Thursday, April 29, 2010

Put Your Hands Together For...

by Jennie Bentley.

I've got a treat for y'all today. Please join me in making welcome my fellow Good Girl and Berkley Babe Elizabeth Lynn Casey, who's here to talk to us about her Southern Sewing Circle mysteries - the second of which will be in a store near you this coming Tuesday; it's called DEATH THREADS - and the inspiration of vivid characters.

That's me on the left, with the pink shirt, and she on the right with the romance novel. She writes those too. We were sharing a table and some wonderful times at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest last weekend, when this was taken. 

Here she is:

From the moment I first met Jenny MacPartland, I liked her. She was hard working, a devoted mom, and, well, she just seemed like a nice person. I guess that’s why I felt so awful when she lost her baby and her husband pointed to her as a suspect in the death.

But here’s the thing, Jenny MacPartland isn’t real. Not in the living, breathing sense, anyway. Instead, she was a figment of Mary Higgins Clark’s imagination in the book, A Cry in the Night.

It just so happens, that this same book became one of my all-time favorites…and the catalyst for my decision to become a mystery writer as opposed to the children’s writer I’d always assumed I’d be. I also believe it’s one of the reasons I work so hard to create characters that feel as real as Jenny MacPartland did to me.

I guess that’s why I get excited every time I open my laptop and start working on the latest installment of my Southern Sewing Circle Mystery Series. Because, in many ways, it’s like spending the day with old friends—people who have become real to me over the past year.

And just like real people, they all have a mind of their own. Take for instance, Leona Elkin. She showed up in my debut title, SEW DEADLY, as the woman who would take Tori Sinclair (my main character—a young Yankee librarian who has transferred to the small southern town of Sweet Briar, South Carolina) under her wing. I knew from the moment Leona hit the page, that this sixty-something woman was going to be fun with a capital F.

She’s the one who shows up at circle meetings with a travel magazine because she thinks sewing is a waste of time.

She’s the one who has taken it upon herself to teach Tori the ways of the south—the ways of the south according to Leona Elkin, that is.

She’s the one who never married, yet has a way of landing any man she wants regardless of age (particularly if they’re in uniform).

She’s the one who leaves a wide berth around anyone under the age of ten out of fear she might be asked to blow a nose or wipe a mouth.

She’s the one who’s more than a little prickly, stirring up trouble with her fellow sewing circle members whenever possible.

And she’s also the one who—in the middle of DEATH THREADS--kidnaps a garden variety bunny from a fellow Sweet Briar resident and falls in love, naming him Paris after a particularly memorable (read: man involved) overseas excursion a few years ago.

Wait. What was that last one?

That’s right. Leona has taken on a life of her own, leaving me, as the writer, wondering what she’s up to from one book to the next…

And she’s not even the main character.

Just don’t tell her that.



Elizabeth Lynn Casey is the best selling author of the Southern Sewing Circle Mystery Series with Berkley Prime Crime. SEW DEADLY debuted in August. DEATH THREADS—the second book in the series—debuts next week. For more information, visit her website:


Dru said...

Thanks Jennie for having Elizabeth.

Hi Elizabeth, oooh, now I definitely can't wait to get my hands on "Death Threads."

Elizabeth said...

I can't wait for you to get your hands on it, either, Dru.


Leona is a HOOT in this one!

Lynn said...

Gotta love a girl who knows who she is, even if she is fictional. (grin...)

Good luck with the book, I know it will be great.

Jennie Bentley said...

Thanks for visiting, darling!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks, Lynn & Jennie!

I'm excited for this book...and a large part of that is Leona. :)

Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews said...

Jennie, thank you so much for featuring my sweet friend Elizabeth! Her books are a lot of fun! (I enjoy your books as well!)

Love to you both!

Jennie Bentley said...

Thanks, Sharon!

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to kicking back with the ladies of Sweet Briar once again!

When the characters run off and leave the writer behind to race after them--that's when you KNOW readers will be turning pages like mad, savoring every moment of the chase.

Laura Marcella said...

Those books look great! Adding them to my to-read list. :)

Elizabeth said...

Thanks, everyone!!! I hope you enjoy them! I'm at Malice now, salivating over my favorite authors.