by Lois Winston
Shortly after the pandemic hit this past spring, writers began asking each other how they were going to handle Covid-19 in their books. Should we incorporate self-quarantining, social distancing, and mask wearing into our stories, especially for those of us who write ongoing series?
I didn’t have to wonder what I’d do. I knew I wouldn’t be addressing Covid-19 in my books.
I live eighteen miles from Ground Zero. I watched in real time as the second plane hit the second tower and later when both towers collapsed. There were children in my town whose parents never came home that day and never would. I have neighbors who lost family members. And nineteen years later, I still have nightmares about that day. I’ve never watched a show or read a book about 9/11 and never will. The events are seared into my brain. I don’t need fictional reminders of the horror we all lived through.
And that’s how I feel about the pandemic.
I’m certain there are suspense and thriller writers who are already hard at work on Covid-themed novels, but I write humorous cozy mysteries. Yes, they include murder and mayhem, but not in a way that keeps readers up at night or gives them nightmares. Even though my plots are often inspired by actual events, my books are an escape from the real world, not a reminder of it.
However, when Covid-19 struck, I was faced with a huge dilemma. I was in the middle of writing the ninth and latest book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series, which is set on a cruise ship. I had always wanted to write a locked-room mystery, and a cruise ship is the perfect setting for such a book, especially if there’s a reason the ship can’t dock at any of its scheduled ports of call.
Yet, at the time, the nightly news was filled with reports of stranded cruise ships filled with people suffering from the virus. I certainly didn’t want to give my readers a reminder of that! Besides, how could my sleuth investigate a murder on a cruise ship if people were getting sick and confined to their cabins? I didn’t even want passengers experiencing Coronavirus. What if some of my readers had weak stomachs? I want to create belly laughs in my readers, not belly distress.
Thanks to a bit of fortuitous research, I found a way to keep the ship from docking without having to cause an outbreak of anything viral or bacterial that would jeopardize the ship’s passengers. I feel confident none of my readers will turn green upon reading the reason why the ship is refused debarkation in The Bahamas. So rest assured, if you have a weak stomach, you can safely read A Sew Deadly Cruise!
If you’re a reader, do you want to read about the pandemic in future books? If you’re a writer, will you be incorporating the pandemic into your stories?
A Sew Deadly Cruise
An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 9
Life is looking up for magazine crafts editor Anastasia Pollack. Newly engaged, she and photojournalist fiancé Zack Barnes are on a winter cruise with her family, compliments of a Christmas gift from her half-brother-in-law. Son Alex’s girlfriend and her father have also joined them. Shortly after boarding the ship, Anastasia is approached by a man with an unusual interest in her engagement ring. When she tells Zack of her encounter, he suggests the man might be a jewel thief scouting for his next mark. But before Anastasia can point the man out to Zack, the would-be thief approaches him, revealing his true motivation. Long-buried secrets now threaten the well-being of everyone Anastasia holds dear. And that’s before the first dead body turns up.
Craft projects included.
Apple iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-sew-deadly-cruise/id1526052822
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 Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week!
You can use this link to purchase this book from Amazon. Be aware if you have ad blocker on you may not see it:
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.