Susan Wittig Albert (aka Robin Paige and Carolyn Keene) is the author of the fictional book "Loving Eleanor", as well as the China Bayles Herbal Mysteries, the Darling Dahlias Mysteries, and The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. The China Bayles series were the first books from Albert to come to my attention. I was very atracted to this series because of the strong characters, and the real life situations they encountered. Bayles left a high profile professional life as a criminal attorney in Houston to open an herbal shop located in a small town located half-way between Austin and San Antonio. (I love the attached tea shop, and the connecting metaphysical shop owned and run by her best friend.)
Each character is solidly written, with a past and a present that define who they are, and why they think and act as they do. We are shown how the words and actions of one character affect the other characters, and how life is full of surprises. Wittig also goes into the shadows of her characters past, and how they can hold them back in a very not good way.
There are several areas of focus in the China Bayles series, inluding herbs, recipies, families, being supportive of friends, and metaphysics. This is important to me, as I would like to bring things such as Tarot, Reiki, and other healing modalities into my books. I also want these energies to take second place to the story that I am writing, so that they compliment it, but do not necessarily drive it.
Another thing that I take away from Albert's series is attention to detail - especially details of a physical nature, such as how rooms are placed in relation to each other, how a house looks/feels overall, and how we relate to our surroundings.
The theme for April will be beta readers. My first blog will be on what they are, and why as writers we need them.
(c) March 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.