Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Come Sit a Spell

by special guest Nancy Haddock.

Hello, and thank you for having me! It’s a pleasure to be with you!

I’m Nancy Haddock writing the new Silver Six Crafting Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series, Basket Case, comes out on September 1. Today I want to share the first time I “saw” the Silver Six, the senior characters in the book.

I met them on a lazy late afternoon. Five of the six characters sat on the deep, wide front porch of Sherry Mae Stanton Cutler’s two-story farmhouse. Two sat in wicker rockers, two on the porch swing, and one sat in a handcrafted bent willow chair. Fix-It Fred Fishner, wearing his overalls with the extra pockets, tools filling every pocket, oiled the hinges on the screen door.

I felt the stir of breeze as Fred swung the screen door back and forth. I heard the creak of the porch floorboards and the chairs joints as the Silver Six rocked, swung, shifted their weight. And, oh the aromas! The fragrances of early spring were so strong, I could taste the awakening earth and in the scents of jonquils blooming.

I wrote the first scene of Basket Case as if writing a screenplay—light on stage direction, heavy on dialogue with some sound effects thrown in as needed. As I wrote that scene, the Silver Six became more alive, enough so that they came to me in “capsules”:

Sherry Mae Stanton Cutler, aka "Sweet Steel".
Sherry is the next to last direct descendant of the founders of Lilyvale. Former teacher, and Lilyvale mayor, she is a basket weaver, and hosts a folk art festival on her farmhouse grounds twice a year.

Fred Fishner, aka "Fix-It Fred, Best Mechanic Anywhere; I Fix Anything". 
Fred wears overalls with extra pockets, and uses a walker that is strung with a tool belt. Both his overall pockets and the tool best pockets are stuffed with tools. He clank-clunks when he walks with the walker.

Aster Parsons, aka "The Earth Mother". 
She’s a hippie herbalist with special affection for lavender who creates herbal lotions, potions, and salves and sells them at the folk art festival.

Dwight Aloysius Baxter aka "Dapper Dab". 
Dab is tall and thin, a quiet, southern gentleman manners. Former chemical engineer who distills Aster’s herbs with two real stills.

Eleanor Wainwright, aka "Elegant Eleanor".
Black, tall, wears tailored clothing. A former mechanical engineer who wants to redesign Dab’s stills, Eleanor is a whittler/carver who sells her work at the folk art festival.

Maise Holcomb, aka "Drill Sarge".
Aster’s sister who was a Navy nurse during Vietnam and still uses Navy words and phrases. She’s the main cook for the Silver Six, and runs a tight ship.

As I sat there with the Silver Six, a boom from the basement shook the house and they sprang into damage control action. That’s when I left to porch to meet the final main character, twenty-something Leslee “Nixy” Nix, an art gallery employee in Houston.

I popped in on Nixy while she stood in the back room of the gallery, her cell phone on speaker. A police detective was informing her about the explosions and fires at her Aunt Sherry Mae’s Lilyvale, Arkansas home. When he insisted that she check on the situation pronto, how could she say no?

Getting to know characters is like getting to know people. The more you’re with them, the more you learn and understand about them. This is one of the joys of writing. Getting to know your characters as friends. Coming to love them. Hoping readers will come to love them, too.

Who are your favorite characters from books, TV, or films?

I hope you’ll enjoy reading about the Silver Six when Basket Case comes to a retailer near you!

Nancy Haddock is an award-winning and national bestselling author of mystery romance who now writes cozy mystery. Basket Case, the first book in the Silver Six Crafting Mysteries, will be released
in September 2015 with Berkley Prime Crime. 
Her earlier books, also with Berkley, are La Vida Vampire, Last Vampire Standing, and Always The Vampire, feature Cesca (aka Gidget with fangs), and are set in Haddock’s current hometown, St. Augustine, FL. Nancy draws on historic wealth, southern culture, and the plain old quirkiness of places for her books. She lives with her husband and rescue dog Baron. 


  1. I'm late in commenting, but want to thank you again for your warm welcome, Marlyn! You are delightful in every way and it's a treat to know you!

    Happy September, and happy reading always!


    1. Thank you so much, Nancy! I'm really looking forward to upcoming books in the series.

  2. Sounds like a fun book. And I love it when characters spring to life.

  3. Sounds like a fun book. And I love it when characters spring to life.