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Murder Mystery Series by author Tina Czarnota  
Published Articles

Continued from Published Articles

Author sets murder mystery in 'a fictitious Lake Wales'

News Chief - Summer, 2001

"It's a light who-dun-it," Czarnota explained. "It's a light, fun mystery -- not gumshoe, not true crime. I like an escape and hopefully, this book will provide my readers the same."

She called the setting "a fictitious Lake Wales. The town itself is what inspired me. With its location on U. S. 27 and S. R. 60, some of the businesses and the institutions in my book are not the same."

That means there is quite a bit of "poetic license" as far as the setting is concerned.

For example, "I write about the Lake Wales Police Department's building," Czarnota said. "There's a little reference to the building, being older, not quite modern and newly-appointed."

Those who know the actual police station realize it's only a few years old, although the former police station in old city hall could well be described as "not quite modern."

But Czarnota placed a disclaimer in her book saying that police personnel mentioned in the story -- as well as the police station -- are fictitious.

Since Lake Wales is a geographical mid-point, that was the reason the city was chosen as the setting.

The keepers of Tudor Grove Inn are two couples. They are Tim and Song Versey and Bruce and Katrina. That's all they are. They don't share a last name, as "they are not married yet."

One couple is from the Tampa Bay area and the other is from Fort Lauderdale.

Wanting to establish a bed and breakfast, the two couples "looked for real estate. They settled in an old home on one of the side streets off S.R. 60. I plunked the old house in next to another old house," Czarnota explained.

She described the road as "fairly deserted."

As for the Tudor-type house that's home to Tudor Grove Inn, it's old.

"The older a house is, and the more occupants it has, chances are for more things to happen. These people remodeled it in an old style with new fabrics and appointments. They furnished it with new and the old."

Since this is a murder mystery, not too much of the plot needs to be revealed.

But there may be a slight hint of what may unfold when the "ornery chauvinistic father-in-law to be" talks to a detective.

"He tells the detective, 'Isn't it ironic that Katrina is always complaining to me about my smoking when smoking is really what saved my life?'"

Czarnota is a native of Buffalo, N. Y., who firmly believes that "a writer's life begins at 40."

She describes herself as "40-something."

In her life in south Florida, she's otherwise occupied with house-sitting, pet-sitting and "temping" assignments.

But even when she was a toddler, "I have memories of being in my mom's wash basket with a cat and a dog and reading the telephone book upside-down. I had a love for the written word way back when. In grade school, I wrote ghost stories and drew pictures to accompany them."

About six years ago, Czarnota entered essay contests, of which she won a few.

She started on the Lake Wales book about four or five years ago when her mother was diagnosed with cancer.

"I jumped into it. I figured it would be good therapy. It helped," Czarnota said. "But I'd love to be able to write full-time."

Author Tina Czarnota
Murder Mystery Series

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