The Orchard Mountain Menace is the first book of the Mount Merryhill Mysteries. Mount Merryhill is a fictional town located in the center of Surry County, NC. It is west of Mount Airy and Pilot Mountain, which are of Mayberry fame. I moved here in 2003 and fell in love with the area and the people. While they did not fall in live with me, that's their loss, not mine. I met people and experienced situations that begged to be written.
A sweet little 94 year old neighbor once asked me if I'd show her where the safety was located on her gun because a horde of children had tried to break into her house the previous night, which oddly was Halloween. I later learned the local drug dealer used her backyard to stash his drugs and she actually had a good reason to live in fear of her life -just not so much from trick or treaters.
When I was raking the leaves a few days later, I found a huge and very dead iguana under a bush. It was clutching the the branches and hidden under the leaves. We felt terrible, as we would have gladly rescued the poor thing. I put it in a box and later showed another elderly neighbor who immediately started yelling that it was the very same demon monster he had been shooting at on Halloween night in his backyard! He shook his head and told me the worthless Police kept hanging up on him. My husband and I giggled about this for years. I eventually told this story to a police officer, who remembered the Halloween when an elderly man kept calling to report a monster.
Of course, my writer's mind took these tales and expanded them, then twisted and completely changed them to suit my diabolical purpose. I am inspired by many influences for my little hamlet, like Louise Penny's Three Pines, Midsomer Murders and Miss Marple's little village full of villains. While, one might scoff at the likelihood of a town being so full of murders; one has only to live in a small town and to see mayhem from the distance of a city girl's eyes and trust me... it's not such a stretch.
I have outlined and plotted 13 books for this series and hopefully, I will get a green light so I can stop begging at the altar and get to the cunningly, devote business of writing.