Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Abby. I guess I should introduce myself to your readers. I’m Dianne Ascroft and I write historical and contemporary fiction. After writing historical fiction set during the Second World War for several years now, last summer I began writing my first cozy mystery, A Timeless Celebration.
Let me tell you a bit about the novel: When an artefact from the Titanic is stolen before her town’s 150th anniversary celebration, it’s up to Lois Stone to catch the thief. Middle-aged widow Lois has moved from bustling Toronto to tranquil Fenwater and is settling into her new life, feeling secure away from the dangers of the city. Then two events happen that shatter her serenity: her house is burgled and an antique watch belonging to a Titanic survivor is stolen from the local museum. Her best friend, Marge was responsible for the watch’s safekeeping until its official presentation to the museum at the town’s 150th anniversary party and its disappearance will jeopardise her job. Lois won’t let her friend’s reputation be tarnished or her job endangered by an accusation of theft. She’s determined to find the watch in time to save her best friend’s job and the town’s 150th anniversary celebration.
And so begins a week of new friends, apple and cinnamon muffins, calico cats, midnight intruders, shadowy caprine companions and more than one person with a reason to steal the watch, set against the backdrop of century houses on leafy residential streets, the swirling melodies of bagpipes, a shimmering heat haze and the burble of cool water. A Timeless Celebration is the story of Lois’s unwitting entry into the world of amateur sleuthing in a small town, which beckons readers to stop and stay a while.
As I mentioned, I started writing the novel last summer after a memory of home got the ball rolling. I’ve lived in Great Britain for almost three decades but I still have a strong connection to my birthplace, Canada. One really vivid image I have from home is of a quaint, small town with a sprightly river running through it where I’ve spent many happy hours. For several years, my mother was a resident of a nursing home in the town and each summer I flew over to spend a week with her. I pushed her wheelchair along the peaceful banks of the river in the nursing home grounds and we ate lunch at a nearby diner where the waitress always remembered my mother’s order. After I left my mother each day, I wandered along the main street, stopping at the squat, stone Carnegie Library to use the computer and leisurely browsing in the bookshop and numerous craft shops. I also wandered into the old fashioned clothing stores and the market housed in a barnlike building. In the evenings, as the air cooled and the sun sank lower in the sky, I strolled along streets shaded by mature oak and maple trees admiring the traditional stone architecture of the houses.
Everywhere I went people were friendly. They had time to chat and I discovered a sense of community that I hadn’t known in the huge city where I grew up. Whenever I think of the town, it always makes me smile, and one day last summer as I remembered times I had spent there, I realised it was the perfect place to set my new series. I loved the town and I was sure readers would find it a delightful place to be. So that was how the Century Cottage Cozy Mystery series began.
So now I’ve finished writing A Timeless Celebration and need to get it edited before it can go to print. But I need to raise the money to hire the editor as I am publishing the book myself. So I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to do this. Every pledge to pre-order a copy of the book (and other rewards) will take me a step closer to making the book happen. Please visit my Kickstarter page for more information.
Here’s the link