Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Stitch in Crime


All of a sudden I realized A Stitch in Crime comes out this coming Tuesday. That’s the problem with living in the moment, the future shows up and surprises you.

I can’t believe my fourth book is about to be released. Each of them have been special in their own ways.

I really enjoyed doing the research for A Stitch in Crime. The crochet part is always great. I love the challenge of coming up with a pattern and trying it out. I can justify my time spent in yarn departments and crocheting as work.

In this book Molly Pink and the Tarzana Hookers head up to the Monterey Peninsula for a creative retreat. So travel became part of the research. Although I had been to the Asilomar Conference Center where the fictional retreat takes place, it didn’t take much to convince me I really out to go there again.

Asilomar is rustic and moody and a great place to set a murder. Terri can vouch for that. My biggest problem was not to slow the story down with too much description. But there is just so much about the place to describe. The way the air smells of wood smoke, pine and ocean. The fact it was built as a YWCA camp and some of the weathered wood sided buildings are from the early 1900s.

The funny part is that though the area is right up there on my list of favorite places, it didn’t start out that way. The first time I went to Asilomar was for a California Writers Club conference. I made the mistake of letting them set me up with a roommate. The room we were to share was small, and the interior all dark wood. My roommate started talking the minute she walked in and didn’t stop. She took over the room, insisting on the curtain being closed, along with the windows. With all that dark wood and everything closed up, I felt like I was stuck inside a box.

I didn’t sleep and she awoke at 5:30 and started talking again. Incessant chatter, mostly about herself and how her husband decided not to come. Hmm, I wonder why. The final blow came when she followed me into the bathroom. The teeny tiny bathroom that just had a toilet and shower (the sink was in the room). I was going to use the shower. You can figure out what she was planning to do. I opted out of the shower.

Bleary eyed from not sleeping and worn down from her babbling, all I could think about was leaving. I didn’t notice how silky white the sand was or how wonderful the air felt. I didn’t enjoy the friendly meals in the dining hall or any of the workshops. By noon I was headed back to L.A., muttering under my breath how much I didn’t like the place and I was never coming back there again.

Flash forward a couple of years to a family trip up Highway 1. We stopped in Pacific Grove and ended up staying at an Inn across the street from Asilomar. Without the roommate from hell and with some sleep, everything looked different and I fell in love with the area.

The cool part was that all the time I was writing the book, I was smelling that pungent air and feeling the ocean breeze in my head.

15 comments:

Jill Edmondson said...

Wow! Congrats and good for you! I have my fingers crossed that it will fly off the shelves!

I also hope that someday I know how good it feels to have my fourth book hit the shelves!

Jill

Kay said...

Betty, I have been meaning to start your series for quite a while. I have the first book here at home. This new one sounds fun and I always like it when authors take their character away to a retreat or a hotel or a vacation. It seems to add a special something when they are out of their usual haunts. Anyway, thanks for writing. I love mysteries and I love new-to-me series.

Oh, and your story of your roommate from Hades was hilarious.

Betty Hechtman said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Jill. I'm sure you'll get there,too.

Kay, the one benefit of having my terrible roommate was that it made a good story.

Camille Minichino said...

Yes, let's remember to turn every little hassle into a good story!

Congratulations, Betty! It seems you just started and here you are with #4!

Looking forward to seeing you at LCC.

Mason Canyon said...

Congratulations. Love the cover. It looks so inviting, like you could sit down and relax not aware something is going to happen. :)
Can't wait to see what the pattern is.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Betty, that's a great story. I once had a roomie who draped every available inch of furniture with her sweaty exercise clothes. Ugh! And I hate hearing the TV or radio first thing when I wake up. I love coming around quietly.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Congratulations on A Stitch in Crime, Betty. Your description of the Asilomar Conference Center makes me want to go there--and to read A Stitch in Crime, of course! But I'll skip the roommate.

Deborah K. Davis said...

Betty,
Congratulations on the 4th book. I can't wait till Tuesday...I will be at the BAM store first thing in the AM. Here's to the 4th installment with many more to come :)

Debby

signlady217 said...

I am not a morning person, and I do try to be tolerant and considerate (which doesn't always work), but that woman takes the cake! Following you into the bathroom? What was she thinking? I would have become very, very rude at that point.

And I have to confess, your books are still on my TBR list. But I am very much looking forward to reading them!

Betty Hechtman said...

Camille, that's exactly the way I feel. It seems like yesterday I was waiting for my first book to come out.

Mason, I love the cover too. The Berkley art department does a great job. They really captured Asilomar Beach. I hope you like the pattern in the book. I think it's kind of a fun one.

Joanna, you're roommate sounds like my roommates sister. There was no issue with a TV, since the rooms at Asilomar have no TV or telephone.

Linda, I hope you get a chance go to Asilomar. I bet Lexie and Mystie would love the beach.

Deborah, wow, I hope BAM gives you a cup of coffee for your trouble.

Signlady, I was in too much shock that she followed me in the bathroom to say anything.

Jenn McKinlay said...

You all have been nominated
for an award at:

http://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com/

Terri Thayer said...

I agree. Such a great place to set a book. I love going there any chance I can, even if its just for the day to walk around.

Congrats, Betty. Four books is quite a feat!

Camille Minichino said...

As you can probably guess, I HATE Asilomar! :=))

Too much nature; no phones, no reception for cells; no tv ... but that was years ago, maybe it's different now.

Glad those who like it get to go there, however!

Betty Hechtman said...

Terri, I knew you would understand about Asilomar.

Camille, there is cell reception, but if you want any luxury, it's not your place. Actually, when we go up there, we stay at the Rosedale Inn across the street. The rooms have TV, whirlpool tubs, fireplaces and kitchenettes. Asilomar is great if you're there for a retreat or conference.

Betty Hechtman said...

There was a comment from Anonymous that disappeared. Anonymous was cocerned about waiting until May for something. If it was my book, Anonymous, you only have to wait until Tuesday.