|Harte's Alpine Cabin|
Brenda Whiteside and her husband are gypsies at heart having lived in six states and two countries. Currently, they split their time between the pines of Northern Arizona and the RV life. At home or in the RV, she spends most of her time writing stories of discovery and love entangled with suspense. Learn more about Brenda and her books at her website.
Story telling is rewarding…and once in a while frustrating.
There are times, as any writer of fiction will tell you, when a character takes over the keyboard and types her own story. It happens to me in every novel, and because I find it fun, it’s also rewarding.
Beginning writers are often told to write what you know. Even now, after seven years of honing my craft, I still employ that advice in one way or another. When characters reveal to me who they are or what their stories are, they seem to tap into “write what she knows.” With one book, this caused me a bit of frustration.
Many years ago, as a newlywed married to a man in the army, we were stationed in Germany. Our travels took us to Austria, and I fell in love with the country. The people are friendly, mellow, and easy to smile. The food is fantastic. The beer and wine are as rich and mellow as the people. The countryside is lush green and spotted with castles. The craggy Alps are spectacular.
Nearly thirty years ago, a young man we called Harte, short for Hartmut, spent a week in our home when his Austrian youth hockey team came to Arizona to play in the annual Easter tournament. Yes, hockey in Arizona! We became fast friends. Years later, as an adult, he returned to Arizona to work for a couple of years. A few years after that, my husband and I traveled to Austria and stayed with his family.
In The Art of Love and Murder, Book One of my Love and Murder Series, Lacy’s past is revealed as she researches who her biological parents were. As it turns out, her father was Austrian. Hmmm, is it coincidence that I have a good Austrian friend who lives in the city where Lacy’s father was from? Is it coincidence that while in Europe, Austria was one of my favorite countries? I even borrowed my friend’s name, Hartmut, for Lacy’s father’s name.
So, in Book Three, A Legacy of Love and Murder, a trip to Austria was in order to learn more about Lacy’s Austrian biological father. With the help of Lacy’s daughter, August, we immerse ourselves in ancient castles, family secrets, the local cuisine, neo-Nazi plots, murder, and romance. What I didn’t realize, as a new series novelist, it was unorthodox of me to write the first two books in Arizona, third in Austria, and then back to Arizona for the last two.
The other mistake I made was to get really excited about the first cover. It was dramatic from my point of view with a Swastika on the wall behind my hero and heroine. Not a spoiler – my hero is an Austrian inspector who fights the spread of neo-Nazism in his off hours. Unfortunately, I learned there are readers who would not pick up my book because of that symbol on the cover. I had no idea! Luckily, my publisher was understanding and gave me a new cover. Whew…problem solved and my angst calmed. I hate to think a cover would keep someone from enjoying what I believe to be an entertaining story.
Hopefully, I not only entertain with my story but introduce you to the country I love.
A Legacy of Love and Murder
In Austria to meet her great-grandfather and explore his castle estate filled with priceless art, August Myer arrives to find he’s died suspiciously. As one of the heirs, her life is in danger, turning this fairytale Alpine adventure into a nightmare of veiled threats, unexplained accidents, and murder.
Inspector Tobias Wolf splits his time between his profession and fighting the spread of neo-Nazism. But when the beautiful, intriguing American crosses his path during a murder investigation, ensuring her safety challenges his priorities…and his heart.
When August learns the handsome inspector is concealing a personal involvement, and the death of her great-grandfather is somehow connected, she takes the investigation into her own hands. The outcome could be the death of both of them.