I welcome Kathy Aarons to my travels today, taking in the charming state of Maryland, where her brand new series is set. Thanks for posting today, Kathy!
Death is Like a Box of Chocolates is set in a fictional town of West Riverdale, Maryland. I liked the idea of envisioning an entire small town that would best fit my story. It would be quaint in the best possible way, with tree-lined streets, stores with cutesy names, concerned (and nosy) neighbors, and of course, murder.
My first idea for West Riverdale’s Main Street, where the shop Chocolates and Chapters is set, was similar to those in western Pennsylvania small towns where I grew up. It took a trip to Maryland to realize that Main Streets in towns that had their origins in colonial times looked different – with more narrow streets and sidewalks, buildings that weren’t perfect and sometimes leaned on each other, and gorgeous old churches that anchored the town.
I toured the seaside towns on eastern Maryland with beautiful views of the water and boats, but once I saw the towns in western Maryland, I knew that’s where West Riverdale had to be. Close enough to Antietam to have a historical flair, but far enough away that the town had to hold special events to lure tourists their way.
I was lucky enough to have two Maryland sources – my sister and my fellow RWA-San Diego member, Kristen Koster. Both answered all of my questions, even the weird and the vague. (Does anything important happen in Maryland during May? Yes! The Preakness!)
For me, visits were helpful, but real Marylanders were the best!
Kathy Aarons is the author of Death is Like a Box of Chocolates, the first in the CHOCOLATE COVERED MYSTERY series by Berkley Prime Crime. It is available at your local bookstore, Amazon and Barnes and Noble on September 2nd.
Research for the series was such a hardship: sampling chocolate, making chocolate, sampling more chocolate, and hanging out in bookstores.
After growing up in rural Pennsylvania and attending Carnegie Mellon University, Kathy built a career in public relations in New York City. She now lives in San Diego with her husband and two daughters where she wakes up far too early, and is currently obsessed with the Broadway Idiot documentary, finding the perfect cup of coffee, and Dallmann’s Sea Salt Caramels.
You can follow Kathy on Facebook or Twitter or visit her at: www.kathyaarons.com