Kaitlyn Dunnett here, on release day for A Fatal Fiction, the third entry in the Deadly Edits Mysteries. When this one opens, Mikki Lincoln’s freelance editing business is doing quite well. One of her current clients is eighty-six-year-old Sunny Feldman, a prominent Lenape Hollow resident who is writing a memoir about the days when Sullivan County, New York was known as the Borscht Belt and her family owned one of the most successful of the Catskill resorts.
As always in writing this series, I incorporate some of my own memories. I grew up in the Borscht Belt during the 1950s and 1960s. Lenape Hollow is fictional, but it shares many characteristics of my home town of Liberty, New York. Liberty was semi-famous as the home of Grossinger’s. Lenape Hollow has Feldman’s Catskill Resort Hotel. The remaining buildings at The G were torn down in 2018. In A Fatal Fiction, Feldman’s is scheduled for the wrecking ball. Of course, since I write murder mysteries, things don’t go smoothly. When a body is found on the premises, demolition grinds to a halt and Mikki, who quarreled quite publicly with the victim only the day before his death, shoots to the top of local law enforcement’s list of suspects.
My recollections of living in a town where the population more than doubled every summer make it easy to create a background for Mikki Lincoln, but in this book I was also able to make use of another personal experience. When my grandfather died at the age of ninety-five, I inherited his papers and diaries, including the reminiscences he titled “The Life of a Plodder”—his autobiography. At that time, I was the unpublished author of several historical novels. For the family, I tackled the job of pulling Grampa’s story together and in 1980 I distributed the result to numerous cousins. The experience was educational. The biggest lesson I learned was that you can’t entirely trust memory. Grampa’s version of some events differed considerably from what was reported in newspaper articles written at the time. On the other hand, there was a gold mine of information in his diaries. Notes on crops he planted took up a lot of space, but he also recorded bits and pieces of his neighbors’ lives—the kind of detail that is so often lost to history.
Anyway, long story short, I’ve had some experience working with a memoir. In fact, over the last forty years, “The Life of a Plodder” has been through several revisions. It was available for the general public to read at my webpage for some time and I recently updated and published it as an e-book. You can find links to buy at https://books2read.com/u/mlwvAP. Like Sunny Feldman’s memoir, it’s rich in local history. Although it may be of limited interest to most people, those whose grandparents or great-grandparents are mentioned in it may someday want to read what my grandfather wrote.
For those interested in discovering what Sunny’s memoir has to do with murder, click here for links to retailers.
For a chance to win a hardcover copy of A Fatal Fiction, just leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing to take place July 7. I hate to do it, but I have to make this entries from U.S. mailing addresses only. Good Luck!
With the June 30, 2020 publication of A Fatal Fiction, Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett will have had sixty-two books traditionally published. She won the Agatha Award and was an Anthony and Macavity finalist for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category. She was the Malice Domestic Guest of Honor in 2014. Currently she writes the contemporary Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries and the “Deadly Edits” series as Kaitlyn. As Kathy, her most recent book is a collection of short stories, Different Times, Different Crimes, but there is a new, standalone historical mystery, The Finder of Lost Things, in the pipeline for October. She maintains websites at www.KaitlynDunnett.com and www.KathyLynnEmerson.com. A third, at A Who’s Who of Tudor Women, contains over 2000 mini-biographies of sixteenth-century Englishwomen.