ACF Bookens - Charming Cozy Mysteries set in a Small Maryland Town
ACF Bookens lives in Virginia Southwest Mountains, where she spends her time watching her young son climb terrifyingly high things, cross-stitching, and gardening with abandon. Find her at bookens.andilit.com. As our Author of the Day, she tells us about her St. Marin's Cozy Mystery Series Box Set.
Please give us a short introduction to what the St. Marin's Cozy Mystery Series Box Set is about.
The series focuses on Harvey Beckett, a woman who has just moved back to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she grew up, to fulfill her dream of opening a bookstore. There, with the help of her best friend Mart, a coterie of great friends, and a mish-mash of fun dogs, she finds herself embroiled - by happenstance and insatiable curiosity - in the investigation to find murderers. Along the way, she explores history and questions of equality and justice and ends up working to support a good cause along the way. The books are fun and fast, and I hope my readers love Harvey and her crew as much as I do.
Tell us more about Harvey Beckett, what makes her tick?
Harvey is a woman who loves three things most of all: her people, her pets, and books. If she also gets to help out for a good cause, she's absolutely elated. She's far too curious for her own good, but her curiosity is always driven by a real desire to understand, not by nosyness. In short, she's a good woman who makes some bad choices from time to time, like all of us.
What, would you say, makes cozy mysteries so appealing?
Cozies are warm and safe, and they're full of quirky characters we admire and think we might like, even if we really wouldn't. The small-town settings are charming, and the simple plots make them engaging but fast reads. And in the end, the killer is always brought to justice, which feels good in a world where justice isn't always achieved.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Well, when I'm not writing cozies, I specialize in researching and documenting the identities and stories of people who were enslaved in pre-Civil War Virginia. I also whip up a pretty killer bowl of peanut butter popcorn.
You live in the Virginia Southwest Mountains. How has this influenced your writing?
I am a deeply place-based writer. So I use the sense of geography of a place - like the very real town of St. Michael's that St.Marin's is based on - to form a foundation for my books. Now that I live in this beautiful mountain range just East of the Blue Ridge, I find myself really delving into writing about the rural communities around me. Plus, the quiet of living here means that I get to see kingfishers and woodpeckers from my office window. That kind of quiet is what really opens up my creativity.
This box set includes the second three books in the series. Can they be read as standalones, or do you need to read them in order?
While there are relationships that develop and change as the series goes along, the mysteries themselves do stand alone and can be read out of order.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
Well, I typically read a couple of chapters, and then if I really like it, I flip to the acknowledgments page because that's the closest I can get to knowing this author who has given me this great gift.
What are you working on right now?
I'm in the final quarter of the third book in my new cozy series, Stitches In Crime, which takes place in a fictionalized version of a place very near where I live now. This sleuth, Paisley, is a single mom who does architectural salvage for a living and cross-stitches at night, something I also like to do.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I'm over on Facebook as ACF Bookens, and my website is bookens.andilit.com. Readers can find me there or email me to chat at [email protected].