Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Miranda James, Guest Blogger

Well, it's no secret when you see the picture of the author that Miranda James is actually Dean James. James is the author of one of my favorite series, The Cat in the Stacks mysteries, featuring Charlie Harris, a widowed librarian, and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel. The books are set in the college town of Athena, Mississippi, and they feature a delightful cast of characters. The latest book in the series, The Silence of the Library, is just out. That makes it the perfect time to feature James as guest blogger. So, thank you to Dean and Miranda. (smile)

     I blame Nancy Drew for my life of crime. Reading it and writing it, that is.
     I was ten when I borrowed The Secret of Shadow Ranch from a cousin. It was the first mystery I ever read, and I was hooked. Then, to my delight, I discovered this was only one of a long series of adventures in which Nancy solved mystery after mystery. Just as exciting, I soon found other amateur mystery-solvers: the Hardy Boys, the Dana Girls, Judy Bolton, Trixie Belden, and many more. By the time I began reading adult mysteries, my love of the amateur detective was completely entrenched.
     When I decided I wanted to write a mystery myself, I knew my main character would be an amateur. After all, I’m not a policeman, or a lawyer, or a private detective. But I do have a healthy dose of curiosity about the world around me and the people in it. Charlie Harris, the sleuth in my “Cat in the Stacks” series, is just like me in that respect. He’s also about my age (fiftyish, if you must know), he’s a librarian, he grew up in Mississippi, and he has a Maine coon cat. That’s as far as it goes, however. (I have two cats, by the way, neither of which is a Maine coon. Also, Diesel is much better behaved than my two.)
     I wanted to incorporate my knowledge of, and love for, these juvenile series books into one of my own books, and in the new book, The Silence of the Library, I have done so. I created a series character in the mold of Nancy Drew and the other girl detectives and called her Veronica Thane. The author of the series, Electra Barnes Cartwright, was inspired by Mildred Wirt Benson (the first writer, aka “Carolyn Keene”, of the Nancy Drew series, Margaret Sutton, author of the Judy Bolton series, and Julie Campbell Tatham, the original author of Trixie Belden. In fact the book is dedicated to their memories.
     The most fun part of writing this book for me was the “excerpts” from the first Veronica Thane book. I reread some of my favorite girl detective stories from the 1930s to get a sense of the style in my head, and off I went. I hope readers will get a kick out of this aspect of the story. Of course, The Silence of the Library includes murder – a subject that usually didn’t come up in the classic juvenile series books. But when you get a number of rabid book collectors together, with hints of a rare and highly collectible volume, something deadly is sure to happen.
Thank you, Dean. Has he enticed you? Since I'm participating in his blog tour, the publicist sent a copy of The Silence of the Library for one lucky winner. Email me at Lesa.Holstine@gmail.com. Your subject heading should read "Win The Silence of the Library." Please include your name and mailing address. Enter soon! I'll pick a winner on Thursday night, Jan. 30, and mail out the book on Friday. Entries are limited to U.S. residents only. And, some lucky winner will have The Silence of the Library in their hands soon after the release date. Good luck!

Miranda James' website is www.catinthestacks.com

The Silence of the Library by Miranda James. Berkley Prime Crime. 2014. ISBN 9780425257282 (paperback), 320p.


Janet C said...

As soon as I finish my morning volunteer work, we're off to the store to pick it up. That has been the plan all month. This is one of my favorite series. It always goes right to the top of the TBR stack.

Mark Baker said...

I really, really, really need to start this series. It's one of the ones were I've bought the first book and haven't read it. Yet.

This one certainly sounds right up my ally. I loved the Hardys, Nancy, and Trixie when I was a kid.

Jane R said...

Thanks for a nice guest blog on a cold and icy morning. It's been added to my book list and I plan to start this series soon!

BPL Ref said...

My copy is already on order, and I look forward to reading it! The only way the blog could have been better is if Dean had supplied a photo of his two cats to go along with it.

I'm delighted to hear about the plot of this one, and it sounds wonderful! A marvelous homage to writers who gave us wonderful childhood companions and a lifelong love of mysteries, yet we didn't even know their real names.

Joe Barone said...

I too would credit Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys for my lifetime of reading mysteries. There must be a lot of us who were led to the joys of mystery stories in that way.

Lesa said...

It's so good to hear that many of you are already picking up this book. It's a terrific series. I started my copy last night. (And, it's not the copy I'm giving away. That's pristine.) I count myself in that number of people who credit children's mystery series for leading me to a lifetime addiction. For me, it was The Happy Hollisters and then Nancy Drew.

Sabrina Shields said...

I haven't read this series yet, but I'll be looking for it now!

Lesa said...

Lots of fans of this series, Sabrina! I hope you enjoy it.

Miranda James said...

Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to comment! and thanks to Lesa for hosting me!

Lesa said...

I'm reading it right now, Miranda, and enjoying it. Thanks for taking the time to do the guest blog.