Author Guest Post
Inspiration from Movies
As any author would tell you, inspiration for stories comes from all sorts of places. Mine began one evening while watching the Cary Grant movie, Arsenic and Old Lace. The Brewster sisters are a bit quirky and dark. Mortimer (Cary Grant) stumbles upon their awful secret, literally, hidden in the window seat. I won’t spoil the story, but the movie did indeed inspire me. And yes, I am a devoted fan of classic movies. I mean, give me Cary Grant any day and I’m in heaven! So, the seed was planted and the result is Boarding with Murder, the first in my Sierra Pines B&B cozy mystery series.
First of all, a huge part of Boarding with Murder focuses on some aspect of show business. For instance, Ali Winston, the main character, belongs to a family of actors, screen writers, makeup artists, costume designers, cameramen…the list goes on. Her great aunt Julia, along with close friends, the Bellwether siblings, were part of Hollywood’s golden age in another life and before working at the B&B. Every now and then, Gladys Bellwether enjoys mentioning a classic movie to quote lines or describe scenes that fit the moment, or sharing a memory she, Julia, and Ollie had during their time in the industry. And how about the storyline? An important part centers around the movie production being filmed on location in Sierra Pines where Ali helps with prop designs—one of her many talents—while also snooping for clues about the murder.
Interesting sidebar about prop design—women in the film industry fought hard to find roles typically held by men. Prop designer was one of them, though, oddly enough, women first gained a foothold working as what were then called “property women” in the nineteenth century. Who knew it would take until nearly the mid twentieth century for them to be respected in that role as well as others? Giving Aunt Julia, Ali, and Nina, the head designer on the movie set, jobs as prop designers was my way of paying tribute to the underrepresented females in the business.
Of course, I couldn’t stop with my enthusiasm. I had to add more. I layered in details and images, especially in describing the B&B. Reminders of the Hollywood golden era, those great movies with classic stars such as Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, are everywhere you look—candid photos taken on movie sets are framed and hung on walls, in Julia’s collection room mementos belonging to her are displayed—props like a sword from one of Errol Flynn’s swashbuckler movies, awards such as Julia’s for her prop designs, gifts from Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock and letters from William Holden and Betty Davis. No detail was too small to add. I must say, researching to learn new trivia about an era I love was my favorite part of writing!
Besides the mystery, I think in some small part what you’ll get is a taste of the actor’s world, the glamorous sentiment of the golden era of movies. Whether factual or fictional, I don’t believe that matters. And maybe—which I truly hope—it will spark your interest enough to watch one of those old flics like Arsenic and Old Lace or Notorious or The Philadelphia Story because there really is no business, like show business when it comes to the classics. That and a great mystery!
About Boarding With Murder
Boarding with Murder (A Sierra Pines B&B Mystery)
1st in Series
Publisher: Camel Press (March 9, 2021)
Paperback: 220 pages
Digital ASIN : B08SHLHD2D
Take one quaint B&B, two kind but quirky caretakers, a dead aunt, a murdered friend, and you have mystery. Ali Winston finds she’s inherited trouble along with her aunt’s B&B, but can she reveal the killer before the curtain closes?
About Kathryn Long
Retired teacher, Kathryn Long now spends her days plotting and writing mysteries. Her most recent credits are romantic suspense novel, A DEADLY DEED GROWS and mystery, BURIED IN SIN. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime as well as of International Thriller Writers. Under the pen name, Bailee Abbott this author writes the Paint by Murder cozy series, starting with A BRUSH WITH MURDER soon to be released. Kathryn lives with her husband and furry friend Max in the quiet suburbs of Green, Ohio.
Author website: https://www.kathrynlongauthor.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KathrynLong.Books
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