Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A Seamus McCree Compendium

It will come as no surprise to long-time readers of the WWK blog that my heart belongs in the northwoods. It’s where Jan and I retired and is our official residence. Because of the remoteness of our place in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, we don’t live there the whole year. For at least a decade, Jan has called the place we live in during the winter months “home.” She calls our U.P. residence “camp”—it’s the name locals assign to any abode in the woods outside town, regardless of whether it is a tarpaper shack or a Rockefeller mansion.

I call our U.P place “home” and refer to our winter abode by the name of the city in which it is a part. “We’re going to our Madison place,” I say.

Because Seamus has wandered around since growing up in Boston, I’ve set novels in Ohio (Ant FarmBad Policy) and Michigan’s U.P. (Cabin FeverEmpty Promises). Doubtful Relations traveled from Ohio to New Jersey with stops in South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina in between. The novella, Low Tide at Tybee, occurred on Tybee Island, Georgia. I’ve set short stories featuring Seamus in the U.P. and Chicago.

When talking with readers, one question I often am asked is where I’ll set the next Seamus McCree novel. It turns out I’m not the only one with geographical preferences. Ohioans want a return to Cincinnati and Chillicothe. Those who love the northwoods want it set there. Others want Seamus to visit their favorite area to live in or read about. False Bottom (May 2019) takes place in the Boston area and includes a short side-trip to Cincinnati.

Northwoods fans are disappointed. I’ve also discovered in talking with them that they often read Cabin Fever first and jump to Empty Promises. Some will then pick up other books in the series. Others return to reading William Kent Krueger or Steve Hamilton or CJ Box with the promise that if I write another novel set up north, they promise to pick it up.

I have an idea for a seventh Seamus McCree, which I’ll set in the U.P. In the meantime, I prepared a compendium to satisfy new Seamus McCree readers who prefer stories set in the wilds. It includes Cabin Fever and Empty Promises, and two short stories. “Accidents Happen” was Seamus’s debut in print and takes place in the same area of the U.P. I plan to include a bonus story, “Homework.” It’s a coming of age story. While it doesn’t feature any of the McCree clan, it is set in the U.P., and Jan says it’s her favorite of my short stories.

I titled it Seamus McCree U.P. North, playing off the using the Upper Peninsula for “up” and moving Seamus McCree into the title. For those not familiar with the U.P., I included an outline of the territory as part of the cover to help the geographically challenged. (Although in truth, it's unlikely people who don't know about the U.P. are going to be interested in this compendium.)

Here's the print version, showing the back, spine, and front.

A version of this blog first appeared on Writers Who Kill.

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