When he belted out "What a Wonderful World," he sang it like he meant it. Today, with my 23rd book available, I couldn't agree more. This book makes me feel like I am living a Miracle on--well, not quite on 34th Street, but at the marinas in Marinette, Wisconsin and Menominee, Michigan.
For starters, it is the 4th Patrick and Grace Mystery. They are my all-time favorite characters. Which reminds me, as soon as I finish up here I had better high tail it over to http://crumbycapers.tripod.com/
. That is their website. Yes, they have one all of their own. You see, they think they are real people, and I don't have the heart to tell them any different. I just know Patrick is going to be yelling at me when I'm trying to sleep tonight if I don't let the people in his
world know what they've been up to. Well, a little bit of it, at least. I don't want to spoil the whole story for you. You'll have to read it yourself in St. Peter by the Bay
It all started when Kevin, my youngest son, and I were in Menominee last summer. It was a perfect day. We sold produce from his garden and books from my imagination at the Farmer's Market. Then we went to a lovely restaurant named Schloegel's on the Bay. We were going to attend a musical production of Chicago at the University in neighboring Marinette, Wisconsin that evening. Since we had a few hours to kill, we went to the marina to watch the sailboats come in at the end of the annual 100-miler race. Everything was perfect, from the weather to the entertainment and activities, but especially the delightful cast of characters we met while we sat by the marina in Menominee. I just knew they had to have a place in a Patrick and Grace Mystery.
As my mind began to formulate a plan, I knew that one of the minor characters from In St. Patrick's Custody (the 1st Patrick and Grace Mystery) had gotten a job in either Marinette or Menominee as a nanny. What I didn't know was that a very good friend, Jay Hudson, who lives in North Carolina, had a friend on Facebook who lived in Menominee. He asked me to contact her, saying that he had told her about my new book. So, I called Kimmy Elizabeth in Menominee, and as fate would have it, she is looking for a nanny for her granddaughter. I hated to have to tell her that my nanny is purely fictional. Nonetheless, she was delighted to be a part of the book.
Kevin and I met a man (he appeared to be homeless, but I don't know for sure if he is or not). He was the most delightful character, full of tales of people who frequent the marina. We talked with him at great length while he fed the ducks. He agreed to let me use him in a book. I have no idea what his last name is, but I am deeply indebted to Peter for his input into this book. Homelessness figures into the whole Patrick and Grace series, so I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised to learn that while Grace lives and works at the (fictional) Haven of Rest Homeless Shelter in NYC, the name of the (real) shelter in Marinette is the Haven of Hope Homeless Shelter. And yes, they too are included in the new book.
Then there was my endeavor to find a suitable bed and breakfast establishment. The first one I came across was the Riverside Manor. When I called Becky DeWitt, the owner, she was not only enthusiastic, but they were holding a murder mystery evening the following week, so my good friend Joan Carter from here in NE Wisconsin, and I attended. It was wonderful, and it gave me a first-hand look at the place where Patrick and Grace would be staying.
There was so much more, right down to our not having the wheelbarrow we needed to make the cover picture perfect, when a security guard at the marina showed up--with a wheelbarrow she was using to pick up litter. She graciously agreed to let us use it for the photo shoot.
Yup, Satchmo, it truly is a wonderful world. I always feel like I am being "led" when I write my books, but this one went far beyond anything I've ever experienced before. I truly hope you will all enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it, and I hope you get a little sense of the magic it seems to convey. (It is already listed on barnesandnoble.com
It is not yet orderable, but that shouldn't take long. Keep checking back there.)
Labels: 100-miler race, Haven of Hope Homeless Shelter, Marinette Wisconsin, Menominee Michigan, Patrick and Grace Mysteries, Riverview Manor, Schloegel's on the Bay