This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rebecca Lee Smith will be awarding a $25 BN/Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Click on "read more" below to read an excerpt or sign up for the GIVEAWAY.
When her aunt suffers a stroke, New York portrait artist Emory Austen returns home to the North Carolina mountains to mend fences and deal with the guilt over her husband’s senseless death. But that won’t be as easy as she hoped.
Someone in the quirky little town doesn’t like Emory. Is it the sexy architect who needs the Austen land to redeem himself? The untrustworthy matriarch? The grudge-bearing local bad boy? Or the teenage bombshell who has raised snooping to an art form? Even the local evangelist has something to hide. Who wrote the cryptic note warning her to “Give it back or you’ll be dead?” And what is ‘it’? As the clues pile up and secrets are exposed, Emory must discover what her family has that someone would kill for.
read an excerpt...
Could it be something of Kent's they were after? Something he’d kept hidden? He was good at keeping secrets. In fact, he’d been a master at it. After his death, I’d packed the few possessions he hadn’t moved out of the apartment and sent them to his parents. I’d kept nothing except the gold wedding band he’d thrown at me from across the room and his cell phone.
Hard to even think those words, much less say them out loud. It was all still so surreal.
Maybe everything that had happened in Bitter Ridge was karma. Maybe the Universe was finally giving me exactly what I deserved. Kent's death had been my fault. And no matter how much he had deceived me, or betrayed me, or reduced my sad little trusting heart to shrapnel, I could never forgive myself.
I laid my head on my knees and closed my eyes. I rocked my body back and forth, like a child trying to soothe itself when sleep will not come. Then at last, in the cool dark shadows of the night, I began to cry.
Oh, God, I was so sorry.
I hadn’t loved Kent for a long time. At the end of our marriage, I hadn't even liked him. But I had never wished him dead.
about Rebecca Lee Smith...
Rebecca lives with her husband and a dog named Wilbur in the beautiful, misty mountains of East Tennessee, where the people are charming, soulful, and just a little bit crazy. She's been everything from a tax collector to a stay-at-home-mom to an award winning professional actor and director. She loves to travel the world (pre-pandemic) because it makes coming home so sweet. Her Southern roots and the affectionate appreciation she has for the rural towns she lives near inspire the settings and characters she writes about.
Facebook: Rebecca Lee Smith
Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/39JTJTl
more personal "stuff" about Rebecca Lee Smith...
Does this book have a special meaning to you? i.e. where you found the idea, its symbolism, its meaning, who you dedicated it to, what made you want to write it?
I have always admired someone who can pick themselves up and get on with their life after something horrible happens, and do it with kindness and grace while hanging onto their sense of humor. In my cozy mystery, The House on Crow Mountain, Emory Austen’s soon-to-be ex-husband is murdered in their NYC apartment when he stops by to pick up his things. Before he arrived, she bailed on him, and now she is drowning in guilt, knowing that if she’d kept her promise and stayed, he would still be alive. Emory handles herself with intelligence, humor, and heart while coping with a sick aunt, a past she can’t change, and newly discovered family secrets, all the while trying to piece together clues and discover what she has that a killer might want. She is who I want to be. Who we all want to be. I’m the person who thinks up the perfect snappy comeback in the shower the next morning. Emory can come up with it on the spot.
Where do you get your storylines from?
I live in the mountains in East Tennessee, and some of my favorite scenery in the world is where the Appalachian and the Blue Ridge Mountains meet on the Tennessee/North Carolina border. It’s wild and craggy and breathtaking, and I knew I wanted to set a mystery there someday. I also knew I wanted to write about a small town that is full of charm, surrounded by farmland, with a thriving artists’ community at its core. My obsession with long-buried family secrets gave me the nugget I needed for the plot, so this was a relatively easy storyline for me to create.
Was this book easier or more difficult to write than others? Why?
Easier and more difficult. I had some health issues while writing The House on Crow Mountain. I’m fine now, but it took a few procedures and a couple of operations to get me where I am today. This meant a lot of downtime and stops and starts while writing this book. Which, as it turned out, wasn’t a completely bad thing. The Universe kept forcing me to step back and gain a little more perspective on the scenes I’d written. I learned I could take an unexpected break, then come back, pick up where I left off, and keep going.
I do now. My first two published books were in the romantic suspense genre. But as time went on, I realized I was reading (and enjoying) cozy mysteries more, so I thought maybe that’s what I should be writing. I love creating a puzzle to solve, using quirky characters as suspects, creating unexpected twists and turns, and finally piecing things together so it all makes sense in the end. It’s so satisfying to me. Not to mention fun.
Give us a picture of where you write, where you compose these words…is it Starbucks, a den, a
garden…we want to know your inner sanctum?
My favorite place in the world to write is in a cottage at Kill Devil Hills, NC, upstairs on the widow’s walk, facing the ocean. If I’m at home in the Tennessee mountains, I love to write outside on my patio until the mosquitos start snacking on me. But mostly, I just write at a desk in my office. On my desk is a raised computer, a bunch of notepads, a box of Kleenex, Aveeno lotion, a ceramic pencil and pen cup shaped like the Evil Queen’s head in Snow White, a blue stone paperweight shaped like a heart, a wooden sign that says The Crab Is In, a pumpkin butter candle, a tiny jar for autumn twigs, and an hourglass that runs out in 47 minutes.
And finally, of course…was there any specific event or circumstance that made you want to be a writer?
My mother named me after Daphne Du Maurier’s book, Rebecca, which I like to think of as a self-fulfilling prophecy. For years, I did a lot of theater but had secretly always wanted to write a book. Any book. I didn’t sit down and try until I was stuck at home with a five-year-old and another baby on the way. I needed a creative outlet to keep me sane--Oh, boy, did I need an outlet—and it seemed like a sign that now was the time. I remember that first scene I wrote. It wasn’t very good, and I had no idea what I was doing, but it gave me a sense of accomplishment that fed my soul like nothing ever had.
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