Today is the last day to get Candles in the Dark for free! It’s had a fantastic opening weekend, THANK YOU to everyone who has bought a copy and/or spread the word. It means so much to me.
The seed for this story was planted last September–I had finished a reread of Elizabeth Gaskell’s “North & South” and was thinking how rare characters like Margaret Hale are in fiction: quiet, strong-willed, filled with integrity, passionate about justice, willing to acknowledge when she’s made a mistake, fiercely loyal, yet still, and I repeat myself here because this is the rarest bit, quiet.
That mixed in with thinking about how fun it would be to read a mystery set in the Adirondacks with a scholarly protagonist along the lines of Harriet Vane. I grew up “in the foothills of the Adirondacks,” as we always described ourselves in Canton and Potsdam, two towns about ten miles apart with four colleges between them. So many mysteries–or indeed, stories in general–set in small towns focus only on the quirkiness of them, a la Gilmore Girls; or else portray the people in them as small as the towns themselves, narrow-minded and blindly prejudiced.
I wanted my story to show my small town as I knew it–warm, welcoming, open, accepting, full of hard-working, real people. I wanted my protagonist to have that same integrity and passion for justice that Margaret Hale had, with the scholarly mind and desire for honesty Harriet Vane shows. I wanted my story to show the real struggles of a rural, northern farming community during the Depression, which were very different from rural farming communities in the south and midwest. Above all, I wanted it to be a story where justice and truth prevailed and light shone in the darkness.
As to how well I succeeded in all those goals, only you, the reader, can tell. Pick up your copy of Candles in the Dark today, for free, and let me know what you think in a review!
The old Grist Mill I based Wharton’s Mill on, situated on the beautiful Grasse River.
This photo essay shows a little bit more of the Canton I know and love as it is today. It is indeed a beautiful little village!