Joan Young releases fourth mystery book, “Dead Mule Swamp Druggist.”

December 14, 2017

Author Joan Young

Joan Young releases fourth mystery book, “Dead Mule Swamp Druggist.”

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

Somewhere towards the middle of Forest County, on the shores of Dead Mule Swamp, lives Anastasia Raven. The 40-some-year-old is fairly new to the rural Midwestern town, transplanting herself from Chicago after her husband of over 20 years left her for a man. Since moving to the tiny town, she has found herself caught up in some mysteries. The latest is the mystery of the “Dead Mule Swamp Druggist.”

Anastasia is the main character in a series of books written by Amber Township resident Joan Young. “Dead Mule Swamp Druggist,” the fourth book in the series, was recently released in e-book format and will be available in print on Dec. 26.

The Book Mark, 201 S. Rath Ave., in downtown Ludington will host a book signing event on Jan. 6 at 4 p.m.

The latest mystery finds Anastasia discovering four mysterious drug-related deaths in her small town. They all seem to lead back to Charlie Dixon, the local druggist. Anastasia’s investigations lead her to uncover some of the darker aspects of small town life.

Joan says she loves to write about small town and while a local reader may find some things about her books’ locations familiar, those are pretty much pure coincidence, she says with a smile.

“I made up a fictional county and while everything should sound very familiar nothing is recognizable. It’s more of a composite of different places. I have lived in small towns all of my life and I prefer it that way.”

Joan released her first Anastasia Raven book in 2011, but she has been writing since she was about 7-years-old, she says.

“Writing a book is mostly the result of putting yourself in a chair and writing,” she says. The previous books each took about a year to write. The latest has taken three years. “Ideally, I would write at least one book in the series per year. If you develop characters and a series that people like, there are readers who are always eager to buy the next book. I know one author of a mystery series that puts out four a year.”

Joan likes to work her way backwards, starting with who died and who the murderer was. “Sometimes I end up changing the killer. I don’t necessarily have every tiny bit of the plot worked out when I start. I tend to be fairly flexible.

“I tend to write what are called cozy mysteries, where it’s like a puzzle. Most of the violence happens ‘off stage’ and there are less sexual innuendos and less romance. My books are pretty much a puzzle.”

Writing the book is only part of the process. After it’s completed Joan goes through an extensive editing process. Then, she needs to design a cover. “There are professional cover providers that aren’t too expensive. There are also stock covers for a lower price that aren’t too bad. Don’t do your own cover unless you’ve had some graphics training. The cover can make the difference between sales and no sales. It’s your first impression with a potential reader.

“Somewhere in there, you will have chosen if you want to do e-books, paper, or both. E-books are easy for starters, and there is very little cost to take a chance. Smashwords both sells e-books on its site, and distributes to B&N, Kobo, and i-books and OverDrive (library service). Amazon only sells on its site. Each has a definite format you must follow, but their are good directions.”

Joan uses Amazon’s CreateSpace for self publishing. She says the service allows her to print on-demand, whether it’s one book or 1,000 books.

Joan’s books can be purchased locally at the Book Mark and are also available online at Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Kobo, iBooks, and Smashwords. She says she would like to see her books in local libraries and is hoping they will be picked up.

Within the next year, she is going to change direction a little bit and write mystery books targeted toward younger readers.

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