Please join me in welcoming author Susan Kimmel Wright back to the blog to talk about writing cozy mysteries and how her process differed in her newest cozy, Mabel and the Little Green Men!
MABEL AND THE LITTLE GREEN MEN by Susan Kimmel Wright
SERIES: Mysteries of Medicine Spring #3
GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Mountain Brook Ink
RELEASE DATE: October 5, 2023
The last thing Mabel needed was a flying saucer, not to mention a rash of similar sightings all over town. Her life’s already been upended by getting fired and moving to Grandma’s old house in Medicine Spring. So far, the deceptively sleepy village has delivered several murders—and romance with a handsome private investigator. Are little green men next?
While Mabel tries to get to the bottom of the apparent space invasion, she also gets herself caught between competing candidates for township supervisor. Small-town politics call for more diplomacy than she has—not to mention the ability to duck, run, and hide.
And unfortunately, her UFO investigation only raises more questions. Long-buried secrets surface, all tied to one night in 1958 and another seeming alien attack. But something more troublesome than any Martian invasion is on its way. A film crew descends, bent on producing a documentary on the historic UFO crash. Hordes of tourists follow, all infected with flying saucer fever. When an all-too-human body turns up at the alleged alien gravesite in a local cemetery, Mabel realizes murder is bound to follow her, whether of this world or not.
Other Books in This Series
The Cozy Life for Me
by Susan Kimmel Wright, author of Mabel and the Little Green Men
I love a dark and stormy night, especially when the car stalls a short slog up the road from a gloomy old mansion. I love British village fetes gone wrong, with the body of the unfortunate vicar soon to be discovered in the shrubberies. My people are small-town bookstore owners, bakers, and busybodies. My favorite genre, gentle reader, is unquestionably the cozy mystery.
A few years ago, I launched a cozy mystery series of my own, the Mysteries of Medicine Spring. Ever since, I’ve had the fun of creating and populating this little village, as well as blessing it with more homicides per capita than Jessica Fletcher’s Cabot Cove, Maine. Most importantly, I’ve kept it cozy all the while. The sadly necessary bodies are kept largely off-screen, and the focus remains on the characters and our quest for answers that will serve justice.
Mysteries have been said to attract the more, ahem, intelligent reader, with the promise of a puzzle to solve. Whodunit? The combination of a mystery with a lovely, cozy snuggle under an afghan, plus a friendly dog or cat and a cup of tea, is hard to beat. Let the rain lash the windows and the thunder roll—as long as the lights don’t go out, we don’t care.
Previously, I’ve stuck pretty closely to the basic conventions of my genre: a small-town setting, interesting characters, a murder to solve, and any graphic violence or gore kept strictly offscreen. Additional conventions, which many, if not most, cozy mystery writers follow, are to have the body make its appearance early in the proceedings, with a second body ready to pop out and liven things up around midbook. In my most recent series installment, Mabel & the Little Green Men, I chose to depart from the last two conventions.
As I began writing this latest book, I suddenly found the characters taking over. The body-to-be refused to get off stage. He wanted to continue tramping around, chewing scenery, and generally making an enormous nuisance of himself, to the point where someone was finally driven to eliminate him. Finally, we have a murder to solve!
Even my gentler characters insisted on telling their stories. They had been holding onto dark secrets for over sixty years, and were bursting to tell someone, but too fearful to follow through. Their refrain, in essence, was, “If this is supposed to be about solving the ‘mysteries of Medicine Spring,’ then why aren’t you trying to coax out what we’ve been hiding all these years?”
I decided they had a point, and ultimately, I think they were right. By book’s end, all of the mysteries, large and small, collide, making for quite a big, rolling reveal.
My greatest satisfaction in writing cozy mysteries is when a reader tells me my books companioned someone through chemotherapy, made them laugh out loud during stressful times in their lives, or that they’ve gone back and reread the books just to re-experience my little fictional world. I can’t imagine a better reward for what I do.
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. Connect with Susan at her website.
Susan Kimmel Wright is offering a signed, print copy of Mabel and the Little Green Men 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 and the Little Green Men by Susan Kimmel Wright?