I’m happy to welcome author Susan Van Kirk. Today, Susan shares two amazing days in her creative journey.
Hi, Everyone, and thank you Joanne for inviting me to your blog!
When I began writing mysteries eleven years ago, I always thought the most amazing day in my future would be the day my first box of books with my name on it arrived on my front porch. And it was. But recently, I had another most amazing day, one that I hadn’t imagined back then.
After writing a series called the Endurance Mysteries, I decided to go in a new direction and begin a mystery series about a younger protagonist, one who would have a dream job. She’d be a historical researcher whom famous authors paid to do their digging, and she’d explore amateur genealogy on the side. Beth Russell appeared in my head, the woman who would have the job I’d love.
Leaving her home on Long Island, Beth ventured to Illinois when an investigator told her he thought she was the lost daughter of a wealthy family named Tippitt. Here she was, a genealogist, who didn’t even know who she was. Soon, the little town of Sweet Iron materialized, and Beth discovered a family she didn’t know she had, and the murder of a mother she’d never met. Well, as they say, the story now twists and turns with a murder case from 1971, a group of suspects still around, and the same people interested in Beth’s speedy departure from Sweet Iron…one way or another. Then we have her missing biological father, someone watching the Tippitt house from the woods, and the ghostly smell of Chantilly perfume, the scent her mother wore.
But then there’s the #2 best day of my life, which I mentioned at the beginning of this twisty tale. In late March, my publisher, Encircle Publications, joined with Orange Sky Audio by Findaway to do an audiobook of A Death at Tippitt Pond. Seriously? My words in an audiobook for all the world to hear. And even better, the professional narrator they hired was Patricia Santomasso, who lives in New York City and has done 150 audiobooks prior to mine. I loved her voice.
So, the second-best day of my book-writing life began with a download of my own words, previously typed in my little office on my laptop in downstate Illinois and now read by a professional. When I heard the first paragraph, I must confess to a few tears of joy, and then the few became many. How amazing—my words read aloud for all the world to hear.
Everyone in the small town of Sweet Iron knew the teenage daughter of Judge Tippitt and his wife, Jolene. Melanie Tippitt’s exotic green eyes sprinkled with gold flecks only added to her haunting beauty. That is why her shocking murder in the summer of 1971 shattered the innocence of the town. Soon, the inhabitants sighed with relief when the murderer was sent to prison. Case closed. Four decades later, historical researcher and genealogist, Elizabeth Russell, arrives in Sweet Iron with plans for a brief visit. She extends her stay when she discovers reasons to research the Tippitt family genealogy and the disturbing tragedy of their daughter’s murder. Her decision cracks the tranquility of the town and challenges the truth of what happened that day at Tippitt Pond … Case closed. Or was it?
About the Author
Susan Van Kirk is a Midwest writer, living in downstate Illinois. Her writings include the Endurance Mysteries: Three May Keep a Secret, The Locket: From the Casebook of TJ Sweeney, Marry in Haste, and Death Takes No Bribes. Harlequin Worldwide Mystery is currently republishing her entire series. Her latest mystery is A Death at Tippitt Pond. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and is President of the Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime. Her website and blog are at http://www.susanvankirk.com