Kathy: In Murder at the Museum a current murder seems to be tied to a historical document. Do you enjoy historical research?
KS: I loved doing the historical research, although I must admit that because this is a work of fiction, I changed some names and fudged a little with the facts.
Kathy: Events take place around the local museum and historical society in Lighthouse Cove, NY. What is it about lighthouses that attract us?
KS: Great question! I recently read a book about women who were lighthouse keepers, going back to the 1700s, and it was fascinating because it was a challenging existence and there were many hardships. I think there’s a mystique about lighthouses- they both beckon and warn, and for me they represent solitude and perhaps piercing loneliness. From a lighthouse vantage point, one can look out and view a vast sea and wonder what lies beyond.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
KS: I love their gentleness and quirkiness. Cozies have no gratuitous language, adult scenes or graphic violence; are often set in charming villages; the sleuth is typically a kind person with ties to family and/or community. If you like to cook, as I do, there are often recipes included at the end.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
KS: I’ve written two books of non-fiction plus, as a former journalist, lots of features, news articles and columns. But for now, I’m sticking with Cozies.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
KS: Murder in the Museum is the first in a series of Edmund DeCleryk mysteries that take place in a small village along the southern shore of Lake Ontario. Each murder will have a link to something historical; the War of 1812 will feature prominently in book two, Murder in the Cemetery.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
KS: I think we authors like, admire or feel sympathy for all our characters; after all, they exist in our heads so are part of us. I guess I’d have to say that Ed and Annie are equally my favorites; Ed, because he is thoughtful, kind and respectful, and Annie because she is strong and independent and a good counterpart to her investigator husband.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
KS: Living in a breathtakingly beautiful village on the southern shore of Lake Ontario is completely my inspiration. There are defined seasons, each as beautiful as the other, and there are lots of wonderful, kind, creative people. I’m not sure I could have written the book if I lived in a major metropolitan area. We don’t have smog or traffic jams here!
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
KS: I had committed to writing the book, and the plot literally came out of a dream I had one night. After completing it, I decided that I’d worked so hard (and my beta readers loved it!) that I owed it to myself to find a publisher. Cozy Cat has been an excellent fit.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
KS: Louise Penny, because I think she’s a masterful storyteller; Ernest Hemingway because of the simplicity of his writing and complexity of his character; Robert Parker because I fell in love with Jesse Stone and Spenser; and Jesmyn Ward. I recently read Sing, Unburied, Sing and was blown away.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
KS: I don’t always read Cozies and just finished Death of a Jewish American Princess, a fascinating true crime story about a man in Arizona, who after killing his wife, was acquitted because of prosecutorial errors and glitches in the law. The outcome resulted in changes in trial law there. Next on the list is The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared, and then, maybe simultaneously, Robert Parker’s Colorblind. I miss Robert Parker.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
KS: I’m a photography buff and for awhile struggled with whether to concentrate on writing or photography. Writing won out, but I still love to take pictures. I also love to cook, and my husband and I both like to entertain. I walk and/or exercise almost every day, and gardening is always a pleasure.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
KS: Lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish (in the freezer) and Siracha.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
KS: Current series. I’m writing Murder in the Cemetery, with it’s link to the War of 1812; the next book will link the murder to the Civil War and Underground Railroad; after that the murders will be linked to Prohibition and World Wars I and II. Then I may start another series!
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
KS: Being an author of mysteries was something I always wanted to do, but for many years life got in the way. For me being an author doesn’t feel like work, it’s both meditative and stimulating. We live in troubled times, and with my books I can create a world I would want to live in. Seeing my books in print is a happy outcome.
Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery by Karen Shughart
About the Book
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series
Cozy Cat Press (February 13, 2018)
Paperback: 266 pages
Early one gray November morning, retired Lighthouse Cove, NY police chief, Edmund DeCleryk, finds Emily Bradford's body on the beach at the base of the bluff where the local museum and historical society stands. At the same time, a break-in has been reported at the museum, and Emily's coat and purse are found hanging on a peg in the museum's gift shop where she worked. Was her death the result of a burglary gone bad or something more sinister?
When the police chief is called out of town for a family emergency, he hires Ed, now working as a criminal consultant, to assist deputy police chief, Carrie Ramos, with the murder investigation. After several leads don't pan out, the chief, now back in Lighthouse Cove, decides to close the case. Confident that with more time the murder can be solved, Ed is determined to continue investigating on his own, with encouragement from his wife, Annie the museum's executive director.
One morning while in the basement of the museum, the couple discovers a copy of a map dated 1785, and Ed's instincts tell him it may be connected to Emily's death. On a hunch, he and Annie travel to Toronto, Canada, where he learns of the original map and a manuscript written in 1847 that were unearthed during an archaeological dig. The manuscript contains information about a ship that capsized during a fierce storm on Lake Ontario -- in 1785. Now Ed has clues as to why the murder occurred, but he still doesn't know who committed the crime. Or does he?
About the Author
Karen Shughart received a B.A. in Comprehensive Literature from the University of Pittsburgh and completed graduate courses in English at Shippensburg University. She is the author of two non-fiction books and has worked as an editor, publicist, photographer, journalist, teacher and non-profit executive. A Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery is her first work of fiction. Before moving to a small village on the shores of Lake Ontario in upstate New York, she and her husband resided in south central Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg, PA. For more information, visit her website: www.karenshughart.com.
Hometown Reads/Rochester Reads: https://hometownreads.com/books/murder-in-the-museum LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-shughart-738970161/
Purchase Link - Amazon
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