featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Foster Park
Sheila Webster Boneham writes fiction and non-fiction, much of it focused on animals, nature, and travel. Drop Dead on Recall won the 2013 Maxwell Award for Best Fiction Book from the Dog Writers Association of American and was named a Top Ten Dog Book of 2012 by NBC Petside. Sheila’s non-fiction books have been named best in their categories in the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and the Cat Writers Association (CWA) annual competitions, and her book Rescue Matters! How to Find, Foster, and Rehome Companion Animals has been called a "must read" for anyone involved with animal rescue. Learn more about Sheila and her books at her blog and website.  
Fort Wayne and Northern Indiana

Setting is an essential part of many works of fiction. Some settings are important enough to be regarded as "characters" of a sort – Tony Hillerman’s Four Corners area, John Connolly’s Maine, J.A. Jance’s Arizona and Seattle, Carl Hiassen’s Florida –I could go on for pages!

In my own Animals in Focus mystery series, animal photographer Janet MacPhail, her Australian Shepherd Jay, and her orange tabby Leo, spend their time in and around Fort Wayne and other parts of northern Indiana. I chose the area partly because I grew up there and know it well, and partly because it is a beautiful part of the country that often gets short shrift from outsiders who think all of Indiana is the fairly flat stretch of farmland from just west of Toledo to just east of Chicago.

Maumee River
To dispel the "nothing but corn, beans, and steel mills" stereotype, I send Janet to the lakes, rivers, forests, and ravines of the state as well as the cities, small towns, and occasional quirky attractions. (Seriously, have you ever been to a pickle festival? There’s one every summer just up the road in the little town of St. Joe.) Lake Michigan is a couple of hours to the northwest of Fort Wayne, and smaller lakes are scattered all across the northern part of the state. It is true that much of Indiana is flat to rolling farmland, but there are also deep ravines to hike and slow, brown rivers to row.

Janet and her friends also get around her hometown a lot, and for a medium size city, Fort Wayne has a lot to offer. One of Janet’s (and my!) favorite places is the River Greenway, a terrific walking and biking trail that runs for twenty-five miles through the heart of the city and beyond, following the St. Josesph’s, St. Mary’s, and Maumee Rivers. The Three Rivers Festival and Johnny Appleseed Festival are just two of the many annual events that liven up life in Fort Wayne when there’s no murder to solve, and when she needs a break, Janet heads for one of the city parks or a local small business like The Firefly Coffee House and The Cookie Cottage (real places and worth a visit!)

Janet would love to show you around next time you’re in northern Indiana!

Animal photographer Janet MacPhail is training for her cat Leo’s first feline agility trial when she gets a frantic call about a “cat-napping.” When Janet and her Australian Shepherd Jay set out to track down the missing kitty, they quickly find themselves drawn into the volatile politics of feral cat colonies, endangered wetlands, and a belligerent big-shot land developer. Janet is crazy busy trying to keep up with her mom’s nursing-home romance, her own relationship with Tom and his Labrador Retriever Drake, and upcoming agility trials with Jay and Leo. But when a body is discovered on the canine competition course, it stops the participants dead in their tracks—and sets Janet on the trail of a killer.

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Sheila Boneham said...

Thanks for having me today, Lois. Always nice to visit with you and Anastasia!

Anonymous said...

Indiana looks amazing. I haven't seen much of the US but this is obviously the place to go.

Nina Milton

Sally Carpenter said...

Hi Sheila, I lived in Ft. Wayne for five years back in the late '80s-early '90s. I'm sure it's all different now. I remember the Dusenberg Festival in next door Auburn. No. Ind. is also Amish county and on the back roads I occasionally saw a horse-and-buggy. But the winters can be brutal!