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It’s June in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and Julia Snowden and her family are working hard to get their authentic Maine clambake business ready for summer. Preparations must be put on hold, however, when a mysterious yacht drops anchor in the harbor—and delivers an unexpected dose of murder . . .
When Julia’s old prep school rival Wyatt Jayne invites her to dinner on board her billionaire fiancé’s decked-out yacht, Julia arrives to find a sumptuous table set for two—and the yachtsman dead in his chair. Suspicion quickly falls on Wyatt, and Julia’s quest to dredge up the truth leads her into the murky private world of a mega-rich recluse who may not have been all that he seemed . . .
Barbara, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little about your protagonist, Julia?
In the Maine Clambake Mysteries, Julia Snowden returns from her venture capital job in Manhattan to save her family’s failing clambake business.
How alike are you and Julia Snowden?
Julia is in her thirties, half my age, so in that sense she’s quite different. She’s at a point in life where she’s making a lot of big decisions–about where to live and how to make a living and whom to love. On the other hand, she observes the world and reports on it much the way I do, filtering for the difference in age and experience. I find our characters have become closer together over the series.
Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?
Julia’s the offspring of a marriage between a summer resident mother whose formerly wealthy family owns a private island and a townie father who delivered groceries to the island in his skiff, so she feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. And she’s been away for seventeen years for boarding school, college, business school and work. Over the course of the books, Julia comes to feel more and more at home in coastal Maine, learning that a lot of her feelings about being an outsider come from inside her, not from the community.
Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
Actually no, though I know a lot of mystery writers do this. No one’s ever done anything to me that rises to the killing level.
How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
My town is of Busman’s Harbor is fictional, but is based on Boothbay Harbor, Maine where my husband and I have owned a home for more than fifteen years. Making my setting fictional allows me to move streets around, borrow shops and restaurants from other towns, and yes, to kill way more people than are murdered in small towns in coastal Maine. I try to aim for an emotional truth rather than at literal truth.
When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?
This is such a hard one. I usually propose Anna Kendrick for Julia, because she’s the right age, small like Julia and from Maine.
What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?
Writers get so much bad advice! I even do a presentation called, “Four Lies People Will Tell You about Marketing Your Novel.” And that’s just the marketing part, not the writing or publishing piece. One of the lies is, “You should write a blog about a subject other than writing to attract readers to your website.”
My best advice comes from author Hallie Ephron about first drafts, “Just hold your nose and write.”
About The Author
Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. The first book in the series, Clammed Up was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She is co-editor/co-publisher of Level Best Books, which produces anthologies of crime stories by New England authors. She writes at her home overlooking the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Barbara blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Maine Crime Writers. Readers can visit her website at MaineClambakeMysteries.com.
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