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Monday, February 13, 2023


A Lobster Rope Wreath (example of a typical Gasper's Cove craft
 (image courtesy of www.madeinthemaritimes.com)
Barbara Emodi writes sewing and craft-related cozy mysteries based in Nova Scotia, Canada where she lives. She also travels frequently and writes in Austin, Texas and Berkeley, California in the winters. For many years Barbara led a double life. Publicly she was a journalist, radio commentator, government strategist, and public relations professor. In her private life she wrote, sewed, and published two books about garment construction. Often when Barbara sewed, she thought of the people she’d met and the stories she could tell; of the things she knew, and the things she suspected. Crafting for Murder is the first book in her Gasper’s Cover Mystery Series. Learn more about Barbara and her books at her website. 

Barbara’s Story Behind the Story

I have taught sewing classes for many years, and it has always struck me how interesting crafters and sewists are as people. Those who make things are resourceful, independent, and curious—exactly the kind of folks who would try to solve a crime. So, I felt I had the perfect cast of characters in my head to write cozy mysteries.


I write about small communities in Nova Scotia which are, by definition, stranger than fiction, anyway, so are they’re the perfect setting for my writing. Interestingly, some of the people and events my editors thought were the most implausible were based on reality. One even wrote to say that maybe I had too many relatives in my stories. I read her email on the way out the door to the wedding of my niece to my son-in-law’s nephew. I had no idea what she was talking about.

As is clear, Valerie and I have a lot in common. We are both empty-nest mothers of three children and we both teach sewing classes. As a result, the scenes where Valerie gets fed up and retreats to her sewing room to regroup and recharge were particularly easy for me to write. However, the central theme of her personal story, of someone who is resilient and determined to make a life for herself in her second act, is inspired by women I have known in the sewing and crafting communities. In the end she does manage to recreate herself just like so many women do. I’m proud of her.

The real Gasper's Cover

These days sewing is a parallel activity to my writing; I often plot while I sew and have my laptop set up behind my machine. My sewing never stops and my extended family, aged three months to ninety-five, keep me busy. I love sewing for them as much as sewing for myself.


I have already written the next in the series and have outlined two more. You’re not going to believe what happens next. I almost don’t myself. The Gasper’s Crafters have a lot going on. Was that a treasure from WW II that washed up on the shore? Who double-booked a wedding at the same venue as a crafter’s retreat? Did the signs the crafters made for a municipal election get one of the candidates killed?


My plan is to write two longer novels a year and to release some shorter novellas in between, each written from the point of view of one of the secondary characters. I thought this would help readers get to know the whole community better. 

Crafting for Murder 

A Gasper’s Cover Mystery, Book 1


Seamstress, crafter, and empty-nester Valerie Rankin has plans to open a crafter’s co-op that will put Gasper’s Cove, Nova Scotia on the tourist guide map. But one month before the opening day photo shoot, she still has to pin down a venue, patch up the family business, iron out corruption in town council, and unravel why anyone who tries to help her ends up dead. It’s a lot, even for a woman who’s used to making something out of nothing. But with the help of her Golden Retriever, an ex-con who loves cats, and a community of first, second, and third cousins, she just might pull it off.


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