Mary Lu Scholl writes as quickly as a summer band of rain breezes through the Nature Coast.
Since moving to the Crystal River area in 2018, she has self-published eight in a series of Trailer Park Travails “cozy” mysteries and the ninth, “Fatal Philandering,” should be available imminently. Other cozies are underway.
Scholl also has self-published three “brozies,” a mystery novel which is like a cozy, only with a male protagonist. A cozy mystery is short and doesn’t have a lot of “sex, blood, gore, or profanity,” according to Scholl.
She is one of three writers who will read and discuss their work at 7 p.m. May 12 at Rainbow Springs Art in Dunnellon, 20804 W. Pennsylvania Ave. Tickets are $5. Call 352-445-8547 or see www.rainbowspringsart.com.
Scholl said cozy and brozy mysteries are set in a “small location with a limited number of characters.” Her books take place in a Nature Coast trailer park.
And a cozy or brozy sleuth often is an amateur.
“The characters are the point,” Scholl said.
In total, Scholl has published 15 “traditional books,” she said, as well as other books for family members, including her sister, Elizabeth Kesler, who writes and illustrates Christian-oriented children’s books. Kesler has gone on to publish her own books.
Scholl turned to brozies as a challenge to see if she could write from a male point-of-view, she said.
Her hero is Bernie Murphy, “a handsome Irishman, who relocated to the Nature Coast to connect with his family,” Scholl said.
Scholl, who is Irish, persuaded her uncle, Bradford Hill, to pose as Bernie on the covers of the writer’s three brozies.
In the cozies, Patty Decker is the heroine, and Scholl admits that “Patty is me from the get-go. But I hope I’m a little more socially adept. She says things that I would not say, although I might think them. She’s a little more OCD.”
However, Scholl also admits that she, herself, needs the TV volume to be set at multiples of 5. When an unsuspecting fellow TV viewer had the volume set at 27, Scholl got up and went to bed.
Scholl’s three brozies feature mythical creatures. In “The Lecanto Leprechaun,” first in her “Nature Coast Calamities” series of brozies, a cantankerous leprechaun doesn’t make Bernie Murphy’s life any easier.
In Scholl’s second Nature Coast Calamity brozy, “Big Foot and the Bentley,” a gruagach, or Irish equivalent of Big Foot, makes an appearance. Or does he?
And in Scholl’s third Nature Coast Calamity brozy, “InverNessie,” guess who may be prowling the Floral City Pool?
Yup, the American equivalent of the Loch Ness monster.
But as Scholl points out, these denizens of the forests and lakes are “ancillary to the main plot.”
To find out the details of Bentley cars, the Loch Ness monster, and the Tsala Apopka chain of lakes, Scholl hits Google and Wikipedia hard, she said.
She’s got Irish mythology books which she said are written in Old English with Gaelic passages. The Gaelic “is Greek to me,” Scholl jokes.
She interviews people who are in-the-know for additional information.
Scholl, who retired as a supervisor with the U.S. Postal Service after 27 years, has held a range of jobs and now is employed as a casual worker for the Citrus County Park and Recreation department.
She told how at special events in which alcohol is served, a sheriff’s deputy is on duty to make sure no one becomes too inebriated.
She approached a deputy at one such event and asked, “If you found a body in a canal, who would respond?”
The answer is, “It depends,” Scholl said.
The closest law enforcement officer and/or vehicle would respond.
The case would be within the purview of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The U.S. Coast Guard probably would be in charge. But the Coast Guard may be short-staffed, so the Coast Guard probably would align with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Department.
To research boats, fishing, and other watery topics, Scholl talked to her uncle and brother, and such places as Homosassa Marine. To find out about classic cars, she approached members of the Citrus County Cruisers car club.
And she’s discovered some fascinating information.
For example, only a handful of insurance companies will insure Bentleys. But Bentley owners may choose to not insure their luxury vehicles because the owners may have so much money they can afford to take the risk, according to Scholl.
Scientists have sampled the Environmental DNA, (eDNA) of Loch Ness and have determined no reptiles have lived there. This rules out the possibility that Nessie is a dinosaur, Scholl said. Nessie also is not likely a large fish, like a shark, catfish, or giant sturgeon.
Most likely, the Loch Ness monster is a giant snake or eel, Scholl said.
And that research leads to tidbits about eels.
Did you know most American, European, and West African eels are born in the Sargasso Sea?
Scholl’s facts send her readers scampering to the Internet for more information.
The Sargasso Sea, in the Atlantic Ocean, is about 700 miles wide and 2,000 miles long and bounded by ocean currents, not land. It is part of the Atlantic Ocean and within the Bermuda Triangle.
Scholl also is knowledgeable about poison. She writes murder-mysteries, so it’s a professional necessity.
In her garden, she raises poinsettias, alstroemeria, poke weeds, bougainvillea, foxglove, and milkweed. Who knew they all were poisonous? Scholl does.
A co-worker joked that she’d be careful not to pick anything in Scholl’s garden. That was before the woman knew what Scholl was growing. The woman simply had read Scholl’s work.
And Scholl didn’t know her colleague was among her readers.
The woman mentioning her desire to avoid the garden was the highest form of praise for Scholl.
Scholl said when a reader refers to something he or she has read in one of Scholl’s books, or quotes a passage, or laughs over a word, character, or scene, that is her reward. It’s one of the reasons she writes.
Writing brozies is challenging Scholl to push her artistic envelope by writing from a man’s perspective.
But she said she finds the thought of writing a longer novel and weaving a theme throughout to the end somewhat intimidating and something she might not try.
However, penning an epic poem might be a challenge worth accepting.
She said she’s enough of a traditionalist to believe the lines in a poem should rhyme, and they should be written with meter and in stanzas.
As she said, “I’ve always wanted to write “Beowulf.”
You can find Scholl’s books on Amazon.com, and some are on barnesandnoble.com and audible.com. You also can find her on Facebook by searching for “Mary Lu Scholl author.”
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