Gilda Wright Mysteries and Sandstone Cove

Welcome to Sandstone Cove!

Hey all! It's me again!
While I've been busy promoting other authors, working from home and keeping busy during self-isolation with editing and the like, I decided this week I would do something a little different.

I did this interview years ago with another publisher and decided to update and share it here.
Since the original interview, my Gilda Wright Mysteries have been republished by BWL Publishing and have had a facelift! First a little background...

The History

The original first book (now Dead Without Honor) was first titled Death of a Jaded Samurai. I loved the title and the cover BUT it didn't have an impact on the target market of my then publisher. SO.... we renamed and changed the covers.

They were cute and but still didn't catch on with their target market.
In fact, my publisher decided perhaps I should pull them from the shelves and start over. 

Somewhere else. 

I was upset for about ten minutes before I reached out to the publisher of my Wild Blue Mystery series who was happy to take them.

The stories got a re-edit and new covers then were released once more in 2018.
I'm much happier with both the covers and the stories AND have been able to reach out to more martial arts minded people. 

The Questions

Where is the real Sandstone Cove located?

    My fictional town of Sandstone Cove is based very loosely on a larger town along the shores of Lake Erie called Dunkirk, New York. The shoreline and layout of the town was exactly what I needed for my little town (although I certainly modified the basic map to become Sandstone Cove!)   

 I was also inspired by a photo I cut from a magazine years ago of a log on the beach that has become Gilda's "thinking place" and her usual meeting place with Fabio, her police officer friend.

Is there a real Café Beanz?
    Yes, there is, but with a different spelling. They use Beans. I found it purely by accident in Barrie, Ontario. I haven't been inside yet, but it's on my bucket list!
    My version of Café Beanz is a little deli-style cafe that serves sandwiches and soups for lunch and several kinds of coffees and teas. It's based on the old 50's style diners, but modernized in colors and textures. Along with Happy Harvey's, Beanz is one of the hubs of Sandstone Cove.

What kinds of coffees do your main characters drink?
     Gilda's favorite all time drink is a latte with cinnamon and chocolate curls (and wine in the evenings when the mystery solving gets her down!)
     Mick loves a "double-double" as we call them in Canada, coffee with two milk and two sugar.
     Marion takes her coffee hot, strong and with a little milk.
     Razi and Kane are both tea drinkers. Green preferably.
     Thayer and Fabio, the police officers Gilda has often had to deal with, love their coffee. Thayer takes his black. Fabio prefers to mix it up a little bouncing between coffee to lattes.

How did Happy Harvey's Hangover Hut come about?
     Happy Harvey's Hangover Hut wasn't the place to go if you had a hangover, more like if you were in desperate search of the means of one. A glorified, tiki-infested liquor and convenience store, Happy Harvey's was owned by Happy—no one had ever called him Harvey—a seventy-year-old man who'd become disillusioned with retirement. He was also one of Gilda's good friends.
     Sometimes ideas will just pop into my head and I have no idea where they came from. Happy Harvey's was one of them. I combined my love of the tropics with a local convenience store run by an older man who wasn't afraid to be a little different. Happy is one of Gilda's main supporters and cheerleaders who lets her know what's on his mind and will happily give her both advice and a bottle of wine from time to time.

How did you become interested and learn about karate and other martial arts?
   Writing a martial arts-based series was in the making, ever since my ex-husband and kids started karate and Brazilian jiu jitsu classes. All four of them became Black Belts and I was actually a Karate Mom for about 6 years before I started working at the martial arts school and began my own training. Due to life getting in the way, I stopped training at blue belt in Goju-Ryu karate, but the Gilda series lives on. One part of training I enjoy, was helping our instructors at self-defence courses we did at local schools. At one high school, we were in lock down after a teenager from another school came in and stabbed a student. It was very sad to see the kids so calm because this happens at least once per semester. Most students were very grateful for us coming in to give them an option to deal with the bullies. One day, that incident may become a whole new Gilda mystery.
    Aside from training and self-defence courses, I helped to run the school and rewrote the school's karate manual and Black Belt grading information packages.
Who are Gilda and Mick based on?
    While I still worked at the karate school, my kids called me Gilda. Aside from that, Gilda and I led very different lives. Gilda is a young, single woman who is protected by a well-known bookie, has a best friend who is a 9-1-1 operator, and is surrounded by strong, handsome men, and chaos.
     I am a middle-aged--gulp--divorced woman who is protected by two cats, surrounded by kids, laundry, great friends, and...of course...chaos.
     My two senseis actually argued about who was Mick, Gilda's love interest. In truth, neither of them actually were, but it made for a few giggles around the front desk when people speculate!
     As for Marion... 
     Like Gilda, I had a good friend at the school who trained and earned her second degree black belt. She's my strength and kept me going when there were days I wanted to give up. While she's no Marion, I would love for Marion to become more like her as the series goes on.

