I grew up in Gorham, NH, a small town of less than 3,000 people just 70 miles south of the Canadian border. It's a beautiful area where narrow roads wind through tall forests of birch and pine, hugging steep cliffs and making you pray your brakes don't give out on the hairpin turns. The Old Man of the Mountain was nearby, and though it crumbled off its perch on Cannon Mountain in 2003, its profile can still be found everywhere you look, in gift shops, hotels, restaurants....
But the mountain that dominates everything is Mount Washington, the highest mountain peak in the northeastern United States. Its peak is 6,288 feet above sea level, and it boasts the highest recorded wind velocity in the world, when a velocity of 231 mph was logged on April 12th, 1934. On January 16th, 2004, the weather observatory on the summit recorded a temperature of -43.6 degrees Fahrenheit and winds of 87.5 mph, which resulted in a wind chill value of -102.59 degrees.
People die up there. A lot. Since 1849, there have been 135 recorded deaths on Mount Washington and the other peaks of the Presidential Range.
So where better to begin a murder mystery than on the peak of Mount Washington?
A friend ventured up onto the mountain in February to live with the rangers in the Sherman Adams building at the summit for a week. He didn't go just for my sake—he wanted to see what it was like up there for the rangers—but he took a bunch of questions I'd written down with him, which one of the rangers was kind enough to answer, and made videos for me.
Murder on the Mountain is set in October, so the weather isn't nearly as severe as my friend experienced in the middle of winter. He sent me nerve-wracking video clips of rangers being buffeted around by hurricane force winds in a blizzard. The weather I describe in my novel is mild by comparison. Perhaps someday I'll set another mystery on the summit that takes place in February instead of the fall.
For the next four weeks, Murder on the Mountain will be touring the blogs of several MM Romance authors, providing tidbits of background information about the novel. If you leave an email address in the comments or email me at email@example.com, you'll be entered into a drawing for either a free copy of Murder on the Mountain or a $40 gift certificate to Dreamspinner Press!
To check out the other stops on the blog tour, visit:
When Jesse Morales, a recent college grad who aspires to be a mystery writer, volunteers to work on the summit of Mt. Washington for a week, he expects to work hard. What he doesn’t expect is to find a corpse in the fog, lying among the rocks, his head crushed. The dead man turns out to be a young tourist named Stuart Warren, who strayed from his friends while visiting the mountain.
Kyle Dubois, a widowed state police detective, is called to the scene in the middle of the night, along with his partner, Wesley Roberts. Kyle and Jesse are instantly drawn to one another, except Jesse’s fascination with murder mysteries makes it difficult for Kyle to take the young man seriously. But Jesse finds a way to make himself invaluable to the detective by checking into the hotel where the victim's friends and family are staying and infiltrating their circle. Soon, he is learning things that could very well solve the case—or get him killed.
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