Greta Plank is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Death Checked Out, the first novel in the Larkspur Library mystery series.
Welcome, Greta. 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.
Death Checked Out is the first novel in the Larkspur Library Mystery series. My name is Greta Plank, and I’m the director of Larkspur Community Library. I’ve only been in my position for the past four months. I moved to Larkspur earlier this year, and it was the best decision I ever made. I’m not saying I was running away from my past, but I’m not not saying it, if you catch my drift.
But I don’t like to focus on that. After all, I prefer to talk about happy things.
Like this gorgeous lakeside town! Larkspur is located in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. If you’re picturing towering pine trees, quaking aspens with leaves that change to the most beautiful shades of yellow and orange in the fall, and sparkling lake water, then you’ve got the right idea. Not only is Larkspur a gorgeous setting, but the people aren’t half bad either.
I’m still getting used to everyone knowing everything about everyone else, but all that interest and meddling comes from a place of love. That’s what I was trying to convince my neighbor, Franklin.
He was known as the town recluse. I bulldozed my way into his life and, dare I say, his heart, using my tote of library books. I made deliveries to his house, and he loved me for it. I came to see him as a father figure, and I like to think I was like the daughter he never had.
When he asked for the phone number of one of the members of the Friends of the Library nonprofit, I could hardly believe it. I was pretty sure he wanted to get to know her more…romantically speaking. And I was so here for it.
My own love life might be in shambles, but dang it, I still want a happily ever after for my friends.
But then Franklin turned up dead. It was awful, and to make matters worse, what I thought was just a tragic accident, the new detective in town declared a murder. And he made it clear that I was his prime suspect.
I couldn’t let my reputation get ruined…again. Fortunately, my co-librarians, the Larkspur community, and my lawyer mom helped me figure out what really happened. And boy, I did not see that coming.
Apparently, there are two more books in the Larkspur Library Mystery series all lined up and under contract. I can’t imagine anything worse befalling Larkspur, but we’ll see what my author has up her sleeve.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
Ha! Speaking of my author, she’s a definite plotter, that one. She likes to know where her story is going, and she usually has specific scenes or ideas in her head that she’s writing toward. But sometimes I go rouge, and I like to think we collaborate to ensure the story winds up just the way it’s supposed to…happy endings always!
How did you evolve as the main character?
Now this is a loaded question. Are we ever fully evolved? I don’t think so. I know I have a lot of room to grow. I guess it’s a good thing I have at least two more books to make my way through, huh?
I will say that at the start of Death Checked Out I’m a little naïve. I just want everyone to be happy, alright? When things start looking bleak, my fight or flight response usually lands on flight. But I did decide to fight in this case, and I learned a lot of valuable lessons in the process.
I’ve got some trust issues in the romance department that’ll take some time to work out. But again, I don’t like talking about that.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
My co-librarians, Josie and Iris, have become like sisters to me, even though I’ve known them for less than six months. We make a great team, and we’re constantly playing off of each other to figure out best practices for the library and for our lives. We balance each other out, and they have my back over the course of the entire book—pushing me when I need to get out of my comfort zone and reigning me back in when I go a little too Nancy Drew.
Detective Mark McHenry is sort of a stick in the mud, so the jury’s out on whether or not I really like sharing the story with him. But I have to admit that I’m warming up to the idea of having him around. I think there might be a heart behind his stony, stoic façade and intense gazes. Time will tell…
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
Oh my goodness, I’ve already gushed about Larkspur, haven’t I? What else can I say? It’s stunning. We’re about three or four hours north of the Milwaukee metro area. Up here it’s all fresh air and lakefront breezes in the summer, and frosty, frozen winters.
My author made up Larkspur, but she based it off of her real-life experience in a lakeside town in Northern Wisconsin. Almost all of her best childhood memories were made there, so I guess you could say Larkspur was crafted with nothing but love.
She did embellish a bit, and I’m glad for that. Because her Larkspur has this quaint downtown strip, complete with my favorite spot, Mugs & Hugs, the café owned by my friend, Allison. She’s got the best coffee and pastries in Larkspur, and she’s always glad to serve it with a side of intel on the comings and goings in town.
When I want some peace and quiet, I’m happy to get back to my oasis, the log cabin I miraculously managed to purchase. It’s situated right on the lake, and it couldn’t be cozier.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
Just that I hope you’ll stop by for a visit. I’d love to take you around Larkspur myself. I’ve heard that my book is perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay’s Library Lovers mysteries and Holly Danver’s Lakeside Library mysteries. What’s not to love about bookish cozies, am I right?
Anyway, hopefully all that murder business is behind us. I’m looking forward to the fall festival here, and with all the planning and pitching in everyone’s doing, I can’t imagine anything bad happening. Hopefully I’m not proven wrong in book two. See you soon!
Thank you for answering my questions, Greta, and good luck to you and your author, Leah Dobrinska, with Death Checked Out, the first book in the Larkspur Library mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Leah Dobrinska: Leah is the author of the Larkspur Library Mysteries, a cozy mystery series set in the Wisconsin Northwoods, and the Mapleton novels, a series of standalone small town romances. She earned her degree in English Literature from UW-Madison and has since worked as a freelance writer, editor, and content marketer. As a kid, she hoped to grow up to be either Nancy Drew or Elizabeth Bennet. Now, she fulfills that dream by writing mysteries and love stories. Death Checked Out is her debut cozy mystery.
A sucker for a good sentence, a happy ending, and the smell of books—both old and new—Leah lives out her very own happily ever after in a small Wisconsin town with her husband and their gaggle of kids. When she’s not writing, handing out snacks, or visiting local parks, Leah enjoys reading and running.