I’m Liv Montgomery, events coordinator for the destination town of Celebration Bay, NY. I work in the background: planning, organizing, implementing, and cleaning up. My job is to make things run smoothly and efficiently.
I really wanted someone else to do this interview because I’m up to my eyeballs in the next festival. But here’s the thing with small town people, they’ll gossip about everything among themselves, but they are all either too shy or too ornery to talk to outsiders. So you get me.
I’m from Manhattan, born and raised. I was a high power corporate event planner there. I was in demand, made a lot of money, never saw my dog, and couldn’t remember the color of my new modular couch.
One day Whiskey, my Westie terrier, put his paw down. He’d had enough of having to ride an elevator down to the street, of strangers walking him and having to share his walk with a half dozen other dogs, all of whom had attitude. I knew just how he felt. Standing in the rain, late for an appointment, desperately trying to hail a cab along with a dozen other desperate people, it hit me. I was burned out. And on the heels of that revelation I got an idea. We would move to the country, find a little house with a yard for Whiskey and places for me to do my not so daily run that didn’t include traffic, asphalt, car fumes or muggings.
Celebration Bay was looking for a professional event coordinator to take over what had been a volunteer position. Their festivals were growing. They needed someone with organizational experience, who was savvy with supply venues, who ran a tight ship, who understood the importance of teamwork, staying on schedule and sticking to a budget. They needed me—and my new straight-from-the-catalogue, LL Bean wardrobe.
I may have overdone it a bit with the corduroy and plaids, but I packed our things and sublet my apartment. (I’m from Manhattan, always have a plan B). Then Whiskey, who refused to wear his new plaid doggie coat, and I piled into my car and drove north.
Definitely culture shock. More so by the town than by me. I hid my four inch heels and little black dresses in the back of my closet and wore corduroy slacks and topsiders to work. I didn’t fool anybody but me.
They spotted me as an outsider right away. They were friendly but distrustful, until they saw me in action. Things suddenly started working the way they should, no more traffic snarls or undelivered goods. I implemented adequate insurance coverage and held the shortest business meetings they’d ever witnessed. The tourists and the money started pouring in.
I have a great assistant, Ted Driscoll, a man of a certain age and a mysterious past. He fell in love with Whiskey and is determined to teach him every song in the holiday song book. Unfortunately Whiskey seems to have trouble staying on key. But he’s enthusiastic.
The festivals have grown like crazy and we’ve hired an additional security staff headed by a serious marine A. K. Pierce, who is intimidating and intriguing and a definite foil to the other men in my life, including Chaz Bristow, the editor of the local paper, a former investigative reporter who rather fish than solve a murder.
Which unfortunately we’ve seen our share of. Huge groups of people bring huge problems, sometimes they take care of those problems on vacation. But we’re on top of it. Most people no longer blame me for bringing murder as well as prosperity to town. It’s been a crazy learning curve, but I love my new job and my new friends. Celebration Bay is a great place to live or to visit. Hope to see you there soon.
You can read more about Liv in Trick or Deceit, the fourth book in the “Celebration Bay” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first three books in the series are Foul Play at the Fair, Silent Knife, and Independence Slay.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Monday, September 14th for your chance to win a print copy of Trick or Deceit. (US entries only, please.)
About the author
Shelley Freydont is the author of the Liv Montgomery Celebration Bay Mysteries as well as the Kate MacDonald Sudoku Mysteries and the Lindy Haggerty dance company mysteries, and the Newport Gilded Age Mysteries, beginning with A Gilded Grave (Aug 2015)
As Shelley Noble, she is the NYTimes Best selling author of women’s fiction (Beach Colors, Stargazey Point, Breakwater Bay, and Whisper Beach as well as several novellas. A former professional dancer and choreographer, Shelley lives at the Jersey shore and loves puzzles, light houses and antique carousels. She also loves to hear from readers.