The Tail Waggin’ Winterfest is the highlight of the season in the famously pet-friendly Pocono Mountains town of Sylvan Creek. But despite attractions like an ice sculpture display, a dogsled race, and gourmet hot chocolate, Daphne Templeton finds herself annoyed by TV producer Lauren Savidge, who’s filming the festivities. She’s critical, controlling, and as chilly as the January air. Daphne would like to tell her to go jump in a lake—and as a matter of fact, that’s exactly what they’re both going to do . . .
It’s the first-ever polar bear plunge in Lake Wallapawakee, and Daphne and Lauren are among the eighty or so people who charge into the frigid water to raise funds for animals in need. Daphne makes it back to shore—with the help of a mysterious St. Bernard—but Lauren is dragged out stone cold dead. Now, with her trusty basset hound Socrates at her side, Daphne intends to assist Detective Jonathan Black in his investigation—whether he wants her to or not . . .
Includes recipes for homemade pet treats!
Interview with Bethany Blake
Bethany, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist Daphne?
Daphne Templeton holds a doctorate in philosophy, but she’s content working as a pet sitter in the quaint town of Sylvan Creek, Pennsylvania. She loves to travel, but she’s increasingly setting down roots in her hometown. She drives an unreliable VW bus, bakes for pets and people, and solves crimes with her basset hound sidekick, Socrates.
Would you get along with Daphne if you met her in real life?
I would love Daphne, because she has a big heart. She’s hugely loyal to her family and friends, and she loves life.
Are you and Daphne anything alike?
We are similar in that I also hold a doctorate that I’ve never used, and I once owned a small pet sitting business. I’m also kind of disorganized. But I’m a worrier, while Daphne charges through life pretty fearlessly.
Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?
Yes! Daphne starts out being very reckless and irresponsible. Maybe too reckless and irresponsible. As the series continues, she becomes more thoughtful and sets down roots. On the flipside, Detective Jonathan Black is initially very rigid and protective of his emotions and his past. As he and Daphne battle to solve crimes, he learns to loosen up, and he slowly reveals the truth about his time as a Navy SEAL—and the secret that compelled him to leave the military.
How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
Sylvan Creek is based very closely on my hometown of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. I lived in the apartment that Daphne’s best friend, Moxie Bloom, “occupies” in the novel, and there’s a park with creek that rambles past a gazebo. Those are just a few of the similarities. But I’ve added a lot of fun things to Sylvan Creek, like some amazing restaurants that don’t actually exist in Lewisburg.
When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?
Keri Russell has Daphne’s curly hair and quirky vibe. I honestly can’t pick an actor to play Jonathan Black. No one quite has the mix of intensity and humor. I am open to suggestions!
What’s the best and worst advice you’ve heard or received as an author?
The best advice I received was to join groups like Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America. They provide information, support and opportunities for networking. I don’t know that I’ve ever received truly bad advice. My network of friends and family have always encouraged me to keep going. As long as you have that, I think you’re okay.
About the author
Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing or riding horses, she’s wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.