Indie Author: Yes
Kindle Unlimited: Yes
Publication Date: 11.16.23

Cozy Mystery
Recipes inside!

Page Count: 295 Pages

She is a mystery. He is a recluse who writes mysteries. Are they a perfect match or a recipe for murder?

Ivy Kelly is on the run and searching for refuge in the small town of Balefire Bay on the Oregon Coast. But when she arrives, she finds more than just a safe haven. Someone has died and one of her new friends could be the killer. On top of that, the people hunting Ivy want her to disappear permanently.

Ivy isn’t on the run long before she meets Aggie, a knitter, book club member, true crime sleuth, and part owner of Balefire Bay’s Book and Tea Shop. Aggie introduces Ivy to the possibility of a new life that includes a dream job working in a library that looks like a mashup of Downton Abbey and Hogwarts and is owned by her favorite reclusive author. With a new life comes a new mystery, as Ivy finds herself enmeshed in a murder that the town is determined to keep a secret.

Is Ivy’s new employer a possible love interest or a stone-cold killer? As her past collides with her present, Ivy must risk everything to uncover the secrets of Balefire Bay. Join Ivy on this thrilling journey and find out who she really is and who wants her gone.

Behind the Writing of The Seaside Murder Before Christmas

Tell us about the background for the theme, what inspired it or why you wanted to write in this setting, or with play with these tropes?

The best thing about being an author is being able to create a whole world and characters. This book is full of everything I love, including my family’s recipes, traditions, characters based people in my life, including local police officers. The murder is based on a true crime that happened just down the coast from me. My daughter’s adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Judy inspired the sweet dog in the book, also named Judy.

 I love writing about strong or smart women who are unexpected, like Booked for Murder’s main character, Ivy Kelly. Ivy begins the story with serious trust issues. She must hide to survive. As the story progresses, she has to choose between staying safe using her carefully crafted plan, or trusting new friends and finally living a life she’s always wanted. When she finds herself with serious trust issues living in a small town, Balefire Bay, she has to choose between taking risks and trusting others or staying safe and alone. 

Are any of your characters based on real people you know?

The people I met while working as a certified advocate and trauma specialist alongside law enforcement inspired Ivy Kelly. I supported people who were starting life over after a divorce, trauma, or just plain bad luck—like Ivy, and like myself. I encountered remarkable survivors who amazed me with their resilience as they worked to overcome life’s challenges. Don’t judge Ivy by chapter one. Watch her grow and solve the mystery of the woman who fell and died in Balefire Bay. 

I live in a small town on the rugged northern Oregon coast. I placed the story in my dream home and library, with a small beach town full of quirky, wonderful people. The lighthouse was inspired by a lighthouse in Newport, Oregon, that sits on top of rugged cliffs.

My small town’s Beach Books, and Michelle’s Coffee House, inspired Balefire Bay’s book club and its eclectic members. They gather to discuss books, but the conversation always turns to local happenings and crime. 

I hope the characters in Booked for Murder stay with you long after the story is over—or until I publish the next book in the series.

What playlist did you listen to while creating this book?

I love creating playlists for the books I am writing. I created the playlist for Booked for Murder on Spotify. It’s called, “Love Songs by the Sea.”

In case you don’t have Spotify, here are my favorite songs from the list: 

  • Quietly Yours & Lighthouse  by Birdy
  • Practical Magic by Alan Silvestri
  • Coastline by Hollow Coves
  • Me by the Sea by Edie Brickell
  • Ocean Eyes by Billie Eilish
  • Linger by the Cranberries
  • Storyteller by Morgan Harper Nichols, Jamie Grace
  • Human by Gabriella Aplin

Shannon Symonds writes in an old house by the sea, where her 6 children, their children, 30 or 40 of her closest relatives, and dogs come and go constantly. She loves laughter, a good mystery, running on the beach, deep sea fishing, and bonfires.

In 2021 she was awarded the Author Ready Author to Watch Award for her By the Sea Cozy Mystery YA series. Her books can be found at Deseret Book, Barnes & Noble, Costco, and Amazon.

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