Connie Chappell’s fourth mystery, Honeysuckle Blue Revenge, shines brightly in this incredibly popular genre. Historian-for hire Wrenn Grayson learns the murders of four prominent citizens went unsolved in Havens, Ohio, fifty years ago. This is a mystery too tempting for her to leave alone. She begins a daring investigation and is drawn into other ancient subjects like the beekeeper’s lore, Socrates, and hemlock. As always, Chappell’s superbly created characters stand out as they step into their roles. When the chase for the truth heats up, this tightly woven mystery will lock readers in their seats, unable to put the book down.
Honeysuckle Blue Revenge is masterful storytelling. It leaves readers begging for another Wrenn Grayson Mystery by Connie Chappell.
Every book has a story about its creation. What’s the story behind Honeysuckle Blue Revenge, A Wrenn Grayson Mystery?
I became fascinated with the “telling of the bees” lore. The lore is ancient and, of course, associated with beekeeping. I completed a great deal of research on these two elements. And just when I needed it, a two-day beekeeping class was offered in my community. That was illuminating.
The genre for your Wrenn Grayson books is literary mystery, but you write literary fiction too. What’s the story here?
I thought I’d be a mystery writer for all time, but a college professor introduced me to literary fiction, describing the genre as character-driven with an emotionally in-depth story. The genre doesn’t just present the actions of the characters. It tells the reader why the characters do what they do.
I decided to give it a try and pulled together an intense family drama about four women and told it through multiple points-of-view. As it turned out, my first work of literary fiction became my first published novel and a bestseller. The title is Wild Raspberries. A standalone companion novel, Proper Goodbye, was published two years later. Readers are in line for two more works of literary fiction from me, already written and in the editing process.
Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
May I have two? Please? The first character is eight-year old Scottie Matthews. He’s insightful, intelligent, and absolutely guileless in his manipulations of this parents. He has them all figured out.
The second character is a man nicknamed Wheels. He has similar interests with regard to archiving research, as does our main character Wrenn Grayson. Wheels is upbeat and a survivor, despite the fact that he tools around in a wheelchair. He lost the use of his legs in a car accident, thanks to a drunk driver.
These two are not super main characters, but oh, when they are in a scene, it’s special.
If you could have anyone, living or dead, read your book and tell you what they think, who would it be and why?
I would choose Hortense Chappell, my first cousin, twice removed, and born fifty years before me. I grew up hearing stories about Hortense. I have to admit I don’t remember any of them. Every time her name came up, I remember feeling sorry for her. Hortense was not a name I would want to go through life with.
Several years ago, my opinion of the name changed completely when I learned what it meant. It’s a French feminine name that comes from Latin meaning gardener. That threw me for a moment until I realized that Hortense was connected to the word horticulture. It all made sense: Hortense, horticulture, gardener. One of my greatest loves is gardening.
To show homage to my relative and a new appreciation for her name, I named a character Hortense in Honeysuckle Blue Revenge. I’m sure you’ll find fictional Hortense quite the addition to this mystery. I hope Cousin Hortense would think so too.
What do you do when it’s time to chill out or blow off steam, so you can get into the creative writing zone?
I have to laugh at that. The structure of my writing life is totally different. I find my creative writing zone merely by getting up in the morning. I guess a night’s sleep would qualify as the ultimate chill out. I’m up early every morning, around four o’clock. Most people groan when they hear this, but this has been my schedule since I began writing thirteen years ago.
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