Monday, October 24, 2016
By Vicki Delany
Barbara talked last week about setting in her books, how she’s been exploring remote Canadian locations in person and by map searching for good settings.
I on, the other hand, sometimes just make it all up.
Case in point: my Year Round Christmas Series from Berkley Prime Crime. When I was tossing around the idea of a cozy Christmas-theme-shop book, the first thing I had to consider was if it would be a shop in a nice, typical town. Or in a town totally dedicated to Christmas.
It didn’t take long to decide on the latter, and Rudolph, New York was born. In Rudolph, they love Christmas so much they celebrate it all year round.
Now, I had my town, so I had to fill it with something. Mrs. Claus’s Treasures sells everything you need for decorating your home, as well as toys and jewellery, and many of the goods are locally made. Victoria’s Bake Shoppe is famous for its gingerbread. There’s Candy Cane Sweets, the North Pole Ice Cream Parlour, The Elves Lunchbox, Cranberries Coffee Bar, Touch of Holly Restaurant, The Yuletide Inn, the Carolers Motel. The possibilities are endless. (Looking at this list it seems as though the residents and visitors to Rudolph like to eat a lot.)
Then we need people. Merry Wilkinson is the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures. Merry’s father, Noel, is the town’s Santa Claus. Merry knows her dad isn’t really Santa, but sometimes she does wonder how he knows what people want before they so much as say so. Merry’s best friend, Vicky, owns the bakery.
The fondest wish of the residents of Rudolph is to be known officially as America’s Christmas Town. But they have tough competition from the likes of Snowflake, Arizona or North Pole, Alaska. In the first book of the series, Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen, they’re delighted when a reporter from an international travel magazine arrives to do a feature he is going to title “America’s Christmas Town”.
Delight changes to something else when the reporter dies from eating a poisoned gingerbread cookie baked at Victoria’s Bake Shoppe. And rivals from a nearby town begin to whisper the worst: Christmas Town or Horrorville?
The second book in the series will be released on November 1st, and it’s titled We Wish You A Murderous Christmas.
This time there’s a Grinch in town when the owner of the popular Yuletide Inn takes ill and his son, Gord, arrives to take over. Gord, unfortunately, isn’t exactly imbued with the Christmas spirit.
The joy of writing cozies, I have found, is the pure fun in it. I’ve had great fun creating Rudolph and its inhabitants, and I hope you enjoy reading about their adventures.