I had the great luck to all to briefly meet Lynn McPherson at Bouchercon this year. Please join me in welcoming Lynn to the blog!
I have to start out by saying a big thank you to Sherry Harris for inviting me and including me in the Cozy Wicked Authors site. It is such a privilege to be here.
I am a Canadian who writes about New England. I thought it might be fun to explain the process of how and why I chose this specific location for my books. It was certainly no accident.
The setting where my stories take place is a small, wealthy, town located along the shores of Connecticut, not far from New York City. As the readers likely know, this description could only fit a few actual locations. However, I chose to create a fictional town based on a mishmash of where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, and things I’ve researched. The result is the beautiful, idyllic, and cozy town of Twin Oaks. I wanted to incorporate some of my favourite experiences of New England into my stories so I felt the best way to do this was to create a place where this could happen as opposed to trying to work a way around factual locations in already established communities.
As a lifelong lover of mysteries and storytelling, New England was a very natural place for me to base my own series. One of my earliest influences and inspirations was a TV show I watched weekly growing up. While most of the kids in my class loved Growing Pains or Who’s the Boss, I couldn’t wait for my hero, Jessica Fletcher, best-selling author and super sleuth, to grace the prime-time screen and solve whatever crime she was somehow tangled up in. Not long after Murder, She Wrote ended I discovered Steven King. Between Salem’s Lot and It, I became a lifelong fan. There could be no going back after that. I won’t even venture into my love of Gilmore Girls. Needless to say, New England was it for me.
When I finally got to New England in person, it was phenomenal. I took a road trip with a friend who had gone to school there. We entered through Vermont and right away were introduced to a winter wonderland. The natural beauty of untouched snow on a brilliant, sunny day is easy to appreciate. From there we continued on down to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where I went tobogganing on a classic red wood sled. Another big highlight happened a few days later, when I was lucky enough to get a tour of a picturesque school named Kent, in Kent, Connecticut, since my friend was lucky enough to be an alma mater at the prestigious institution. Walking through the hallways I wondered if Robin Williams was going to walk around the corner at any given moment and convince me to run into a classroom to recite Walt Whitman or Shakespeare.
The rest of the trip was full of other fun activities such as learning how to make s’mores at a rustic inn, feeding carrots to horses on a farm, and watching the Patriots win a big game among a crowd of very enthusiastic fans at a small tavern. I went from having never watched an entire football game to becoming an expert, confident in instructing the players what they should be doing next, shouting excitedly along with my newfound friends at the large screen TV we were all glued to.
Every time I’ve gone to New England since, it has been a pleasure. I’ve yet to come across anything to complain about and I hope to keep it that way. While I know that I am experiencing a place from a rather fantastical point of view—never having to do chores or worry about getting to work on time, it has allowed me to keep the idyllic point of view that I incorporate into my stories.
The Girls Weekend Murder is the first book in The Izzy Walsh Mystery Series. The next one, The Girls Whispered Murder, will be out in the fall of 2018.
Lynn McPherson grew up in various parts of Canada, from the Canadian Rockies to the big city of Toronto. She is a debut author who has channelled her lifelong love of adventure and history into her writing, where she is free to go anywhere, anytime. Having a particular love of New England, possibly stemming from a snowy winter’s night spent at a cozy inn, Lynn knew this is where her mystery series must take place. She is a member of Crime Writers Of Canada, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters In Crime. Her cozy mystery, The Girls’ Weekend Murder, is the first book in The Izzy Walsh Mystery Series.
Readers: If you were going to create a fictional town based on a real one, what town would you choose?