Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Next Big Thing: The Sands of Gower

Photo of Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower Peninsula, near Swansea, in Wales.  Photo by John Ewing.


We mystery writers currently have a chain blog going.  Linda Rodriguez tagged me.  Check out her blog on her next big thing, Every Broken Trust, back on Sept 29:

The Next Big Thing for Judy Hogan.  

1.  What is the working title of your book?  The Sands of Gower

2.  Where did the idea come from for the book?

This is the first mystery in my series, written in 1991.  I hope it will be the third published.  Killer Frost (#6) came out September 1, 2012, from Mainly Murder Press.  I’m waiting to hear from MMP about #7, Farm Fresh and Fatal, which I hope to publish in 2013.  Then I’d like to get The Sands of Gower published as soon after that as practicable.

Since 1981 I’d been going to Wales every few years to take a writing vacation, away from my family and work responsibilities.  I’d range the footpaths on the Gower Peninsula near Swansea and write poems.  To rest, I read mysteries.  My Bread and Breakfast landlady, when I sprained my ankle in 1990 and was housebound, suggested I write a “murder.”  For fun I began plotting one.  Sands takes place in a fictional B &B modeled on Mrs. Merrett’s.  I wrote it in 1991.

3.  What genre does your book fall under?  Traditional mystery.

4.  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Penny Weaver: amateur sleuth, mid-50s American poet–Sally Field.

Kenneth Morgan: Welsh police inspector, mid-50s, becomes Penny’s lover–Daniel Craig

Evelyn Trueblood: Bed and Breakfast English-speaking Welsh landlady of Penny’s; 75 years old–Judi Dench

Lucy Straley–local librarian on Gower peninsula, a rare feminist, friend of Penny’s, retired from Midlands, 65–Felicity Kendal.

5.  What is the one-sentence synopsis of your manuscript?

In the process of solving the murder of a German guest, American poet Penny Weaver and Detective Inspector Kenneth Morgan experience a powerful erotic attraction, and this, plus the British post-World War II continuing hatred of the Germans, complicates their investigation.

6.  Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

I hope to have it published by a small press, ideally Mainly Murder Press.  

7.  How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  Two months.

8.  What other books would you compare this story to within the genre?

Agatha Christie and other Golden Age village mysteries for the plot.  For the erotic attraction, to Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Miller’s Kill series.

9.  Who or what inspired you to write this book?  I learned from the mystery writers, mainly of the Golden Age, which I began reading in 1980, after my first child went to college: Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Josephine Tey, Dorothy Sayers, P.D. James, Marjorie Allingham.

10.  What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Readers of Killer Frost have been wanting to know more about how Penny and Kenneth got together.  I think the love story, as well as the anti-German and anti-Semitic themes will interest readers, too.  Perhaps also the coastal Wales descriptions and the cross-cultural conflicts, not to mention how poet Penny Weaver became an amateur detective.


Here are the writers to whom I’m linking.  Check out their plans for Their Next Big Things.

B.K. Stevens.  Story “No Good Deed” in anthology To Hell in a Fast Car, edited by John French and published by Dark Quest Books.  Blog at Untreed Reads:  Date: Between Nov 12 and Nov 18.  

Diane Vallere: Other People’s Baggage. Blog:  Nov. 12.

Karen Pullen: Cold Feet from Five Star, 2013.  Blog:
November 14.


  1. I know The Sands of Gower is a book I hope you get published soon. I want to read out Penny and Kenneth got together, and I love the British small village mysteries.

  2. Judy,
    Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your blog hop! Best of luck with The Sands of Gower.