Ali Winston is visiting Ascroft, eh? today to tell us about Snowed Under Murder, the latest novel in the Sierra Pines B&B mystery series.
Welcome, Ali. 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.
Hi cozy readers! My name is Ali Winston, and I own and operate the Sierra Pines B&B near Lake Tahoe. Not by myself, of course. The kind, rather eccentric Bellwether siblings, Gladys and Ollie work here too. You see, when my great aunt Julia Winston passed away—boy do we all miss her dearly—I inherited this cozy establishment, and the Bellwethers came with it. They and my aunt go way back to the days of Golden Hollywood when they were in showbiz. As the story goes, Julia was an actress-turned-prop designer who had a torrid affair with Cary Grant. When Cary announced his engagement to another, Julia packed up and quit the business and moved to Sierra Pines.
No surprise the B&B has a Hollywood theme with tons of candid photos with Julia and so many famous actors hanging on the walls. I love listening to the Bellwethers’ stories about the old days and learning more about my dear aunt. Life is usually quiet and peaceful in Sierra Pines, unless a murder happens to stir things up. Fortunately, Sheriff Quint Sterling is quite good at catching killers.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
I don’t like to boast, but my character is strong, opinionated, and stubborn. When I put my mind to finding answers, I don’t let anyone stop me. That said, I take advice when that advice makes sense, even from the author.
How did you evolve as the main character?
I was a little unsure of myself when I first took over the B&B. The job was totally unfamiliar. Back in New York, I worked as a screen writer and then a researcher for a while until I was let go. I didn’t really know anyone that well in Sierra Pines, but everyone was so kind and helpful, and soon I felt comfortable and at home. Solving murders wasn’t my thing either, but desperate times can make you do stuff you thought you couldn’t. Especially when your dearest friends and employees, the Bellwethers, are accused of the crime. That was the first incident. Now, my cousin Nathan is in trouble. How can I stand by and not help? Of course, Sheriff Sterling—who I’ve gotten to know very well—has a lot to say about my snooping, but really, most of the time, I think he appreciates my help. So, yeah, I’m stronger than when I first came to live in Sierra Pines. I rather enjoy my new life, so I think I’ll stick around.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
Honestly, I like most everyone in Sierra Pines, even Florence who tends to be overly tenacious, sometimes inconsiderate and selfish, but underneath all that she’s a loving soul. I’d say Gladys and Ollie have my heart. I couldn’t manage without their help, their advice, and their calming force. My life wouldn’t be the same without them. So, as they say in showbiz, I enjoy sharing the stage with the Bellwethers.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
Well, the B&B is a quaint Victorian house, quite unusual to find in this part of California. Even though it’s somewhat drafty, windows need replaced and the furnace too, which cost a pretty penny, the B&B is home and the guests provide good times and memories. Of course, the town is amazing. Quaint shops line the main street, and there’s even an historic gold mining sight which makes the perfect place to hide a body, wouldn’t you say? Lake Tahoe and several ski resorts are close by. Speaking of ski resorts, did I mention this is a perfect place to stage a murder? Well, I leave the rest of the story for you to discover when you read SNOWED UNDER MURDER!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
I’ve learned that my author has a crush on Cary Grant and classic movies. That’s why she made Hollywood and show business a major part of the series. And she gets a lot of joy in writing all those stories Gladys says when she recalls memories from the old days. They give her a chance to dig into her books on showbiz trivia.
Thank you for answering my questions, Ali, and good luck to you and your author, Kathryn Long, with Snowed Under Murder, the latest book in the Sierra Pines B&B mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Kathryn Long: Kathryn is a retired teacher who spends her days plotting and writing mysteries. Besides her SIERRA PINES B&B MYSTERIES, published credits include A DEADLY DEED GROWS and BURIED IN SIN. She’s actively involved in the writing and publishing worlds with social media platforms, including her author website, blog, Twitter account, and Facebook page. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime as well as of International Thriller Writers. As Bailee Abbott, she writes the PAINT BY MURDER MYSTERY SERIES. The second book, KILL THEM WITH CANVAS, will release October 11, 2022. She lives with her husband and furry friend Max in the quiet suburbs of Green, Ohio.