I’ve been asked—often—just how much of Fran Stewart is in Peggy Winn, the shop owner in my ScotShop mysteries.
Well, not a whole lot. And, quite a bit.
How can both answers be true?
I’m glad you asked.
I lived in Vermont, the setting of A WEE DOSE OF DEATH, for 26 years. Peggy’s lived there all her life, but since her life so far is only 30 years long, she and I are almost even.
On the other hand, Peggy’s really good at cross-country skiing. I’m not. I can recall all too vividly the way I always lagged behind groups of my enthusiastic skier friends. “Come on up for a jaunt through the woods and up the mountain,” the invitation would read. “Afterwards, we’ll gather for hot food and good conversation.” It always sounded like a good idea, so I’d agree to go.
Within twenty minutes I was at the back of the pack. Within thirty, I could just barely hear them ahead of me. Eventually, they’d all stop for a rest. By the time I caught up with the group, they were on their way farther up the trail. After the third “rest stop,” I’d invariably give up, turn around, and follow my tracks back to the beginning. More times than I care to admit, everyone else would have already gotten there ahead of me (through the woods, up the mountain, down on the other side, and back around the base). <<Sigh>>
Maybe that’s why Peggy turned out to be such a good skier. She loves to fly across the meadow and up the mountain trails. Dirk enjoys it, too, although (since he’s a ghost) he doesn’t have to worry about waxing a pair of skis.
Peggy and I are similar in that Peggy can see Dirk Farquharson, the 14th-century ghost who is attached to the shawl Peggy wears, and I’ve seen three ghosts, although I’ve had only limited experience with conversing with one.
We’re different in that Peggy’s ghost is there to stay, while my three were rather ephemeral, lasting only for brief minutes.
Peggy’s thirty. I used to be thirty. And Peggy has a dear friend, Karaline Logg, who owns a restaurant, while I have a number of dear friends who like to eat in restaurants.
Peggy has a cat named Shorty and would like to get a Scottish terrier (spoiler alert – she gets one in book #3). Meanwhile she thoroughly enjoys Scamp, her assistant manager’s Scottie. I have cats, but my dogs are limited to granddogs—an Australian shepherd and a GBBD (Great Big Brown Dog).
And finally, Peggy has a brother, Drew. Drew is a dinosaur expert who travels around the country advising museums about their dinosaur exhibits. His service dog, Tessa, accompanies him everywhere. I’m sorry to say I never had a brother, but I’m one ahead of Peggy Winn, because I have a marvelous sister.
Does this all even out in the end? Oh yes!
Of course, the nice thing about being the author is that I can introduce new places, people, and events whenever I want to. In the future, Peggy and I may come to be more alike than ever. Or maybe not.
A WEE DOSE OF DEATH: A ScotShop Mystery by Fran Stewart, Berkley Prime Crime Paperback, January 5, 2016, $7.99