Writers are always sitting and working. How do you get any exercise?
     Mostly by keeping up to my three grown sons!
      I had to stop training due to knee and back issues. These days, I'm a walker, not a runner. Lately, bad weather and Covid have made even that difficult. I went through a bad period where I had to start life over and stress had literally crippled me. Recovery has involved walking and yoga. The best yoga classes are the ones we did outdoors near my instructor's swimming pool!
     The best part for me as a writer, is I always seem to find inspiration for my books while on walks, in classes, and so on. While my body is distracted and my mind can wander.
     My mind is in writer mode 24/7.

"Dead Without Glory" starts off with Gilda meeting Kane Garrick while he trains on the beach with a sword. Where did that idea come from?      
     At martial arts seminars, some of our students have been lucky enough to train on the beach at sunrise or sunset. I've never been one of them, but I combined that experience along with my oldest son's love of sword fighting and kendo to create Kane who is a total free-spirit.
Who will Gilda choose:  Kane or Mick?
     Gilda started to work for Mick after breaking up with her former boyfriend Jason Thayer in spectacular fashion - she threw him into a large bag of coffee beans after catching him with his latest fling and split his head open! Karate and learning how to defend herself in a more empowered way seemed like a logical next step.
     Just when she and Mick take the next step and start to develop a romantic relationship, along comes Mick's long time friend and colleague, Kane Garrick. Kane has eyes for Gilda, but is it because she's Mick's new girlfriend or do his flirtations run much deeper?
     Okay, readers, who would you choose and why?

How do you picture your main characters look?

  Gilda Wright is the receptionist at martial arts school. She is an avid karate student, runner and trying to master yoga. Fresh-faced and stepping out on her own after a disastrous relationship with Jason Thayer.
(Portrayed here by Rachel Bilson)

Mick Williams  5'10" tall, a very solid 190 lbs, black hair; muscular; 3rd degree black belt goju-ryu karate; black belt in jiu jitsu; 1st degree black belt tae kwon do; kickboxing; MMA trainer and coach.
Mick runs the original Yoshida Martial Arts school then owns the shiny new Phoenix Martial Arts School later on.

(Portrayed by a younger Pierce Brosnan)

Kane Garrick 6 feet tall; long, blond hair; turquoise eyes; broad chest; thick, muscular build; 3rd degree black belt goju-ryu karate; black belt jiu jitsu, trained for over 10 years in Japanese sword fighting and Japanese Jiu Jitsu; has an Australian accent although not Australian due to his childhood upbringing.
Kane is a weapons expert. Gilda first meets him while he practices with a sword on the beach near her house. 

 (Portrayed here by Chris Hemsworth) 

The Books

Book 1:  Dead Without Honor
Gilda Wright thinks she's landed a dream job managing a karate school. Sure, her boss, Sensei Mick Williams, is almost as demanding as he is sexy, but Gilda is inspired by the strength of people around her and hopes to absorb some of that into her own life. But when Gilda finds the body of one of the instructors, laying in the dojo with a sword through his chest, suddenly Gilda must find her own inner strength and fast! The police see everyone as a suspect, including her boss, and it's up to Gilda to find out what really happened. She follows the clues of the missing scroll of the Four Possessions of the Samurai down a deadly path, filled with lies, deceit, and poisoned ninja stars! If she doesn't watch her step, she just may become the killer's next sparring partner. 

Book 2:  Dead Without Glory
Gilda Wright's life seems to finally be on track. Her love life is looking up with her hot boss, Mick, and she's planning and promoting a grand opening extravaganza for his new martial arts school. But things go awry when their special guest referee for the opening's exhibition match is found dead on the beach. To make matters worse, the school's sexy new weapons instructor, Kane Garrick, stands accused of his murder. In spite of her promise to Mick and nearly everyone else in town to not get involved, Gilda—a.k.a. the Brunette Sherlock—wades into danger one more time. The only question is, can Gilda catch a killer before the killer catches up to her?                                    

Book 3: Dead Without Pride
Gilda Wright steps in to help Kane Garrick find a way to deal with the New Age shop he is stuck with and doesn't want, until a pretty psychic comes to town and refuses to leave Kane alone. As the psychic's predictions of doom and gloom begin to come true--including one about the murder of a well-known person in town--Gilda begins to wonder if the psychic's involvement in both her predictions and in Kane's life are actually a mere coincidence or if he's being set up.

Book 4: Dead Without Shame
Once more, Gilda considers leaving the karate school to work for her friend Happy (no one has ever called him Harvey). When three men rob Happy Harvey’s Hangover Hut killing the woman at the front counter, Gilda is stunned to think that could have been her. Was this a mere robbery, or does someone have a vendetta against Happy, including his good friend Gary del Garda? The evidence keeps piling up while both her mother and another karate instructor come to town bearing secrets that may cost Gilda the life she loves in Sandstone Cove.

Where to find me (Here, obviously!)


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