Moonlight Author’s Mystic Mysteries

Moonlight Author's Mystic Mysteries

English Inspiration: Mary Stewart & Me

Mary Stewart

As a child I was a voracious reader—and have only slowed lately in order to keep my mind clear for my own murder mysteries (i.e., I can’t multitask). I read everything I could get my hands on—including some that were—in retrospect—inappropriate. Tom Jones and Brideshead Revisited went right over my head. Early favorites were the Oz books, Mary Poppins, and E. Nesbit’s tales of magical adventure. If a book was deemed a “classic” I’d go for it on the assumption that it wouldn’t be a classic if it weren’t good. Except for Dickens, to whom I’ve never cottoned, that rule usually held.

I particularly loved romantic suspense and mysteries, especially British ones—Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham, and the novels of Mary Stewart (1916-2014). In fact, in my interview for college, I tried to pretend I only read heavy tomes on historical subjects, but somehow the subject of Mary Stewart came up and the professor and I had a marvelous conversation. I learned a lesson about human nature that day. Be honest: everyone else is pretty much in the same boat.

I checked Amazon for a list of Stewart’s books and realized I read all but the last five of her romantic suspense novels plus the Merlin trilogy! From her first, Madam, Will You Talk (1957) to Touch Not the Cat (1976), I devoured them. Mostly set in Europe (Stewart was English), they usually feature an unsuspecting heroine who lands in a puzzling mystery. Along with adventure, you’re assured of a fine romance as well. Some of you may remember the movie The Moonspinners, starring Hayley Mills.

Loch Awe in Scotland

Something else I discovered: Mary Stewart lived on Loch Awe in Scotland—a place I remember fondly. It is a picturesque small loch west of Loch Lomond. The Hotel Ardanaseig—a beautiful 19th century castle—sits on one bank. Its guest quarters are in the Rose Cottage up the lane. We stayed there on the last leg of a trip I took with my family. Imagine my delight to discover that one of Stewart’s mysteries I hadn’t read was entitled Rose

Rose Cottage

Cottage! I finished it yesterday.

 

 

 

Stewart’s books inspired my current approach to writing a story more than any others. Like her, my heroines are feisty, my heroes clever and non-gooey, my settings exotic, and my mysteries cozy.

 

Moonlight Author's Mystic Mysteries

Well-loved books

Wow, my fellow Moonlight & Mystery authors have mentioned so many great books. (Note to self—switch my blogging date earlier so they leave me with something to blog about!) I’ll admit to having a bit of a time figuring out which of my favorite books to discuss. When this theme was first brought up, I figured I’d write about Nancy Drew or The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, but they’ve already been covered. So I’m going to focus on the book that inspired my love of a particular trope.

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Moonlight Author's Mystic Mysteries

A Storyteller Starts with Stories

 

About a third of the books I brought with me from my childhood home.

My first memories of kindergarten are sitting on the floor in a huge room that had windows across a wide expanse on one end, and on another, a fireplace surrounded by what I now know were tiles made by Pewabic Pottery in Detroit. The teacher was seated in the middle of a semi-circle of five year olds who were giving her rapt attention as she read the first book of the Box Car Children series. Later when I read the book to my own grandchildren, I was surprised at how gruesome the story is! The children overheard the baker’s wife saying she was going to keep some of the children to work and the others would go to the orphanage. No wonder we were so insecure growing up!  Read more “A Storyteller Starts with Stories”

childhood book Moonlight Author's Mystic Mysteries

Favorite Book from Childhood was at My Library!

We didn’t have children’s books around the house that I can remember. My parents were avid readers but we were patrons of the library of whatever town we lived in. We borrowed books. Money was tight.

One of my earliest memories is withdrawing a picture book over and over at the library, fascinated with the drawings and the story of a little boy who finds an angel statue come to life in a park. I was probably 5 or 6 when I repeatedly took out this book, the librarian laughing kindly at me. I remember the cover, the watercolor paintings of the park, the angel. Mesmerized describes my state well. And it was more special to me because we had to traipse downtown to the library to see if it was available. If the book wasn’t already at someone else’s house, I could take it out for two weeks. Then I would have to return it. I couldn’t keep it. Read more “Favorite Book from Childhood was at My Library!”

Shadow Castle Moonlight Author's Mystic Mysteries

The First Fairy Tale Should Be the Best by…

My First Post–Happy to Meet You

I’m Sorchia Dubois and I write Gothic and paranormal romance and witchy fantasy, as well as the occasional mystery/thriller. I live in the wilds of Missouri with a bunch of cats, a couple of fish, a dog, and a husband. Writing-wise, I’m just finishing up a trilogy about seductive Scottish witches and how a small town fortuneteller wreaks havoc in a haunted castle.

Read more “The First Fairy Tale Should Be the Best by Sorchia DuBois”

Ghost Stories

Nancy Drew, Where are You?

I blame Nancy Drew for my fascination with mystery and suspense. When I was a kid, I used to pretend to be Nancy Drew and lead my own investigations. For instance, in the “Case of the Chickens Who Didn’t Cross the Road,” our neighbors claimed their chickens remained on their side of the street. But, if that was true, then why was there a large nest with eggs in our empty dog house? After a week of intense dog house surveillance, I was able to say with absolute certainty that those chickens did, indeed, cross the road. And, to this day, the town of Windsor Locks, Connecticut is still stunned by the revelation that cows do eat clothes hanging on the line, jump fences and stand in the middle of the road. Again, it was my investigative work that cracked the “Case of the Wild Cow.” At age thirteen, I wanted to join the FBI, but they weren’t hiring women in those days. Read more “Nancy Drew, Where are You?”

Time Slips

Can A Wrinkle in Time Inspire Success?

How a ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Inspired My Writing Career

supernatural mystery writer Casi McLeanMy favorite childhood story was A wrinkle In Time and, after reading that book, for as long as I remember, I’ve loved the idea of supernatural. Not blatant horror stories, vampires, sci-fi aliens, or other worldly fantasy, but the notion of “what if” that entices imagination into believing there’s more than what meets the eye.

My fourth grade teacher nudged the author within me when she read aloud Madeleine L’Engles, A Wrinkle In Time. The enchanting story opened the door to my future. I read every time travel story I could get my hands on and watched every time slip movie. The question niggled at me. If time travel was “a thing” how would the concept likely occur? Read more “Can A Wrinkle in Time Inspire Success?”

book Moonlight Author's Mystic Mysteries

The Book That Ignited My Imagination

One of my favorite memories of childhood is reading. First, of my mother reading the Little House on the Prairie novels

to my sister and I before we were old enough to read them ourselves. Then, stealing away to a comfortable couch or chair to read the afternoon away alone. Most of my books were from the library, or from the Scholastic Book club from school. I read countless books. Many have faded to line the walls of my imagination. But if you ask me what the very first book was that made an impression on me, I have an immediate answer. Even if I can’t remember much about the story. Read more “The Book That Ignited My Imagination”