Copyright © Gloria Alden. All rights reserved.
It was Nancy Drew. She started my love for this genre so many years ago. Now it would be impossible to name all the mystery writers I've read and loved over the years. Of course, my reading is eclectic and covers many other books, still when it comes to writing a book, what I wanted to write was what I loved best. And since gardening is another passion, I chose to write a gardening mystery series.
The first in my series is The Blue Rose. It takes place in a small fictional town in NE Ohio where I live and garden, and is a composite of many of the small towns in my area. Catherine Jewell is a botanist, who works part time for Elmwood Gardens, a large public garden based on the many gardens I've visited around the country. She also owns a small nursery, Roses in Thyme. During a reception honoring the first blue rose, Catherine finds the body of Augustus Chatterton with a garden fork in his back. He was the propagator of the rose - or so he claimed. She's drawn into the mystery when Police Chief John MacDougal suspects some of her co-workers and friends at Elmwood Gardens. She's sure none could be the murderer, but many do have motives.
Both Catherine and John appear in the second book, Daylilies for Emily's Garden, as well as some other returning characters plus some new and interesting sometimes quirky characters like the reclusive Emily Llewellyn, who thinks she's Emily Dickenson. In the third book, Ladies of the Garden Club, members of the garden club are being poisoned.Since Catherine recently taught a workshop on poisonous plants, she's considered a suspect by some. The hints of a romance between Catherine and John in the first book are building into something more.
My series follows a chronological pattern of months of the year; i.e. the first was in June, the second in July, the third in August, and the fourth The Body in the Goldenrod takes place in September. The fifth book Murder in the Corn Maze takes place in October, and the sixth book Carnations for Cornelia takes place in November. I'm working on the seventh book now, Blood Red Poinsettias which is a December book.
I also wrote a middle-grade mystery, The Sherlock Holmes Detective Club. It's based on an activity I did while teaching third grade when I brought in a suitcase I claimed I'd found. It involves an elderly woman, Alice Van Brocken, who is traveling around the country on the trail of ljewel thieves, She sends the students letters (thanks to friends and family of mine all over the country) and they write back to her. I chose six girls and six boys to be in the class in the book; each a student I had, but the names were changed and some of the details of the real kids, as well, but the letters are delightful and a fun read for both children and adults.
People often ask where I get my ideas. Ideas are like the falling autumn leaves. They're everywhere. The only difficulty is sorting through them to see which ones will work for what I have in mind. I have many just waiting for the right place to fit them in, whether it is in a book, a short story, a poem or an essay. It's as challenging as working on crossword or jigsaw puzzles, but much more rewarding in my opinion.