I'm pleased to welcome Sadie Hartwell to the blog today. While this visit is technically Sadie's first...it isn't really as Sadie is also known as Susannah Hardy. Susannah was here just last month. You can revisit that post here. Sadie writes the Tangled Web Mystery series, the first of which, Yarned and Dangerous, was released on November 24th.
Kathy: Yarned and Dangerous is the start of a new series which you write under the name Sadie Hartwell. You also write the Greek to Me Mystery series under the name Susannah Hardy. Why the name change?
SH: The Greek to Me Mysteries are published by Berkley Prime Crime. The Tangled Web Mysteries are published by Kensington Publishing. The name change was simply a business decision to keep the two series separate and to fulfill certain terms of my contracts. Susannah Hardy is a pen name, the name of my great-great-great grandmother. When I needed a new nom de plume, I chose one with a similar sound and matching initials. Readers are smart, so I knew they’d be able to make the association between the two names. Thus, Sadie Hartwell was born.
Kathy: The Tangled Web Mystery series features knitters and knitting. Are you a knitter?
SH: I am a knitter, as well as a crocheter, both skills I mostly taught myself as a kid, with some help from my aunt and a family friend. I love the way yarn looks and feels as it goes through my fingers, getting twisted and knotted into something wearable or otherwise usable. And interestingly, doing yarn-work quite often helps me sort out plot problems or character issues with my stories. Not that I think that will surprise other yarn-workers. Something about that repetitive motion of the hands frees up something in the brain. I can’t explain it any further than that, but I know it works!
And I want to let everyone know that I have a new Facebook group where we can talk about crafts, books, or books and crafts. So I hope everyone will join the group and join in the fun. https://goo.gl/BAmf3t
Kathy: Is Miss Marple Knits based on a real knitting shop?
SH: Not any specific shop, yet all of them, if that makes sense. Each shop has its own atmosphere, but there are certain universal aspects: gorgeous yarn in every conceivable color stored in cubbies and baskets; samples of knitted/crocheted projects strategically placed to entice shoppers; owners and sales staff who work there because they love it (I’ve never met a yarn store clerk who wasn’t passionate about her job); and customers browsing with yarn lust in their eyes. In case you can’t tell, I adore yarn shops!
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
SH: The Tangled Web Mysteries is a brand-new series, written under the name Sadie Hartwell. Book 1, YARNED AND DANGEROUS, features Josie Blair, a fashion designer whose dreams never quite came true in New York City. She moves to Dorset Falls in rural Connecticut to shut down her great-aunt’s yarn shop, but when one of the town’s knitters turns up dead in the storeroom, Josie sets out to find the killer, and in the process uncovers some decidedly not-warm-and-fuzzy truths about the town—and about herself. (www.sadiehartwell.com)
The Greek to Me Mysteries are written under the name Susannah Hardy, and are set in a Greek restaurant in a fictional village on the shores of the St. Lawrence River in northern New York State. Georgie Nikolopatos manages the historic Bonaparte House for her soon-to-be-ex-mother-in-law (wow, that’s a lot of hyphens!), while solving murders that threaten her town and her family. FETA ATTRACTION and OLIVE AND LET DIE are both available now. (www.susannahhardy.com)
Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?
SH: Not for the story itself, which is completely made up. Except for the yarn lust. Watch any avid knitter/crocheter in a yarn shop and you’ll know that’s real. But I can tell you that Josie’s great-uncle, Eben Lloyd, bears an intentional similarity to my own grandfather, who passed away some years ago. Eb’s house and farm are based on my grandparents’ dairy farm in northern New York. My uncle still lives there.
Kathy: When it comes to writing I understand there are 2 general camps-plotters, who diligently plot their stories, and pansters, who fly by the seat of their pants. Are you a plotter, a panster, or do you fall somewhere in between?
