By: MICHELLE GRIEP
I’m the pastrami between a slice of young adult and senior citizen bread. My youngest still lives at home while my mother resides in a retirement community. Both are needy, but more often than not, it’s my mom who ends up getting the lion’s share of my attention.
And that’s a great thing when writing a novel with retired heroines.
Lots of inspiration for the zany antics of Zula Hopkins, one of the main characters in Out of the Frying Pan, comes from my experiences at my mother’s senior living community. From walkers gone MIA to bingo party cat fights, there’s not a day that goes by wherein something ridiculous doesn’t happen. Don’t worry. I’ve changed the names to protect the innocent.
That scene with the dumpster diving diva? Yes, I really know someone who looks forward annually to the day after Memorial Day for the best flower pickings. Those questionable culinary casseroles served up in the scene with the BBQ? You better believe I’ve choked down a few “crunchy” egg salad sandwiches. The matchmaking and busybodying are altogether too reality based.
While I wouldn’t choose to fill my schedule with so many elder activities, it has come in quite handy. It would be easy to begrudge so much time spent with my mother instead of using it for writing, but honestly, no time is wasted. Every minute of life can be salvaged for story—even if you’re not a writer. Passing those stories on to the next generation, verbally or in writing, leaves a legacy that shows how you cared for someone other than yourself.
I co-authored this story in particular to highlight how loveable the older generation can be despite their quirks of age, and also how capable seniors truly are to younger folks. It’s easy to discount the old. I wanted to show otherwise.
Step aside Lucy and Ethel, because here comes Fern and Zula.
Murder in Paradise whips life into a froth for FERN and ZULA HOPKINS. When the retirement center’s chef is found dead, the two ladies get folded in with the case. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective JARED FLYNN. Should he be concerned about their safety—or the criminal’s?
But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts, especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.
Life at Sunset Paradise Retirement Village will never be the same.
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Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. Her latest release is OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, but historical romance is her usual haunt. THE CAPTIVE HEART releases in October. Follow her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
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