Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Murder on Match Day - A Guest Post by Diane Weiner

This month, Fabulous Florida Writers is pleased to welcome guest blogger Diane Weiner.  Weiner is a former teacher turned mystery writer who is the author of ten Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mysteries and three Sugarberry Falls Mysteries. She was our featured author on March 2, 2018.

Murder is Medical, the tenth book in my Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mysteries, begins with retired teacher turned sleuth Susan Wiles attending her son’s Match Day ceremony in St. Louis. Yes, this is based on real life experience. My husband and I flew to St. Louis last spring to attend our son’s ceremony at Washington University Medical School. It’s an exciting day for fourth year medical students and their families—in my opinion, even more so than graduation.

Let me explain Match Day. When you finish medical school you’re a doctor, but you’re not really a doctor. You have to do more training to become the specific type of doctor you want to be. This training is called residency. Senior year of medical school is spent applying and hopefully interviewing at hospitals where you wish to do your residency. Medical students rank their choices, and the residency programs rank their applicants.

If two students are a couple, and are graduating and heading to residency at the same time, they can ask for a “couples match” to end up in the same hospital or city. My son and his girlfriend did this and are doing their residencies together in St. Louis. She is specializing in emergency medicine, and my son is specializing in radiology. In Murder is Medical, Cara and Evan are based on my son and his hopefully one day, fiancĂ©e. Susan wants the engagement to happen as much as I do!

Medical schools download a top-secret, computer generated list matching the students to programs and print out a letter for each student. Each letter goes into a sealed envelope which cannot be opened until noon on Match Day. Students all over the U.S. open their envelopes at the same time, at noon, on a Friday in the middle of March. Some schools make this a public event (i.e.: Wash U), while others have students open their letters privately.

This event sparked an idea. In my book, a professor has a reception at his home following Match Day. When he dies right as he’s making a toast, Susan can’t help getting involved. Her detective daughter is there also, and before flying home, introduces Susan to Detective Jazmin Lowe, and her mother, Valerie.

Valerie and Susan are quite the dynamic duo and work together to “help” the police. A medical crisis involving Susan’s husband, Mike, keeps them in town longer than expected, and Susan is up for a distraction. My publisher and I liked the character of Valerie so much that she may be visiting Westbrook, New York to team up with Susan again in a future book.

Susan Wiles is a strong, smart, character who sometimes is too fearless for her own good. Her brave front disintegrates whenever her family is threatened, not just by the ‘bad guys,’ but by things that can happen to us all as we progress along life’s course. She battles Type 2 diabetes, and constantly struggles with her weight. In Murder is Medical, her husband has a major, life-threatening health crisis which brings forward Susan’s paralyzing fear of losing him as well as her financial concerns. If Mike can’t work, how will they pay the bills?

While this is book 10 in the series, this mystery happens away from the home setting of Westbrook, New York (a small town 90 miles or so north of NYC), so the reader won’t feel lost if it is read out of sequence. Throughout the series, Susan butts heads with her detective daughter, Lynette as she gets involved in school related crimes. After all, Susan was a teacher and offers unique insights as well as inside connections. Hopefully, once you meet Susan Wiles, you’ll want to spend more time with her!

 For more information, visit the author's website at www.dianeweinerauthor.com.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Kathryn Bain - Suspense that Inspires

 It was a challenge from her daughter that set Kathryn J. Bain on the road to writing. This Jacksonville author admits to being an avid TV watcher who enjoyed critiquing shows. “One day, I was watching television with my daughter, and I said, ‘This could make it much better,’” she recalls. “My daughter told me, ‘You always say that – now do it!’” So Bain did. The result is a body of work she describes as “clean fiction with an edge.”

This Idaho native came to Florida in 1983. “I got sand in my toes and didn’t want to leave,” she says. “I love the Florida winters, the heat and the wonderful people. And it’s great to be able to go from one coast to the other in a day. There’s so much to do.”  One of the things Kathryn decided to do was write what she enjoyed reading the most – a mystery/suspense novel. She took some courses and joined a critique group, and in 2012, she published Breathless, the first in what was to become the Lincolnville Mysteries. Set in the fictional town of Lincolnville, Georgia, Breathless is the story of a woman being stalked and the man who protects and eventually falls in love with her. The novel won a prestigious Royal Palm Literary Award for Inspirational Fiction

For Bain’s next offering, she tried her hand at a novella –  Game of Hearts,  a humorous romance. It was followed by two more novels: Catch Your Breath, (Lincolnville Mysteries #2) and Knight and Day, a stand-alone mystery. Beautiful Imperfection, published in 2013, was a novel with a special meaning. The story of a breast cancer survivor who witnesses a mass murder, Bain wrote it as a tribute to breast cancer survivors. “I wanted women who go through breast cancer to realize just how brave and beautiful they really are,” she says. 

Readers return to Lincolnville for Bain’s next novel, One Last Breath, a story that tackles the subject of child trafficking.  The following three works  – The Visitor, Small Town Terror, and Reunion – are a trio of mystery novellas linked together by a common protagonist - KT Morgan, a mysterious woman who travels alone. Each story exposes a little more about this enigmatic character.

Bain’s next release, Take Her Breath Away, (Book #4 in the Lincolnville series) centers around Rayleene and Ty Davenport, a couple whose relationship has been rocked by infidelity.  When Ty’s life is endangered by a mysterious killer, Rayleene must learn if she can trust him again. “Rayleene and Ty had separated in an earlier book, and I wanted to bring them back together,” Bain explains. The inspiration for Ty Davenport is country singer Lee Brice. “Every hero in the Lincolnville series is based on a country singer,” Bain says. “For Breathless,’ it was Toby Keith; for Catch Your Breath, Chris Young; and George Strait for One Last Breath. The female characters are made up.”

Bain’s next work was a real departure. The Chain We Forge was a contemporary version of Bain’s favorite Christmas story, “A Christmas Carol.”  In 2018, she published 30 in 30, a short book filled with ideas on blessing others. She has recently finished another suspense book scheduled for release in 2019. Titled Fade to the Edge, it tells of a mother's search for her missing seven-year-old son. When her soon-to-be ex-husband ends up dead, she has no choice but to take the law into her own hands and find her child herself. Bain is currently working on a middle-grade ghost story, Seven Sisters Road,  about some teens who get stuck on Seven Sisters Road in Nebraska City – a road said to be haunted.

While Bain’s works are characterized as Christian fiction, she believes that there are elements that set her stories apart. “I think my books are more realistic than most Christian fiction,” she says. “And even though I write clean psychological suspense, I try to make it edge-of-your-seat suspense too.” She wants readers to come away from her books feeling entertained and inspired. “My books deal with forgiveness. I want people to realize we all make mistakes, and that’s fine. I want them to be able to forgive themselves."

She also hopes her books will keep readers up all night.

For more information, visit the author’s website at www.kathrynjbain.com