Hey, Lily, hey, 9, this week we have a special guest! Award-winning author Julie Weston is here to tell us about her new book, MINERS’ MOON, available 12/15/21.
Wow, that’s next Wednesday!
Yes, 9, and I have my copy on order at our local bookstore.
Have you met the author in person?
Yes, Lily, I have. In fact, I consider her a friend. We met at a book signing event, part of the 2015 Women Writing the West conference in Redmond, Oregon. Julie’s first novel, Moonshadows, came out that year, as had my first novel, Small-g City. For both of us, this was the first book in a series.
As it turned out, we had more in common that books. Julie had worked in Seattle as a lawyer, where I had worked as a CPA. She was serving on the Women Writing the West board as Compliance Chair. As we got to know each other, she drafted me to serve on her committee and eventually persuaded me to run for her position when she decided to rotate out. After being elected I, of course, recruited her to be on my committee- –
That’s all very interesting- -not!
Yeah! Let’s get to the good part!
Okay, you two. Time to cut to the chase and meet Julie Weston!
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My new book, MINERS’ MOON, a Nellie Burns and Moonshine Mystery, releases on December 15, 2021. It is the fourth in my Nellie Burns and Moonshine mysteries and takes place in North Idaho in the mines.
Blurb: Crime photographer Nellie Burns and Basque Sheriff Charlie Asteguigoiri travel to northern Idaho mining towns to investigate bootlegging and complicit town officials. A suspicious mine explosion pulls them into a second investigation. Predictably, Nellie gets in over her head. A rock burst seals Charlie in a mine collapse. It is a race to reveal the crimes before their luck runs out. [Editor’s note: a Blurb is a brief description of a book, what you might find on the back cover once the book is in print]
A little bit about yourself – I grew up in Kellogg, Idaho, a mining town in the panhandle. Much later, I even wrote a book about my experiences and the mining in the area. I left to go to college and law school in Seattle, where I lived for almost 50 years. I practiced law for over 30 years. I met my husband while practicing law (after two failed marriages) and we now live in Hailey, Idaho. Beginning in about 1990, I began writing via a writing certificate program at the UW. I had to get all my legalese out of my vocabulary!
What do you enjoy doing when not writing? I’ve been a skier since I was seven years old, beginning at Lookout Pass on the Idaho-Montana border. Now we ski in Sun Valley, Idaho, near our home. We also bike, hike, walk, and read lots and lots of books. We enjoy family when they visit and our cat, Buttercup.
About the Nellie Burns and Moonshine series:
Why Idaho? What role does place hold in your storytelling? I grew up in Idaho, left my mining town, and returned to live in the mountains. My great-great grandparents came to Boise and Ketchum, Idaho in the 1870s. My great-grandfather and -mother even honeymooned in Ketchum. My grandmother and mother were both born in Idaho, and my great aunt wrote a book about the family in 1948. With all those roots in this state, how could I not write about Idaho?
Each of my Nellie Burns and Moonshine books is set in Idaho in the 1920s. Each is set in a different locale in the state, mostly central Idaho and the newest in north Idaho. Determining place is how I begin each book: Hailey and Ketchum, Stanley Basin, Craters of the Moon, and mining in North Idaho. Each place is as much a character as Nellie and her black Lab dog.
I chose the 1920s because I wanted to research between the world wars and not write about the resort in Sun Valley, focusing instead on early years in my state. It’s been fun and educational to learn more about places and times when my great-grandparents, grandparents and my parents lived here. I knew a lot already because of my aunt’s book, Generations (Caxton Press) and family stories. My grandfather worked for the Union Pacific all his working years.
A woman needed to be the star of my books. My grandmother’s family was heavily involved in photography, so I chose that as her career. My husband is a photographer and he had all the expertise for large-format cameras (all Nellie used) and could help me get the technical details correct.
I did plan a series, but I have never plotted out ahead of time. My plots depend on the locales and characters to be found in each place. A Basque sheriff, although not probable in the 1920s, filled my yen to write about some of the Basques who populate Idaho. Rosy, my one-eyed miner, is so like men I knew in Kellogg. Goldie, the boarding house owner, is much like the mother of my BFF when I was growing up, and she ran two boarding houses. Nearly all the characters can be found in the small towns of Idaho.
About writing in general:
I write in fiction, but also in nonfiction. My first book, The Good Times Are All Gone Now: Life, Death and Rebirth in an Idaho Mining Town (University of Oklahoma Press, 2009) is a memoir of place. My husband and I have collaborated on a coffee table book with 60 photographs and my writing: The Magical Universe of the Ancients: A Desert Journal. I also write essays and have written short stories.
What authors inspire you? I read lots of mysteries: Louise Penny, Jaqueline Winspear, James Benn, Martin Walker, Craig Johnson. They keep my mind sharp! Terry Tempest Williams, Wallace Stegner, and Craig Childs inspire me.
Events: Book launch at the Ketchum Community Library on Dec. 16 at 6:00 www.comlib.com
Blogs: Susan D. Matley Dec. 10 http://susandmatley.com
Ladies of Mystery Dec. 18 https://ladiesofmystery.com/2021/12/18/guest-blogger-julie-weston/
All my books can be purchased at your local bookstore: www.indiebound.com
Also at www.Amazon.com
I love to do book club visits and zooms. Please contact me through my website for details.
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Thank you very much, Julie, for being with us today!
Yes, thank you.
You are amazing!
Readers, if you like mysteries set in the west with a feisty female protagonist, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the adventures of Nellie Burns and her black Labrador retriever, Moonshine. Lily, 9, get ready- -next Wednesday we’re settling in with Miners’ Moon!