Shop owner Josie Blair is finally settling into the pace of living in Dorset Falls, Connecticut. Between running Miss Marple Knits, jumpstarting a blog, and handcrafting items with the help of her knitting pals, Josie’s too preoccupied to worry about her past in New York. And thanks to Lyndon and Harry, the owners of the brand-new antique shop next door, she has another project in her midst—repurposing a box of vintage crocheted doilies adorned with the most curious needlework . . .
But before Josie can formally welcome her neighbors, she discovers Lyndon on the floor of his shop stabbed to death by a rusty old pair of sheep shears. Police have pinned Harry as the killer, but Josie isn’t so sure. Now, she’s lacing up for another homicide investigation—and no eyelet or stitch can go unexamined, lest she herself becomes ensnared in the criminal’s deadly design . . .
INCLUDES ORIGINAL KNITTING PATTERNS
Josie Blair rents the space attached to her yarn shop to an antiques dealer, who is killed one evening as Josie and some of her knitting friends are gathered in her shop. The dead man’s business partner is suspected of the crime, but Josie has her doubts and decides to look into matters on her own. This is a great cozy with a likable cast of characters, and a setting that I absolutely loved. I’m a crocheter, not a knitter, but I still wish I could visit Miss Marple Knits.
Please join me in welcoming Sadie Hartwell to The Book’s the Thing to talk about the process of writing A Knit Before Dying!
Thanks for having me here today to celebrate the release of A Knit Before Dying. People sometimes ask me whether I’m a plotter, someone who plans out a book meticulously before she sits down to write, or a pantser, someone who writes by the seat of her pants and just lets the words flow. My first book (Feta Attraction, part of the Greek to Me Mysteries, written as Susannah Hardy) was completely pantsed. It was the first book I ever finished. Note I didn’t say the first I ever wrote. I had many, many false starts, most of which will never see the light of day—or completion, mostly because they stink, LOL! It took me about a year to write that first book, and another six months to revise, since during that time period I was actively taking classes and learning as much as I could about the business of writing.
But once I sold my books to a publisher (Kensington for the Tangled Web Mysteries), I had to do more plotting than I was used to. My editor needed a basic outline of what would happen in the book. So I came up with a rudimentary framework for A Knit Before Dying. Here’s what I knew would happen: Josie would buy a box of old doilies from an antiques dealer, who would be killed. There would be a clue in the box. Somehow there would be a connection to an old missing persons case. Josie’s friend Lorna would make progress toward her quest of owning her own diner. Josie’s uncle Eb would continue his lifelong feud with his neighbor. Josie would grow closer with the neighbor’s grandson, Mitch.
So these were all the general things that had to happen. But the question was how? I had, if you’ll pardon the expression, no clue! You see, the details never come to me until I start writing. The interrelatedness of the plot and the clues and the characters become clear as I go along. And quite often, as happened to me in this book, characters surprised me. The person I thought had done it all along—didn’t. So I solved the mystery right along with Josie!
But truthfully, this is pretty much the same process a plotter uses. It’s just that I start writing and work it out as I go along rather than the other way around. I tend to write in chunks of a few scenes at a time, then give myself a little time for my brain to catch up with what comes next. It’s like knitting a few rows or reading a few chapters before you stop to make dinner or do some laundry or clean the bathroom, then going back to the fun stuff when you can.
I sincerely hope you like A Knit Before Dying. And I hope it surprises you as much as it did me!
Thank you Sadie!
About The Author
Sadie Hartwell grew up near the Canadian border in northern New York State, where it’s cold, dark, and snowy almost half the year—a perfect environment for nurturing a simultaneous love of mystery fiction and needlework. She attended St. Lawrence University, graduating with a degree in history, and has worked as a waitress, handbag designer/manufacturer, paralegal, and copy editor before turning to writing full time. Now she gets to play with yarn and make up stories whenever she wants, and wishes everyone had a job as much fun as hers.
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