It’s cold out. It’s getting dark earlier, and between the virus and missing so many of our familiar holiday gatherings, I’d say it’s the perfect time for a cozy! My own A Cat on the Case will be out in late January, but until then, why not cozy up to Barbara Ross‘s newest, Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door,? Barbara is a master of the genre, and I’m pleased as punch to have her warming (and heartening) presence here today!
Tell us about your book!
Hi Clea! My latest book is Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door, the second in the Jane Darrowfield Professional Busybody series. In the novel, Jane is approached by her next door neighbor with a challenging assignment. “I want you to figure out if I’m crazy.”
Though initially reluctant, Jane takes the case and is soon is the harrowing world of digital gaslighting—terrorizing victims from a distance by manipulating their home security systems. The book takes place in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a place you know well. It’s available exclusively in print and exclusively from Barnes & Noble for one year. You can order it here.
Are you working on anything now? Is your process or routine different?
My routine has remained the same in that I work at home alone anyway. I can’t go out to do research and all of my appearances are over Zoom, but most full-time writers I know say it’s embarrassing to tell people how little our lives have changed. We’re very lucky.
Do you think your writing will be changed by this crisis?
That is such a good question. For my current series, I think it depends on whether there is a palpable “before” and “after.” My books take place in the “indefinite now.” But some things cannot be ignored. For example if you are writing about New Orleans after Katrina or New York after 9/11. Landmarks and life have been changed forever. If we are still wearing masks two years from now, bumping elbows instead of shaking hands, and avoiding large gatherings, then those behaviors will have to be reflected in my books. If we’ve all gone back to life exactly as it was before, then the books won’t be change unless I’m writing something that specifically takes place during the pandemic. I’m more likely to do that in a short story than a full-length mystery.
On a personal level, crises like these cause us to take stock of who we are and what we want. I have been thinking a lot about what kind of books I want to write next. I do expect those thoughts to have an impact on my career.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do when we’re free to be social again?
My husband has a large family of extended siblings, nieces and nephews, exes and honoraries. We haven’t seen any of them since just before Christmas last year. There have been babies born and engagements announced. We miss them terribly, so a family party of some kind will be the first thing. Dare I hope by the time of my nephew’s college graduation in May?
Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries and the Jane Darrowfield Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. Barbara’s Maine Clambake novellas are included along with stories by Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis in holiday anthologies from Kensington Publishing. Barbara and her husband live in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at www.barbararossauthor.com