Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring Makes Everything New

by Julia Buckley

It's officially spring, and the weather in Chicagoland today was so sublime, with its alluring breezes and warm sun, that I wondered why I have yet to set a mystery novel in the spring.

My first book, THE DARK BACKWARD, is set in the fall, as is my first series mystery, MADELINE MANN, which comes out in August. I suppose I figured that the symbolism we attach to fall events works well with the idea of murder and death. Things die in autumn.

Because my first Madeline mystery happens in the fall, the next one is a natural progression, a couple of months later in Madeline's story, and therefore is set in winter. Lots of great mystery imagery in snow, too. The third, which is still waiting at the publisher (keep your fingers crossed), happens in the summer. Therefore, if I'm going in order, the next book will be in the fall again.

Somehow I skipped spring, and now that spring is here I am reminded anew of its wonders: the warmer air, still cool in frequent breezes; the scent of flowers which will suddenly be blooming everywhere; the chirping of birds who were silent all through the cold months.

In my own yard I inherited, years ago, another woman's garden treasures: lily-of-the-valley, peony bushes, tulips, day lilies, lilacs, and honeysuckle vines twining over the fence. They are wonderful, free gifts that came with our house and return every spring, and I enjoy strolling in my yard each morning before work (something I never care to do in any other season) so that I can breathe in the loveliness before I march off to school.

I'm not sure which flowers I've photographed here, but I snapped the shot last spring when we visited Brookfield Zoo.

In any case, I'm hoping to write a spring story soon. For you readers, do you like books to be set in a particular season?

Writers, what season do you set your novels in? Do you lean toward a particular time of year?


Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Magnolias, Julia. Gorgeous photo. And your tulips come back year after year? In Chicago? Sounds like you inherited your predecessor's green thumb too. :) I love using garden and nature descriptions. Since my series is set in NYC (with some excursions out of town), my characters always seem to find themselves in Central Park--more than I can keep.

Julia Buckley said...

So far the tulips do come back, although I'm noticing that the peony bushes are much less lush since we moved in about 12 years ago. I'm sure I'm supposed to be doing all sorts of pruning and fertilizing that I'm just not doing. (Although I think my dog fertilizes a few things). :)

Shane Gericke said...

Hi, Julia--

Lovely prose and photo. I'm trying to set my series in different seasons: Blown Away was spring, Cut to the Bone is summer, etc. Mostly just to add a different weather element to the mix, and to make the mood match the topic. Hope you're doing well!

Shane Gericke

Julia Buckley said...

Hi, Shane!

Thanks for stopping by! How's the book distribution going?