walls, and it’s a good thing I’m short since it has seven-foot ceilings. Apparently, people were much shorter 125 years ago.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
I hope you’ll visit me, the farm, and Liberty Falls. I’ve learned a lot about myself and other people during this transition. Other than the dead body and the murder accusation, it’s been a lot of fun.
Getting used to my new friends and neighbors helping me out has been an adjustment after life in Seattle. I’m not completely sure if Coco is helping me or tying me down with her other attempts to assist/manage my life. For example, in that five degrees of separation in small town thing, CoCo’s husband’s brother-in-law is on the city council, and they convinced the council to hire me as the new event planner for Liberty Falls. I hear my first gig—Pioneer Days—is the focus of my next story, Peril in the Pony Ring.
Thank you for answering my questions, Keri, and good luck to you and your author, Cathy Perkins, with The Body in the Beaver Pond, the first book in the Keri Isles Event Planner mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Cathy Perkins: Cathy’s suspense writing lurks behind a financial day-job, where she learned firsthand the camouflage, hide-in-plain-sight skills employed by her villains. A member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers, she has coordinated conferences, contests and debut author programs, and is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill.
When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.