by Cathi Stoler
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Last Call by Cathi Stoler, and a link to purchase it.
Creating the kind of atmosphere that lets readers become totally immersed in a story—the setting—is very important in my writing. For me, setting is the one element that brings the characters, voice, and plot together to create a real sense of place. That’s what I strove for in Last Call: A Murder On The Rocks Mystery.
My husband was in the restaurant business for many years, and I came to know it very well. To me, a restaurant seemed like the perfect place for a crime to take place. So, I created The Corner Lounge on East Tenth Street and Avenue B in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. With so many people in and out all the time, anyone could be a criminal. In this case, a serial murderer.
My protagonist, Jude Dillane, is the owner of The Lounge. It’s her world—where she lives and works and finds a dead body with a knife through the heart in the dumpster out back on New Year’s Day.
Jude loves her neighborhood, and the thought of a killer who might live there as well, is horrifying to her. Is this person hiding in plain sight? Is it someone she knows? She’s determined to find out. Jude begins to investigate and her inquiries take her all over the LES’s green spaces, historic buildings, and river-front promenades; settings which are all featured in the story.
I spent many afternoons walking around the neighborhood, soaking up the vibe of the people, the thrift shops, and vintage clothing stores, and the great restaurants that line its streets. Seeing it as Jude would see it. And, experiencing its under-the-surface edginess that still makes it so compelling years and years after a huge transformation.
For me, viewing the elements of a novel through a setting like the LES makes the story so much richer and more interesting. It puts the reader right in the moment, helping them experience the story, and visualize the action so they can feel exactly what the characters feel, hear what they hear, and maybe, even figure out who done it.
Jude belongs there. Like the neighborhood itself, she’d faced adversity and undergone a transformation of her own. It’s a backdrop that reflects her personality and her quirkiness. I couldn’t imagine a better place for Jude to start over than The Corner Lounge on Tenth Street and Avenue B where she’s found a new life and friends who’ve become her family.
To enter to win a copy of The Last Call, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “last call,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 19, 2020. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.
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