There’s nothing quite like discovering a new mystery series, and I’m happy to say that I’ve done just that with The Lighthouse Library Mysteries by Eva Gates.
The first book in the series, By Book or By Crook, was released on February 3, 2015 by Penguin Obsidian. The second book, Booked for Trouble, is scheduled for September 2015. I sat down with author Eva Gates to find out more about the series and her writing process.
Judy: I love the concept of a library in a lighthouse on an island. What inspired it?
Eva: This is a cozy mystery series, and if there is one thing cozy readers love it’s books. Thus the library. They also love interesting places and quirky settings, and so you have the lighthouse. The setting of the Outer Banks of North Carolina was the publisher’s suggestion, and it’s a good one as the Outer Banks is a very popular tourist spot.
It’s a bit of a stretch, as the lighthouse really exists, and you can visit it, the Bodie Island Lighthouse near Nags Head, North Carolina, but as anyone who sees it will immediately realize, a lighthouse isn’t big enough for a library with four fulltime staff, meeting rooms, offices, two stair cases AND an apartment. But that’s why we have imaginations, isn’t it?
Judy: In a well-told tale, place is as much a character as the people who inhabit it. Can you take me on a tour of Bodie Island?
Eva: First thing to know is that Bodie Island, isn’t an island. The second is that it is pronounced BODY. It was an island at one point, but shifting sands and ocean currents have reconfigured the landscape, and it’s now a peninsula. The name Bodie was originally spelled Body, thus the pronunciation, not because there were a lot of bodies found, but after a settler family, the Body Family. The plaque in the lighthouse says “Body’s Island Lighthouse.”
As Bodie Island isn’t an island any more, it’s usually just thought of as part of the Outer Banks. A long thin strip of sand reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s so thin that in some places you can see water on each side from one point.
Eva: Charles, the library cat (named after Mr. Dickens), plays an important role. Charles doesn’t talk, and he doesn’t solve crimes, but he does somehow seem to know when Lucy is in trouble and he definitely knows who he does and doesn’t care for.
Lucy’s mother is from the Outer Banks, but left when still a teenager to marry a man from Boston. But Lucy has always spent her summers in Nags Head. Thus when she breaks off her long-long-long standing engagement and quits her job at the Harvard Library, she naturally flees to the Outer Banks and her beloved Aunt Ellen.
Aunt Ellen, however, won’t let Lucy feel sorry for herself and introduces her to her best friend, Bertie, the director of the Bodie Isand Lighthouse Library, who just happens to be in need of an assistant librarian. Josie is Ellen’s daughter and is the owner of Josie’s Cozy Bakery, a source of many edible delights.
I will consider my books a success if people go to the Outer Banks looking for either the library or for Josie’s Cozy Bakery.
Judy: What’s a typical writing day look like for Eva Gates?
Eva: When it comes to my writing, I am a total creature of routine. Every morning, seven days a week, I go to my main computer in my office, and read emails, read the papers online, spend a bit of time on Facebook or Twitter. Then it’s time to start to write. I walk into the dining room and stand at my Netbook computer, which is on the half-wall between the kitchen and the dining room and boot it up. As I pass through the kitchen, I put one egg on to boil.
I always write, standing up, on the Netbook. I read over everything I did the previous day, doing a light edit as I go. I then take my egg into the study and eat it while checking email. Then back to the small computer for several writing hours, usually finishing around one. And that’s pretty much it. I can’t write in small chunks. I can’t write as the spirit moves me. If I didn’t have a strict routine, I wouldn’t get anything done.
Judy: What’s next for Eva Gates?
Eva: Eva Gates is the author of the Lighthouse Library series, for which I have a three-book contract. It’s up to the readers (hint hint) if the publisher will contract for any more.
Under my real name of Vicki Delany, I am writing the new Christmas Town mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, of which the first, Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen, will be out in November 2015. That is also, so far, a three-book contract. And Orca Press’s Rapid Reads imprint is publishing Haitian Graves the second Sgt. Ray Robertson mystery in fall 2015.
So between us, Vicki and Eva are mighty busy.
Thank you, Eva.
Thank you very much, Judy. This has been great fun.
Find out more about Eva Gates at http://www.lighthouselibrarymysteries.com.
Find out more about Vicki Delany at http://vickidelany.com.