Article for Marni Graff’s Blog @ http://bit.ly/1UbvI9Q
By Jerrye Sumrall
How The Bayshore Mysteries began: Although my idea of doing a children’s mystery series didn’t come to me until later in life, the framework started when I was a child. I grew up in a small southern town with lots of freedom to play and explore my surroundings. As with all childhoods, there were ups and downs, but these experiences along with a vivid imagination and fascination with the unknown served as a springboard for my writing. In my adult years, my experience as a teacher and counselor further developed the writing framework that later grew into a unique children’s series, The Bayshore Mysteries.
Why I chose to write for the middle grade audience and how I got my ideas: I decided to write for the middle-grade audience because I’ve had the most experience with that group of children, and it was the age I remember so fondly as a child. I think my ideas came naturally from my fascination with mystery, adventure and the unknown, even into adulthood. I have always been intrigued with horror flicks, mystery books, and any entertainment venue with a mysterious setting and plot. I have also been fascinated with local historical settings that could easily be transformed into a mystery plot. That is actually how all of my books began. I would pick the historical location, choose the characters, and devise a mystery plot that would fit the characters and setting.
What are the historical settings for my books: The historical settings in my books are ones that I could easily research and visit. I am fortunate to live in an area that is full of history and suspense, wrapped up in unique settings. The Eastern Shore region of Mobile Bay, an area rich in Civil War history and small town culture, serves as a springboard for my first book, Intruders on Battleship Island. The Beatrice and Monroeville, AL, setting, found in The Secret Graveyard, brings to life new mysteries and secrets from that area. Mobile, Al, with its festive Mardi Gras celebration and spooky swamp setting serves as the backdrop for The Mystery of Wragg Swamp. Mound Island located deep in the delta region of Baldwin county Al, serves as the setting for the fourth book in the series, Mystery on Mound Island. Historic Blakeley State park in Spanish Fort, Al, the site of the old town of Blakeley, Fort Blakeley, and the last Civil War battle serves as the setting for the fifth book in the series, The Ghost of Blakeley Past.
My emphasis on relationships and understanding others: For the character relationship aspect of the stories, I wanted to emphasize getting along and understanding others. In addition to the main characters that appear in each of my books, I have also included at least one new character who was either annoying, disliked, or very misunderstood. Through the course of each story, the characters all learned important lessons in friendship, courage, and determination. That idea came from my own childhood and from my experience as a teacher and counselor.
In summary: In each one of my books, I’ve tried to incorporate mystery, action and adventure, local history, and enduring characters who learn lessons in friendship, courage, and self-awareness. I feel that my choice of unusual settings, my use of historical fact, my presentation of age-appropriate mystery, and my focus on lessons in self-reliance and respect for others has made The Bayshore Mysteries a unique middle grade series.
Biography for Jerrye Sumrall: Jerrye Sumrall lives in Spanish Fort, Alabama with her husband. Formerly an elementary schoolteacher and counselor, she is now a full-time writer, homemaker, amateur photographer and office manager for she and her husband’s business. She is the author of five middle grade books: Intruders on Battleship Island, The Secret Graveyard, The Mystery of Wragg Swamp, Mystery on Mound Island, and The Ghost of Blakeley Past, all part of a mystery series called, The Bayshore Mysteries.
*For more information about Jerrye Sumrall: Please visit her websites
*All five books in The Bayshore Mysteries can be purchased in print and e-book format at Amazon.com http://amzn.to/1ji9HE9