Local author’s Jane Austen inspired mystery series gets attention

Carrie Bebris, who’s lived in the area with her husband and two children for the past 10 years, enjoyed the publication last year of the seventh novel in her highly acclaimed and popular Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery Series. The series, published by Tor, imagines the famous couple solving crimes together.

Though the novels in her mystery series focus on Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy as a detecting duo, they have titles and characters inspired by the titles of Jane Austen’s novels of manners. (For example, the first in the series is “Pride and Prescience.”)

The seventh novel, “The Suspicion at Sandition,” was inspired by Austen’s last, unfinished novel; Austen died while she was working on it. It also takes place in the setting of the unfinished work, Sandition, where in Bebris’ story the detecting Darcys encounter eccentric characters and kidnapping mayhem.

I recently caught up with the local author to find out what she’s been working on since last year’s publication of “The Suspicion at Sandition.”

NEW CRIME AND MYSTERY SERIES

“I’m thrilled to share that the first three titles in my series were not only picked up by a United Kingdom publisher, but also served to launch the publisher’s new cozy mystery line!” Bebris says.

The United Kingdom publisher is The Crime and Mystery Club, which focuses on crime fiction set in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. The cozy imprint that Bebris’ novels are launching is called South Downs Crime & Mystery. Carrie’s titles— “Pride and Prescience,” “Suspense and Sensibility” and “North by Northanger”— came out in January from the imprint, with all new covers.

“I’ve always wished for better distribution particularly in the UK’s Commonwealth,” she says. “I receive emails from readers in Australia, for example, saying they can order my books online, but it takes a long time to receive them. It’s nice to think of my novels appearing in bookstores throughout the Commonwealth.”

Learn more about South Downs Crime & Mystery: www.southdownscrime.co.uk

RESIDENCY FOR WRITERS

In addition to the good news of having her titles launch an imprint, Bebris was accepted into a residency at Ragdale this past March.

Ragdale, a nonprofit artists’ community on the former country estate of architect Howard Van Doren Shaw in Lake Forest, Illinois, offers residencies and fellowships to creative artists of all types. Being accepted into a residency is competitive and requires an application.

Bebris was accepted into an 18-day residency this past March.

“I found the residency transformative,” Bebris says. “I’ve created my own writing retreats in the past, just to get concentrated work time. To not only have that time, but also have it in an environment that nurtures artists, was wonderful!”

Bebris was one of just 13 artists at the site during her residency. The other artists were also writers, she says, as well as two visual artists. Artists take advantage of a fully stocked kitchen to prepare their own simple breakfasts and lunches, but share “family style” meals prepared by a chef.

“In the evenings, we might return to our work, or read from our work to one another,” she says. “The artists opened their studios to share their works-in-progress one evening. It was wonderful to only focus on my creative work, with occasional creative conversations for inspiration.”

Bebris says she was there to focus on work on a stand-alone novel that is not part of her Darcy series but that is set in the same time period.

“For my Austen-inspired series, I have some characters to work with, and create others to complement them,” Bebris says. “For this project, I’m both having fun with and challenged by populating the world I’m creating with all my own characters.”

Learn more about Bebris and her work at www.carriebebris.com

Upcoming Literary Events:

• Monday, July 25, 6 p.m., Miami Township Branch of the Dayton Metro Library (2718 Lyons Road) — Poet Rosa Lane will read from her book “Tiller North.” (Light refreshments at 6 p.m.; reading at 6:30 p.m.) “Tiller North” was the winner of the Sixteen Rivers Press 2014 Poetry Submissions Competition. The cover of the book features a painting by Dayton artist Arlene Loesche Branick. The poetry reading is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.daytonmetrolibrary.org or call (937) 463-BOOK.

• Tuesday, Aug. 2, 7 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene — Cara Mangini, owner and executive chef of Little Eater, a produce-inspired restaurant in Columbus, will introduce her cookbook: “The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini.”

• Thursday, Aug. 4, 7 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene — Kristina McBride, a local author, debuts her third new Young Adult novel, “A Million Times Goodnight.”

• Now through Sept. 1 — Antioch Writers’ Workshop (www.antiochwritersworkshop.com) will accept applications for its fall writers’ retreat, to be held Oct. 14-16. Visit the organization’s website to learn more about the retreat leaders, location, application guidelines and other details.

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