I just signed a contract with Berkley Prime Crime for a new Hemlock Falls novel. The working title is A FETE WORSE THAN DEATH—(although that will probably change, since it’s the story that’s in control, and I haven’t written the story yet.)

To my gob-smacked amaze, the contract reads: “Hemlock Falls novel #18”. Eighteen? I’ve written eighteen novels about tall, red-headed Quill and her volatile sister Meg? (Not only that–I average two corpses per book, which means I’ve come up with thirty-four ways to slaughter people in a small, Eden-like village located in one of the most beautiful areas of the United States. Soon to be thirty-six ways to slaughter people, when the new novel is done. What does that say about my subconscious? I’m having serious doubts about whether I’m really…umm…as nice as I’d like to be.)

When I signed that first contract back in 1993, I didn’t have any doubts about how nice Meg and Quill were. I liked them a lot. I liked them enough to agree to a three book contract and when I started to fill up my village with various Hemlockians to flesh out my cast, I liked them , too. And now, almost twenty years later, I have a village stuffed with characters I’m tickled to spend time with. Harvey Bozzel, Hemlock Falls best (and only) advertising executive. Marge Schmidt, of keen brain and grouchy attitude, who is,the richest woman in Tompkins County. Gentle Pastor Dookie Shuttleworth of the Hemlock Falls Church of the Word of God. And Doreen Muxworthy-Stoker, Quill’s beloved housekeeper, who wields a fierce and accurate mop at bumptious guests.

I’m just about to sit down and fiddle with the new plot—and I’ve realized among the many murders I’ve fictionally committed—I’ve never bumped off a true Hemlockian. I don’t think I ever could. My favorite guys are crowded comfortably around me as I write about them—Max the dog, Bismarck the cat, Dina the addled Inn receptionist…and I’m going to be spending time with them again. I think I’m the luckiest cozy writer in the world.


** Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of DREAD ON ARRIVAL to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends April 15. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **

Meet the author
Claudia Bishop (Mary Stanton) is the author of more than forty novels and the senior editor of three mystery anthologies. The seventeenth Hemlock Falls novel, DREAD ON ARRIVAL, will be in bookstore in April 2012. Visit Claudia at www.claudiabishop.com

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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