Nancy Drew books ignited my love of reading as a child, and the moment I discovered The Hidden Staircase is so vividly clear in my memory, I still remember every detail, including the way it made me feel.
It was the first day of third grade and my teacher, Mrs. Adams, told us that if we finished our seatwork early, we should sit quietly—and if we wanted, go get a book at the back of the room to read.
My desk happened to be in the back row, with the bookcase directly behind me. So, being the good little girl that I was, when I finished my work that day, I turned around and looked at my choices. I didn’t know anything about Nancy Drew or mysteries, but as soon as I opened that book about the hidden staircase (how fun!) I was suddenly no longer sitting in that boring third grade classroom. I was being whisked away on an adventure with teenage sleuth Nancy Drew and her friends.
After that, the town library became my second home, and I became an avid reader, devouring not only every Nancy Drew mystery I could get my hands on, but all kinds of fiction, and nonfiction, including history.
But mysteries, especially those featuring private detectives, always remained among my favorite books. Especially featuring female private detectives. As an adult, I became a fan of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Stephanie Evanovich’s bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. And those characters, along with Nancy Drew, inspired my new series character, Story Smith.
Since I also love reading romance, when I began writing fiction, I wrote historical romance because it combined my love of happily-ever-after stories and history.
Then, a year ago, after publishing three stand-alone romance novels, I was ready to create a series. One that would feature a female private eye, who—to her surprise—finds herself falling in love—inconveniently, and delightfully, with her handsome private eye competitor, Steve Evans.
Story and Steve’s relationship gets off to a sizzling start in Never on Monday, book one of my Story Smith Mystery series, which is set in 1955 Philadelphia. And the fun will continue in book two, Tuesday Means Trouble, so stay tuned …
Why 1955? And why Philadelphia?
Because the fifties were an upbeat time, compared to today, and if you’re going to be whisked away on an adventure with a gutsy female detective, why not have it be to a fun and different world than the one we’re living in now?
When it came to setting, I chose Philadelphia because I grew up in New Jersey, across the Walt Whitman Bridge from the city, so I know the area well even though I now live in Florida. I also set my characters on the east coast of the United States to give them plenty of exciting places to roam throughout the series. The Jersey Shore. Washington, D.C. New York City. Not to mention the Philadelphia airport, where Story finds herself in book one, ready to fly off to wherever she needs to go to solve her case.
Taking my readers along with her.