Thursday, November 9, 2017

Casey Daniels

Casey Daniels has a degree in English and experience as a journalist and writing teacher. She fell in love with mysteries early thanks to her father, a Cleveland police detective who enjoyed reading Sherlock Holmes, and went on to devour every mystery story she could get her hands on. Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle are among her favorite authors. When Daniels is not writing, she's usually with her family and two dogs. She enjoys knitting, gardening and, of course, stomping through cemeteries in search of history, stories and inspiration.

Smoke and Mirrors, Daniels's new historical mystery, introduces museum curator and amateur sleuth Miss Evie Barnum.

Recently I asked Daniels about what she was reading. Her reply:
I have a friend who loves to knit.  Knitting isn’t just her hobby, it’s her passion.

So it’s only natural I wasn’t surprised to hear she was opening a knitting store.  Like so many others who’ve taken the plunge, my friend had dreams of what owning a shop would be like: she’d chat with customers about knitting, she’d teach the uninitiated how to knit.  Even more importantly, she’d spend her days in peace, drinking in the luscious colors of the yarns that surrounded her, knitting, knitting, and knitting.

Not so much.

As so many people who love what they do have found out, owning a business is a whole lot different than dreaming of owning a business.  Instead of knitting all day (or baking cupcakes, making jewelry, brewing beer ... whatever the dream may be), they are suddenly thrust into dealing with customer service, attending Chamber of Commerce meetings, working with banks, balancing books, buying advertisements.

That’s a long, round-about way of explaining that to me, reading is a lot like knitting is for that friend of mine, a lovely dream.

If only I had more time to do it!

When I’m writing fiction, I don’t often read it.  I’m afraid I’ll pick up too much of another author’s voice or unwittingly hang onto phrases I found particularly delicious.  When I’m actively writing a book, most of the reading I do is nonfiction for research.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t make exceptions.  Here are some of my recent reads (fiction and non):

A Brilliant Death

Coming-of-age meets murder mystery.  The novel is set in southern Ohio in a town of hard-scrabble, hard-working folks, and follows the adventures of two boys who are eager to find out more about one of their mothers, a woman who supposedly drowned in the river years before.  The author is Edgar-nominated Robin Yocum and I picked up the book because Robin and I did an event together and I wanted to be familiar with his work.  I’m glad I did.  The book is written in clear, vivid prose, the characters are memorable, and I like little better than a cold case!

A Killer’s Guide to Good Works

Another of the authors on the venue for that book event I recently attended was Shelley Costa.  I didn’t have to scramble to read her book because I read everything Shelley writes, as soon as it comes out.  A Killer’s Guide is a great look into the nature of power and the ability of good to conquer evil.  Shelley’s writing in this book, as in all her others, is breathtaking.  She, too, has been nominated for an Edgar award.

A Season with the Witch

This one is non-fiction, and an engrossing read.  It follows the adventures of author J.W. Ocker and his family as they spend the month of October in Salem, Massachusetts.  Part travelogue, part memoir.  The book gives readers a sense of the true dichotomy of Salem, a town that is half sideshow all the while it is rooted in history and tragedy.  As to why I read it ... I’ve always dreamed of visiting Salem in October.  Now that I’ve read about how crazy it is at that time of year, I’d still like to go, but I think I’ll pass on October!
Visit Casey Daniels's website.

--Marshal Zeringue