Elizabeth McKenna is visiting Ascroft, eh? today to tell us about Murder Up To Bat, her latest novel in the Front Page Mystery series.
Welcome, Elizabeth. 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.
Murder up to Bat is Book 2 in my Front Page Mystery series. The Great Jewel Robbery (Book 1) introduced readers to Emma and Grace, news reporters who have been friends since college. Emma is a bit wacky and impulsive, while Grace does her best to keep her friend in line. When confronted with a mystery or murder, they rely on their investigative skills to solve it.
In Murder up to Bat, their friend Luke, who owns a gym catering to athletes, is accused of killing the head coach of his travel softball team. Hoping to prove reasonable doubt and free Luke, Emma and Grace zero in on several suspects, including a drug-pushing carnival worker and the assistant softball coaches.
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
My daughters played several sports, including softball. Over the years, I witnessed profanity-laced tantrums from coaches and parents and even police intervention due to threatening behavior. All because an adult took winning a game or a tournament too seriously. It was often embarrassing and sometimes frightening. My story takes the need to win a step further – into murder.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
One of the themes is the unnecessary pressure we put on our children to win, no matter the cost. My daughters enjoyed sports because they liked to hang out with their friends. Winning a game was a bonus, and losing hurt, but at the end of the day, they remember being with their friends. My youngest played college softball for two years. She said the day she stopped was the best day of college to that point. The pressure was creating so much anxiety that she was miserable. Her coach didn’t understand and called her weak. I thought it was terrible that an authority figure didn’t support my daughter’s decision to put her mental health first.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
Throughout my books, my main characters have a bit of me in them. Luckily, as a Gemini, I have several personalities to pull from! Other characters come from friends and family. A high school friend recently scolded me because he hasn’t been included in a book yet. Of all my books, Cera and Jake from Cera’s Place are still my favorite characters. I guess I love my “firstborns” the best.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
The setting for the Front Page Mystery series is the area I have lived in for the past twenty years. I did change a few things to make it easier on the reader, but I used real businesses and town names etc. It’s easier to write what you know.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
I try to make my stories as accurate as possible, so I’m constantly doing internet searches. For example, having never been arrested, I didn’t know Wisconsin’s procedures or even what a reasonable bail would be for the crime Luke is accused of. So, I read numerous state statutes and law firm web pages to educate myself.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
Murder up to Bat is a quick read – as is The Great Jewel Robbery (Book 1). If you are new to the series, I encourage you to start with Book 1, though both are standalone stories. For September and October, the ebook version of The Great Jewel Robbery is discounted on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Writing Murder up to Bat was a struggle, and it took me longer than usual to complete it. I started it days before the 2020 pandemic took over our lives. I didn’t write for almost two years with all of the chaos and tragedies. But eventually, I got my groove back, and the story became fun to write as I remembered when my children were young and living with me. Thank you for spending some of your precious time with me, and I hope you enjoy my story.
Thanks for answering my questions, Elizabeth, and good luck with Murder Up To Batl, the latest book in Front Page Mystery series.
Readers can learn more about Elizabeth and her writing by visiting her website and her Facebook, Goodreads and Instagram pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Smashwords
About Elizabeth McKenna: Elizabeth’s love of books reaches back to her childhood, where her tastes ranged from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to Stephen King’s horror stories. She had never read a romance novel until her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene).
Her novels reflect her mercurial temperament and include historical romances, contemporary romances, cozy mysteries, and dark mysteries. With some being “clean” and some being “naughty,” she has a book for your every mood. Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband and Sidney, the rescue dog from Tennessee. When she isn’t writing, reading, editing, or walking the dog that never tires, she’s sleeping.
Thank you for letting me visit your blog!
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