Sunday, July 01, 2012

Researching a New Cozy Mystery Series: You Can't Judge a Book's Reader by Its Cover

Over the last few months, I've been happily at work creating a new cozy mystery series called the Dewberry Farm Mysteries (release dates coming soon), set in Buttercup, Texas.  It's been an absolute delight to spend my mornings in this new fictional locale.  I've really enjoyed building a small town with the flavor of Texas, complete with quirky characters, traditional foods, and history -- not to mention learning about the Czech and German heritage common to so many small towns in Texas.

Blossom on a bad morning.
As it happens, my main character has acquired a rather mischievous Jersey heifer named Blossom, so in addition to looking up recipes and superstitions (did you know that the Moravians believed that hearing three knocks meant someone was going to die?), I decided I needed to research dairy farming, about which I knew approximately nothing.  Since reading up on interesting topics is half the fun of writing, I promptly ordered a book called Any Fool Can Be a Dairy Farmer.  When it arrived, I took it with me to a coffee shop, ordered myself a (topically appropriate) latte, and parked myself in a leather chair.  

Although the book was funny and informative -- dairy farming is evidently rife with the opportunity for humorous calamities -- I had even more fun watching the reactions of my fellow coffee drinkers as they paraded by my chair.  I quickly surmised that I don't fit most people's mental image of an aspiring dairy farmer.  By the end of the afternoon, I'd lost count of the number of people who snuck surreptitious looks at my book's cover, then my face, and then the cover.  It was like they'd gone into their local coffee shop and discovered a duck wearing pajamas.

Still, that was nothing compared to the looks I got while reading a book for the first Margie Peterson mystery, Mother's Day Out.  

I guess you can't judge the reader of a book by its cover. ;)


At 1:33 PM, July 01, 2012, Blogger Dani said...

Hahaha! Are you going somewhere to milk one? Looking forward to reading this one. And if I can step through captcha, you'll get to read this.

At 1:42 PM, July 01, 2012, OpenID towriteistowrite said...

I hope your farmer won't use milking machines. Cows appreciate the personal touch.

At 1:55 PM, July 01, 2012, Blogger Karen MacInerney said...

Dani, what's captcha? I milked one once, last summer, but probably need a refresher course. towriteistowrite, absolutely she'll be hand-milking. It's a herd of one so far. :)

At 4:32 PM, July 01, 2012, Blogger John said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:35 PM, July 01, 2012, Blogger John Knapp said...

Funny you should mention the German and Czech heritage of small-town Texas as something you've had to learn about. It wasn't until I moved to New York that I realized just how much that heritage had influenced me. I grew up saying "Gesundheit" instead of "bless you," for example, and in Texas people always understood me. The first time I said that here I got an uncomprehending "What?" Also, they don't know what kolaches are up here. That's just tragic.

At 4:44 AM, August 29, 2012, Anonymous R L Jackson said...

I have a herd of goats on our old farm in NC. We grew up next to a dairy. You used to be able to pick your small bottle of white or chocolate milk off the conveyor belt, which they'd stop for you. It was great. I look forward to reading about Blossom and the dairy. Anything that can go wrong, will, especially during rutting and birthing seasons. My first breach birth was a real experience. Cows can drive you insane, but I miss the twice a day times when we had to stop to let the cows cross the two-lane blacktop.

At 3:03 AM, June 08, 2013, Anonymous Jane Bettany said...

Brilliant! Never judge a book by its cover - or a reader by their book! Great news about the new series. I look forward to reading the book. :)

At 11:33 AM, March 22, 2014, Blogger OoKnittyLou said...

When can we expect the book? Super excited!


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