SH: My first book, FETA ATTRACTION, was written entirely by the seat of my pants. As I was putting fingers to keyboard, I literally did not know what was going to happen in the next paragraph. But it turned out well enough to get me an agent and get me published. Now that I have contracts for multiple books, I do need to provide my publishers with brief outlines of what happens, so they can do their work and know I’m not going completely off the rails. And since I’m writing series, I do have to make sure I keep characters consistent from one book to the next. Now I pants it, let my subconscious work on the setup, for about the first half of the book. I take a brief break, then go back and reread what I’ve done so I can figure out how everything I’ve set up in the first half is going to get resolved in the second half. So now I’m a plotser!
Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?
SH: You bet! Book 3 of the Greek to Me series, as yet untitled, will come out in November, 2016. It is a standalone mystery, but it does complete a large story arc for Georgie and her family from books 1 and 2. Book 2 of the Tangled Web Mysteries, which has a title that I can’t release just yet, features Josie settling into life in Dorset Falls—until a new business owner ends up dead before he can even get his shop open. That will also be a late 2016 release.
Yarned and Dangerous Book Description:
Josie Blair left Dorset Falls twelve years ago in hopes of making it big in New York City. But after earning an overpriced master’s degree and getting fired by a temperamental designer, she finds herself heading back to her hometown. Her great-uncle was injured in a car accident, and newly unemployed Josie is the only person available to take care of him. Uncle Eb’s wife didn’t survive the crash, so Josie is also tasked with selling the contents of her Aunt Cora’s yarn shop. But the needling ladies of the Charity Knitters Association pose a far bigger challenge than a shop full of scattered skeins. And when one of the town’s most persnickety knitters turns up dead in a pile of cashmere yarn, Josie realizes there’s something truly twisted lurking beneath the town’s decaying façade…
Includes original knitting patterns!
Yarned and Dangerous: goo.gl/0DX7bJ
Sadie Hartwell’s Yarned and Dangerous Gang: https://goo.gl/BAmf3t
Twitter: https://goo.gl/8Y3qU5, @sadiehartwell
Bio: Sadie Hartwell grew up near the Canadian border in northern New York State, where it’s cold, dark, and snowy almost half the year—a perfect environment for nurturing a simultaneous love of mystery fiction, cooking, and needlework. She attended St. Lawrence University, graduating with a degree in history, and has worked as a waitress, handbag designer/manufacturer, office person, and copy editor before turning to writing full time. Now she gets to play with recipes and yarn and make up stories whenever she wants, and wishes everyone had a job as much fun as hers.
Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell
The First Tangled Web Mystery
Working in the fashion industry is hard. Working for an egocentric womanizing male designer makes it more difficult. When said womanizing designer puts the moves on Josie Blair, she quits, instead of just taking some vacation time to help her recuperating uncle. Josie has been commandeered to help her curmudgeonly uncle who suffered a broken leg as well as being left a widower after a car crash. With her mom on a cruise, Josie's the only one left to help her uncle around the house as well as close his new wife's yarn store. Begrudgingly, Josie leaves New York City and heads to the wilds of Connecticut. Although Josie and Cora had never met, Josie feels the warm draw of Cora's shop. Intending to close it, she's faced with several yarn crazed ladies who want to buy the stock. When one is later found murdered in the locked shop, Josie realizes there's a lot more going on in this depressed town than she thought!
This series is off to a great start with Yarned and Dangerous! Great characters emerge from the yarn lust filled eyes of the knitters, the senior ladies trying to snare a newly available man, and the nasty mother and daughter in law. A neighborly feud and mysterious goings on create some trust issues-for Josie and us, the readers. Josie is a likeable protagonist while Uncle Eb gives a gruff no nonsense exterior. There's more than meets the eye to many of the characters providing depth as well as increasing our interest in the story.
Hartwell writes with both humor and grit providing us a well rounded mystery filled with interesting characters in a town meant for a comeback. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next entry in the Tangled Web Mystery series.
Knitting patterns included.
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