Hello, Mysteristas! Thanks so much for having me on today. Cynthia told me the theme of the month is community. How perfect. I write the Rose Strickland Mystery series, and it’s set in a medium-sized Midwestern town. Huntingford is evenly divided between the have-nots and the have-a-lots.
My amateur sleuth, Rose, is in a unique position to see both sides of her community. Having grown up in the affluent part of town, Rose is now a waitress and part-time college student. She traded her silver spoon for a plastic one and doesn’t regret her decision.
Rose still has ties to her old life. Her parents and sister still live in the northern part of Huntingford, where the cookie cutter houses are enormous and having help is a given. Though she never felt comfortable in that environment, throughout her adventures, Rose often finds herself drifting back to the swanky side of town. Occasionally, she seeks the help of her disapproving mother. The scenes between Rose and her snooty mom are some of my favorites.
Rose now resides on the wrong side of the tracks, in a tiny studio apartment. It seems that Rose is always in a tug-of-war between her real family and the one she’s created for herself, one made up of co-workers and friends.
When I started writing the series, I wanted to show a woman drifting through life, conflicted about her past, uncertain about her future. Huntingford is a manifestation of Rose’s internal struggles. Uptown versus downtown. Money versus working class. As a writer, I love playing with these dynamics and drawing Rose into difficult social situations.
Though Rose’s family is forever pressuring her to come back home and resume her “real” life, she resists. As the series progresses, we see Rose is settling into her new life and finding her purpose through solving mysteries. She never meant to become a sleuth, it just happened.
In Diner Knock Out, Rose is thrown into the world of MMA. But even in a seedy underground fight club, she runs into some of the wealthiest people in Huntingford. It seems no matter how hard she tries, Rose can’t escape her rich girl past. And that’s just the way I like it.
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As a girl, Terri L. Austin thought she’d outgrow dreaming up stories and creating imaginary friends. Instead, she’s made a career of it. She met her own Prince Charming and together they live in Missouri. She loves to hear from readers. Drop her a note at TerriLAustin.com.
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