Yes, though this is a youth read—for those spanning the ages of eight to twelve—I dove in and read Mystery at Point Beach for myself! I enjoyed the book and especially delighted in the true historical aspects that triggered the character’s adventure! This is a clever story and a page turner. Can you believe it, I gave several of these books to young people and the one parent told me she also read it and enjoyed every word! Thank you, Saralie T., for sharing your delight of this mystery with me also.
How fun it was for my granddaughter and myself to attend the book signing for Mystery at Point Beach at the actual location of sundae wars inspiration! Point Beach campsite is an actual location and the main character was modeled after a young man who attended the book signing! Imagine being so young and having someone write you in as the main character of the book! Fun fun—well that will be what you enjoy when you crack open the pages of this novel and share it with someone ready for adventure and entertainment and more than a few chuckles!
Thank you, Kate Jungwirth and Deborah Ann Erdmann for such a unique and enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to your next in this series!
How long did it take you to convince the young man, who is the main character, to allow you to write him into an adventure?
The idea for the book came from a weekend camping trip at Point Beach. My brother's grandson, Dominic, came biking into our campsite with a whopper of a story. He claimed he was biking down a trail, whistling "Who Stole the Kishka," when he ran into the park ranger. According to Dominic, the ranger told him to "Knock it off." It's obvious that Dominic had a wild imagination. I thought it was a great idea for a book. The following summer on our annual camping trip, I read a few chapters to Dominic and my brother and sister-in-law at the campfire. They all loved the story and Dominic was especially thrilled to be the main character.
Tell us about how you discovered the intriguing history that became a main element in this story.
Kate said: The original story revolved around a Manitowoc jewelry store robbery, but I felt that Two Rivers would be a better location for the crime scene since it's closer to Point Beach. While researching local businesses, I accidently discovered the history that revolves around the ice cream sundae controversies. It seemed like a fun and fanciful way to draw in young readers, and add to the element of humor that runs through the story. The nice thing about using Point Beach and the Washington House, is that the reader can actually go to these places in person, or online, and make discoveries of their own.
Do you know the next title of the following book in this series? Do you wish to give us a spoiler for that novel?
The next subtitle in the MAPB series is, Pirate Booty. Believe it or not, there were a few notorious pirates on the Great Lakes, and history reveals that sailors sometimes had more to worry about than just stormy weather. The mystery that resurfaces at Point Beach in the second book, will lead the young detectives on a treasure hunt they'll never forget.
How did you choose the cover by Henry Kiryowa Luja and Kawooya Tonny?
I asked Kate if we could ask Henry to design our book cover. Kate agreed, so I emailed the manuscript to Henry. Henry and his team came up with several designs, however, Kate and I were unsure if any of them were right for this project. So, we launched a contest, offering $200 to the winning designer. Though we received some nice covers, we still weren't sure, so then we asked family and friends to look at the contest samples, and we included Henry's designs as well. Much to our delight, the young readers in our circle of friends all chose the cover (Henry's) that we ended up using.
Do you want to share anything else about these artists?
I met Henry Kiryowa Luja online a few years ago. Henry grew up at Bulamu orphanage. Once a person reaches the age of adulthood, they are required to leave the orphanage. What usually happens at that point, is the young person goes back to living on the streets, struggling to survive. Henry was fortunate in that God has gifted him as an artist. He paints, carves wood, does screen printing, makes jewelry and much more. And because Henry has such a big heart, he brings in some of the orphans from Bulamu into an apprenticeship program at his art studio so that they can learn life-skills. I was blessed to have met Henry in person a few years ago. He is a beautiful soul.
What is your favorite memory for developing this story?
What made this project especially fun for me, was the fact that we used Point Beach in the story, and other local establishments as well. It provided a good setting, and most of the characters used were actually based on real people: the camp hosts who are there every summer, and actually do decorate their site with electric palm trees (though I don't know if they're still hosting there anymore). There is a hippie reunion in the book, with colorful 'groovy' characters. One summer when we camped at Point Beach, a group of hippies in tye-die clothing were playing Woodstock music at their site, so I included hippies in the adventure. The quirky Ranger Rick character is based on the actual ranger who gave Dominic a hard time that summer. I also used our favorite site at Point Beach, site #127. Dominic and Grandpa Bob are camping in a Nimrod, which is a relic of a camper. Years ago, our family had a Nimrod, so it brings back good memories.
My favorite memory for developing this story was when I read it out loud to my then, 8-year-old son, and my husband. They could not wait for me to read another chapter. That's when I knew we were doing a good job.
I see that this is a READERS FAORITE FIVE STARS book! Well done. What do you have to say about that recognition?
We are pleased that 'Mystery at Point Beach' received 5 stars from the Readers Choice Awards. It was an honor to have them review our book.
Where can your readers connect with you?
You can find us online at: (Facebook.com/MysteryatPointBeach), and our website: (www.MysteryatPointBeach.com). We have some fun facts from the book on the website, and plan on adding some interactive elements for the young people. We are also considering adding a section for our readers who would like to share their favorite memories of Point Beach.
Susan Marlene Kinney is published in Splickety Love magazine and newspapers. She writes devotions, fiction, and nonfiction. She is a member and co-founder of Pens of Praise Christian Writers and is a member of Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, ACFW WISE, and Lighthouse Christian Writers. She speaks at writers groups and prepares devotions and teachings often for Pens of Praise Christian Writers. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and At-Risk Teacher’s Aide. She loves antiques and training her Leonberger, who in turn loves to train her. But don't tell the cat, she thinks she has everyone under control.