Meredith slips into a new identity and a new life in a small town in Alaska, she discovers it’s not that easy to leave behind the baggage from her past.
Set in the spectacular natural landscape of Southcentral Alaska,
COMPASS NORTH tracks an unexpected journey of personal reinvention.
Reeling from the sudden breakup of her disastrous marriage, Meredith barely escapes a freak accident in Alaska and is presumed dead. She stumbles into a new identity and a new life in a quirky small town. As new friendships grow, Meredith has to learn to trust in herself again.
When a romance with a local fisherman unexpectedly blossoms, Meredith’s secret jeopardizes her hopes for future happiness. And someone is searching for her, someone who will threaten Meredith’s dream of a reinvented life.
It’s the “Who” in “Whodunit”
COMPASS NORTH is about secrets, and the costs of keeping them. Everyone has secrets, in fiction and in real life. We hide pieces of our histories, thoughts, and feelings, not willing to share them with anyone, perhaps even terrified that they will somehow be discovered. In COMPASS NORTH, Meredith stumbles away from her disastrous marriage and into a new identity and a new life in a small Alaskan town, after she’s presumed dead in a catastrophic accident. She finds it’s not so easy to leave behind the baggage from her past. But other characters in the story have secrets too, concealed scars and deep regrets that haunt them.
A mystery/suspense story is grounded by its characters. If the reader doesn’t see a character clearly, the reader won’t be puzzled and intrigued by the mystery elements of the book. I want you to get to know Meredith and to understand why she is driven by desperation to run away from her own life. And I want you to wonder, too, about the secrets the other important characters clutch so closely, hiding them from the world’s view. Why is Rita so bitter and unwelcoming as the book unfolds? What’s behind the artist Cassandra’s moods of panic and hostility?
The thrill of the mystery comes from a reader’s enjoyment of the characters, as the reader is drawn into the story. And as with all stories, mystery or otherwise, the characters must change and grow as they are pushed, prodded and provoked.
It’s the author’s job to let the reader feel teased, engaged and sometimes surprised, but never tricked. Mystery/suspense readers love to speculate about the resolution of a story, but I believe that want they want, first and foremost, is to discover fascinating new characters and follow them through the pages of a vivid adventure.
Stephanie Joyce Cole lived for many decades in Alaska before she recently relocated to Seattle, WA, where she lives with her husband and a predatory but lovable Manx cat. She has an MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Her goal is to write books that are both thought-provoking and entertaining, and that will carry readers into an adventure in small-town Alaska.
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