Please join me in welcoming Susan Kimmel Wright to the blog today to talk about her new cozy mystery, Mabel Gets the Ax!
Susan Kimmel Wright began her life of mystery as a child, with reading. That led to writing kids’ mysteries and eventually to Medicine Spring with Mabel. A longtime member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, Susan’s also a prolific writer of personal experience stories, many for Chicken Soup for the Soul. She shares an 1875 farmhouse in southwestern PA with her husband, several dogs and cats, and an allegedly excessive stockpile of coffee and tea mugs.
MABEL GETS THE AX
SERIES: Mysteries of Medicine Springs #1
GENRE: Inspirational Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Mountain Brook Ink
RELEASE DATE: July 5, 2021
Mabel plans to bring the thrills of volunteering to the masses—if she doesn’t get the ax first.
After losing her job of twenty-three years, Mabel decides to launch what will surely be a glamorous new career as an author. Having recently inherited her late grandmother’s house, she has the freedom to spend time volunteering and writing about her experiences.
Unfortunately, Mabel’s plans soon go off the rails. Her inheritance comes with decades of clutter, an overgrown lot, a dog named Barnacle, and a neighbor with an ax to grind. And her first assignment as a Medicine Spring Historical Society volunteer is to lead a tour of the Sauer Mansion, locally known as the “Ax Murder House,” site of a notorious 1930’s double homicide.
As Mabel shepherds her tour group through the house, it appears history’s repeating itself when she stumbles across a body in the parlor. Finding herself on the suspect list, Mabel scrambles to figure out who swung the fatal ax. In the process, she can’t help being drawn into investigating the unsolved historic murders, teamed up with PI John Bigelow, a man she isn’t sure she can trust. With an ax murderer on the loose, will Mabel be next?
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Hi Susan! Welcome to the blog!
Susan: Definitely both! As you can see from the cover of my cozy mystery, Mabel Gets the Ax, Mabel has a dog and a cat. We have three dogs and two cats here—a cattle dog named Elvis (like Mabel’s dog Barnacle) and two small mixed breeds named Betty Sue and Louie. Our cats, Cirrus and Dante, are both Maine coons (again, like Mabel’s cat Koi). Variety is the spice of life (and a happy home)!
Carrie: such a cute cover, by the way!
Susan: Again, both! I can’t start my day without coffee, but after those first couple cups, you’ll usually find me inhaling tea all day (and evening) long. I also love mugs, and I’m always bringing more home (to the consternation of my husband and crowding of our shelf space), because I need to have exactly the right mug to suit the season, my mood, and whatever I’m writing!
Carrie: I don’t like coffee or tea – but I feel the same way about mugs (Hot chocolate for the win!)
Susan: Mountains all the way! I was born and grew up in the Laurel Mountains of Pennsylvania, which are part of the Appalachian chain. I spent the early years of my life in a small house my father—a carpenter and cabinetmaker—built in the woods after WWII, which my brother and I are still happy to own. It is a beautiful, peaceful place and as my sister says, our neighbors were the squirrels and other wildlife.
Carrie: oh i love that!!
Susan: Both! I’m a hardcore print lover—I love feel and fragrance of the paper, love the way I can easily page back and forth, and print books are perfect for snuggling up with. They are my ride-or-die, hands-down favorite. But print books are heavy! I used to pack a BOX of books when we went on road trips. My husband preferred to do the driving, and I read about a book a day. Obviously, this isn’t too practical for long trips on trains, planes, buses—or feet. It has been wonderful to carry an entire library in one hand with an e-reader.
Carrie: I can totally relate to the box of books for trips – you don’t want to run out of things to read!! Definitely helps to have a whole library in one small e-reader 🙂
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Susan: Is losing things a superpower? I think I might already have that one!
Q: Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Susan: This is a really tough question, because I have several. In fact, I belong to a few vintage children’s book collectors’ groups, and I still collect, read, and discuss them. For now, I guess I would say Betsy (from Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s 1916 Understood Betsy) and Katie John (from Mary Calhoun’s Katie John series). These two girls are as different from each other as can be. Betsy is a timid orphan, raised by two overprotective aunts, who learns self-reliance and so much more about life, when circumstances land her in Vermont with her rustic older relatives. Katie John is adventuresome, imaginative, and impulsive. I adore both of these characters, and I probably have quite a bit of each in my own personality.
Carrie: I always love the answers to this questions – as well read as I was in my childhood, I still learn about books I never knew about, like the Katie John series! 🙂
Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled while researching a book?
Susan: This is another tough one, because researching weird things “R us.” Probably the most recent weird thing is how long it takes a human body to mummify naturally, and what conditions speed the process.
Carrie: oh my… lol
Q: Which of your characters in Mabel Gets the Ax is most like you?
Susan: My main character Mabel, most definitely! We have a lot of differences, but we’re both former lawyers, both live in old Victorian farmhouses, and we both have cattle dogs and Maine coon cats. Personality-wise, I also relate to Mabel’s insecurities and sense of humor. But our funniest similarity is our love of food! While I act more like her boyfriend John—eat mostly healthy and vegetarian and get lots of exercise—I LOVE French fries, diner breakfast, pie and pastries, etc.! Writing this book was so much fun, because I let Mabel eat whatever she wanted. My editor and more than one reader have commented that this book made them hungry—me too!
Carrie: Duly noted – I will keep a pile of snacks handy for reading this one haha
Q: What is something God taught you while you wrote Mabel Gets the Ax?
Susan: I learned God really does care about the ordinary problems of our lives—not just crises and major life issues—and he wants us to come to him for help. When I had to do an unexpected major revision of my book late in the process, my first response was panic. Could I do it? And what would happen if I couldn’t, especially on a tight deadline? At that point, I had no idea how I was going to rewrite such an important section of the book. But I prayed about my problem and asked God how to handle it. He’s the great Creator, after all!
For days, I played with different ideas, but nothing felt right. But I kept praying and asking God to help me trust him for the answer. Then one afternoon I was in the kitchen chopping vegetables, not even thinking about the book at all. The perfect solution simply dropped into my mind, and I was on my way! I have absolutely no doubt God gave me my answer.
Carrie: He’s so sweet to do that, isn’t He?
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Susan:Right now, I’m hard at work on Book Two of the Mysteries of Medicine Spring, Mabel Goes to the Dogs, due out in June 2022.
Susan Kimmel Wright is offering a signed, print copy of Mabel Gets the Ax AND the prequel novella, Mabel & the Cat’s Meow to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Mabel Gets the Ax by Susan Kimmel Wright?