Friday, August 05, 2016

Please Welcome Mystery Author Lisa Alber

Omnimystery News: Guest Post by Lisa Alber

We are delighted to welcome author Lisa Alber to Omnimystery News.

Lisa's second mystery in her County Clare series is Whispers in the Mist (Midnight Ink; August 2016 trade paperback and ebook formats) and today she revisits one of the inspirations for the book.

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Lisa Alber
Photo provided courtesy of Lisa Alber

One of the best things about writing novels set in Ireland is the research travel. I've been to Ireland four times: 2002, 2004, 2006, and this past spring, 2016. (A full decade later! I still can't believe that, but, on the other hand, it's a testament to how long it can take to get books published in this biz.)

Whenever I go to Ireland I make myself a regular at a couple of pubs. For research purposes, of course. I'm forever eavesdropping on the locals and writing down funny turns of phrase. And one of the greatest things about the advent of smartphones is that I can take pictures in a low-key way. No one seems to mind when you aim a smartphone at them; they barely notice.

So this last time, I was keen to go back to Lynch's, one of the inspirations for Whispers in the Mist, my second novel in the County Clare mystery series. It was a cozy kind of bar that catered to both locals and tourists, with a fireplace, hunting prints on the wall, and a long, shiny bar counter.

Lisa Alber
Photo provided courtesy of Lisa Alber

I didn't mean for Lynch's to become an inspiration. I hung out there in 2006, long before Whispers was a spark of imagination. A few years later, writing the first draft of what would eventually become the novel, I found myself creating a mini-world within my fictional world: a pub called "The Plough and Trough." It bore a remarkable resemblance to the Lynch's I remembered.

I hadn't realized how much I'd absorbed pub life until I started writing the first draft, and then — whoa — I had a crew of regulars who called themselves "the crows," a half-French bar owner named Alan, and even a shop dog named Bijou. This little world ended up being critical to the unfolding murder investigation of a teenage boy.

Two mysterious strangers arrive in town — they go to the Plough. DS Danny Ahern, my detective, wants a pint, he hangs out at the Plough. An unlikely hero and villain in plain view all hang out at the Plough. A romance begins there. Old friends fight there. My other protagonist, Merrit Chase, ex-Californian, gets dissed by the locals there.

Lisa Alber
Photo provided courtesy of Lisa Alber

The pathos of human life — grief, anger, happiness — in one place. I suppose this is the big thing I absorbed while hanging around pubs. Perhaps it's particularly Irish that their pubs are so central to village life, I don't know, but I do know pub life made for a great centerpiece motif for the story, and so when I returned to Ireland for more research in March/April, I couldn't wait to refresh my memory banks at Lynch's.

I learned a little lesson about time marching on. It does and it did. Lynch's sat dark and deserted on the plaza, a gathering place no more. There's nothing like reality slamming into memory to bum a person out!

Yet, it's a funny thing about memories — they continue on vivid and bright, lending themselves to my fictional world.

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Lisa Alber graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in economics (of all things) and a minor in Spanish literature (to keep her sanity). In various incarnations, she has worked as a librarian's assistant, financial analyst in Ecuador and Brazil, cocktail waitress, journalist, and, most recently, technical writer. By far, her favorite short-lived career choice was book publishing, where she worked in the editorial departments at Warner Books and Doubleday. Lisa lives in Oregon with a spunky Chihuahua mix, an accident-prone cat, and her trusty laptop. She likes photography, gardening, red wine, and scary movies. She's an active member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

For more information about the author, please visit her website at and her author page on Goodreads, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Whispers in the Mist by Lisa Alber

Whispers in the Mist by Lisa Alber

A County Clare Mystery

Publisher: Midnight Ink Print/Kindle Format(s) Print/Nook Format(s)iTunes iBook FormatKobo eBook Format

In Lisfenora, Ireland, a strange fog has rolled in off the Atlantic. Along with the fog comes tales of Grey Man, a predatory faery of local lore who snatches innocent souls into his deadly gloom.

When a teenage boy dies in Detective Sergeant Danny Ahern's arms, Danny finds himself pursuing his own grey man, a killer who becomes more elusive the closer Danny gets to the truth. A mute woman may be the key to solving the murder and helping Danny heal his own broken life, but first she must unlock the memories from her past.

Whispers in the Mist by Lisa Alber


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