by Cynthia Chow
This week we have a review of the latest mystery by Dawn Eastman, along with an interesting interview with Dawn. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Do No Harm, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
Do No Harm: A Dr. Katie Éclair Mystery by Dawn Eastman
Review by Cynthia Chow
After an unsettling start at the Baxter Family Medicine office in Baxter, Michigan, Dr. Katie LeClair is feeling more assured that the small practice is the perfect place for her. While one partner in the practice recovers from a situation that nearly destroyed their office, Katie’s boyfriend Matt Gregor is doing locum tenens shifts and assisting as a temp doctor. His support within the office will be needed when Katie meets new patient Eugene Lowe, recently released from prison and suffering from a series of physical assaults. Although he refuses to admit the abuse or name his attackers, the rest of Baxter isn’t shy about voicing their concerns about the man who spent a decade in prison for the murder of college student Heather Stone. When another young woman goes missing, it’s not long before Eugene is quickly accused of being responsible.
The missing Taylor Knox had voiced her suspicions that Eugene was wrongly imprisoned, and had even begun her own investigations into the initial death. Eugene had been an easy target for suspicion because of earlier accusations of stalking, but soon it becomes evident that even those charges were murky. Feeling responsible for her patient, and also vulnerable to the pleas by Eugene’s mother, Katie begins to use her medical stills to diagnosis the cause of murders that have spanned decades.
This series is darker than her excellent Family Fortune cozy books, but it still full of witty dialogue and humor, highlighted with a mean-girl’s assignment that has Katie donning a pumpkin suit. The loss of both parents and then being raised by various relatives has Katie bonded to her brother Caleb, and occasionally they do each find themselves vying to spend time with Matt. Their friendships work well for now, but it will be fascinating to see how they evolve as their respective romantic relationships strengthen. There is a strong sense of small-town claustrophobia as gossip becomes truth, past reputations are cemented in people’s minds, and everyone seems to have a secret. Although readers are only shown brief glimpses into Katie’s life as a physician, her profession shines through in her ethics, self-sacrifice, and thought-processes. Overcoming the past is a struggle faced by many of these characters, and it is truly fascinating to observe those who fail and those who succeed.
Interview with Dawn Eastman:
KRL: How long have you been writing?
Dawn: I have always loved reading and that quickly became a desire to tell my own stories. I wrote a sensational family newspaper when I was 10. Then I moved on to short stories. However, I’ve been writing for publication for about ten years.
KRL: When did your first novel come out? What was it called, and can you tell us a little about it?
Dawn: Pall in the Family was released in 2013. It introduces Clyde Fortune and her family of psychics. They live in Crystal Haven, which is a tourist town in western Michigan that offers fortune telling, psychic readings and all things New-Age.
KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense? If not, what else have you written?
Dawn: Yes, I love a good mystery and a good puzzle. So far, I have only written mysteries, but I’ve toyed with historical fiction.
KRL What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series and can you tell us a little about it?
Dawn: My most recent book is called Do No Harm. It’s the second book in the Dr. Katie LeClair series. I love the small-town setting and I think it allows readers to get to know the town really well over the course of the series. I trained as a physician and know that family doctors hear all the secrets. Katie is in a good position to uncover any troubles in the small town of Baxter, Michigan.
KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?
Dawn: I write to entertain. I think getting lost in a story is one of the best stress relievers out there. So, it’s also a public service! ? But the themes in all my books center around family, community, acceptance and finding your place in the world so I hope readers get a sense of belonging and that they enjoy “visiting” my fictional small towns.
KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just write whenever you can?
Dawn: I try to keep a schedule, but it is extremely flexible. My best time to work is typically in the afternoon, but if I am under deadline, I can write any time.
KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?
Dawn: I am a huge outliner. I love lists and schedules. I also find that I think best with pen and paper. So, I use a combination of brainstorming on paper and using a program called Scrivener to organize the plotlines and scenes once I have a good handle on the shape of the story.
KRL: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?
Dawn: I’m not a morning person and it takes me awhile to get ready to write, so probably from about 2pm to 6pm and then again from 10 p.m. to 1 or 2 in the morning. My life doesn’t typically fit that schedule.
KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?
Dawn: I queried 20-30 agents before I found my agent and then it took another 3 months or so to find a publisher. The whole process of querying, editing and rewriting, querying again, etc. took about a year.
KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?
Dawn: I work with a great writer’s group – we’ve been together for more than ten years now and they are always my first readers. I had written my “practice novel” and they were very kind in helping me to improve my craft. When they read Pall in the Family, one of them said, “this is the one.” From that moment of validation to finding an agent who believed in the characters and finally finding a publisher who wanted to publish was a surreal experience.
KRL: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?
Dawn: I have only done a few book signings. At the first one, I was amused by a man who asked me to sign his book, but not to personalize it (use his name). He said he could get more for it on eBay if it was just signed.
KRL: Future writing goals?
Dawn: I’m working on the next Family Fortune book right now. I’ve been away from that series while working on the Katie books, so I’m looking forward to visiting Crystal Haven again.
KRL: Writing heroes?
Dawn: So many. JK Rowling, Diana Gabaldon, Deborah Harkness, Elly Griffiths, Tana French, Louise Penny, Ann Cleeves, Margaret Maron, Rhys Bowen.
KRL: What kind of research do you do?
Dawn: Whatever is necessary for the particular book. I did quite a bit of research on psychics, crystal balls, pendulums, etc. for the Family Fortune books. I’ve based both of my small towns on real places, so I visit those places to get a sense of the town and then adjust everything to suit my needs.
KRL: What do you read?
Dawn: I like mystery (see above), historical fiction, and some women’s fiction the most. But I also read some non-fiction, some YA, and fantasy.
KRL: Favorite TV or movies?
Dawn: I watch a lot of British mysteries.
KRL: Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?
Dawn: My advice is to not worry about what will happen to the writing while you are working on it. Just enjoy the process. The hardest part is getting started.
KRL: Anything you would like to add, and what is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Dawn: I have had migraines for more than 20 years, the last few years with chronic migraine.
KRL: Wow well you accomplish a lot despite it.
Website? Twitter? Facebook?
To enter to win a copy of Do No Harm, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “harm,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 23, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on iTunes and Google Play.
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