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Here’s a list of 10 facts that are designed to help you understand the world of Riverview and Redemption.
1. Riverview, Wisconsin, is a college town modeled after Madison, Wisconsin. (Where I grew up.)
2. Redemption, Wisconsin, is modeled after Reedsburg, Wisconsin, which is where my parents bought a cabin on the lake. Reedsburg is close to Baraboo, Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Dells area (if you’ve never been there, it’s a beautiful place.) Redemption captures that natural beauty with lakes, forests, farmland and state parks.
3. Redemption and Riverview are roughly 45 minutes apart.
4. Redemption has a haunted past. During the blizzard of 1888, all the adults disappeared, leaving only the children. No one is sure what precisely happened, but strange and inexplicable events continue to plague the town to this day. Along with all the hauntings, disappearances, murders and more, there is also a sense that the town itself makes decisions on who stays and who goes.
This history is roughly based on Black River Falls, Wisconsin, which had a very strange period in its history right around the 1890s to 1900 where it seemed a sort of madness gripped the town. Murders, arson, mental illness and more plagued the citizens for a five-year stretch. (Check out the book Black River Falls: Wisconsin Death Trip if you want to learn more.)
5. Riverview doesn’t have the same strange beginnings as Redemption, and on its surface, is a normal, midwestern, wholesome town. But, dig a little deeper, and the darkness starts to emerge. (Keep in mind that Wisconsin was home to twisted serial killers Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer, who both seemed like such normal men on the surface.)
6. There are two series that take place in Redemption: Secrets of Redemption (psychological suspense) and The Charlie Kingsley Mysteries (cozy mystery). The Charlie Kingsley Mysteries is a spin off of the Secrets of Redemption series, and Charlie is a character in both series.
7. The Riverview Mysteries is the only series (for now) based in Riverview. All the books are currently standalones but that will change with The Taking. This series would also be considered psychological suspense.
8. I write clean and twisty mysteries. That means no swearing, no on-page sex, no gore and little violence. The only exception are the first two books I ever wrote: Mirror Image and (to a much lesser extent) The Stolen Twin. Mirror Image has a list of trigger warnings (read at your risk) but The Stolen Twin only has a few swear words. I probably should just edit them out and be done with it.
9. BUT just because I write clean doesn’t mean I write sweet. My books can get dark. (And what I mean by dark is the themes.) Also, my books are twisty, which means I write complicated mysteries. Nearly all my mysteries have body around somewhere as well. Think “who done it” stories with female “Sherlock Holmes,” similar to Agatha Christie books.
My lightest mysteries are my cozies, which would be the books in my Charlie Kingsley Mysteries series.
If you don’t mind a little darkness, edginess to your mysteries, you may like psychological suspense mysteries, which is where most of my non-cozy books fit. (More of midrange in terms of darkness.) The books that fit here include the main books in the Secrets of Redemption series:
10. While most of the books remain in their respective towns, The Taking and The Third Nanny crossover to both Riverview and Redemption. In addition, I have a collection of short stories and novellas called The Mysteries of Redemption, which also provide some context to each storyline and series fits with the rest.