A GUEST BLOG POST
A Finely Knit Murder (now in paperback for the first time) is the ninth book in the seaside knitters mystery series. Nine years. That’s how long I have known the women of Sea Harbor—Nell, Birdie, Cass, and Izzy. I’ve known them longer than I’ve known some of my friends.
These four women have become more than characters in a book to me. They hang out with me, come into my thoughts at odd times. (And that’s a good thing, because in addition to being like friends to me, they are often called upon during the writing process to help me along. I pummel them with questions: What’s going to happen next? How can we fit knitting into a day school’s agenda? What do you know about the head mistress that you’re not telling me?
In A Finely Knit Murder it was Birdie and her granddaughter who led us all to the Sea Harbor community day school: an amazing mansion-turned-school that sits on a rise of land, directly across from the ocean. I wasn’t sure how the school would factor into a murder mystery. But I dutifully followed the knitters around as they taught Gabby’s classmates the fine art of knitting and purling, and along with mittens and hats and scarves, along with contentious school board meetings and staff problems, a mystery slowly evolved.
Before I begin each new seaside knitters mystery, I spend time thinking about Nell, Cass, Izzie and Birdie, sharing a ‘seed’ of an idea with them—that tiny nugget that hopefully will grow into a book. And then we begin the journey together. And in the process, I ask them to tell me more about themselves, to share secrets and feelings and things from their past. To tell me more about their relationships with partners and husbands and neighbors.
Sometimes the characters jump right in, like Cass, the lobster fisherwoman, does in A Finely Knit Murder as she tries to work through her own feelings about commitment and relationships. She surprised me by showing up with a new man in her life. I knew his role in the story, but I honestly didn’t know at first how he was going to fit into my Cass’s life. No one knew, not for sure. But at the end of the journey, it made sense to us. And it did to Cass, too.
Yes, after all these years, these women still surprise me. And that’s a good thing. Surprising means they stay fresh, but not completely comfortable. New, but still old friends.
It amazes me that I’ve known these women for all these years—maybe as long as you’ve known a close and valued friend. They truly are BFFs. To each other. To me. And I hope that their friendship with readers, with you, deepens, too, so that you’ll keep coming back to sit with them on the deck or in the yarn shop, sharing a glass of wine, a bit of gossip, and secrets of Sea Harbor.
New . . .unique . . . and familiar. Kind of like a good marriage, a good partnership. Like BFFs.