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Tina deBellegarde Books In Order

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Publication Order of Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery Books

Winter Witness (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Tina deBellegarde is a mystery fiction author from Catskill New York that is best known for her debut novel “Winter Witness.”
She had been secretly writing ever since she was a child but it was not until fifty that she got the courage to share her work with the world. She published her debut in 2020 and the novel spawned the “Batavia-on-Hudson” series of novels.

She is also an author of flash and short fiction and her short fiction works such as “Second Chances” have been featured in prestigious publications such as “Reflex Press,” “Palm Sized Press,” “Ad Hoc Fiction” and “Retreat West.”

Tina still works a day job at the Catskill Public library and in another life she used to be an exporter, paralegal and middle school teacher. deBellegarde currently makes her home in Catskill where she lives with Denis her husband and Shelby the cat.

When she is not working or writing she can be found helping her husband tend to their vegetable garden, pick shiitakes from their mushroom garden and tend to their beehives. In addition to contributing to the jewelry designs her husband makes, she regularly visits her son Allesandro in Kyoto Japan.

deBellagarde was thrilled when she first moved to Catskill as she liked taking walks in the woods near her home. She soon realized that they would be the perfect pace for a murder mystery. The woods were surrounded by cliffs that hid remote hiking trails while steep waterfalls, deep lakes and aging quarries made for a great backdrop.

It was from this that she found the inspiration for the setting in her novel. She had always been drawn to murder mysteries ever since she was little and read Martha Grimes. It allowed her to revel in the small village life while unraveling a murder mystery. It also allowed her to explore the intricate happenings in the many characters in her novels.

When she sat down to write she intended to write something more than the convenitional murder mystery. The small town settings of her novel provided the perfect backdrop that allows readers to get to know everyone. The fact that everybody knows everyone in the small town also makes for more intimate and immediate interactions between the characters.

Tina has said that she lovesmurder mysteries as they allow for deep character studies outside the reality of lives full of consequences and choices, evolution and growth, dreams and secrets.

For the author, murder mysteries are much more as they can be romances, coming to age stories and much more with murder bneing only the instrument used to drive the story forward.

Tina deBellagarde was brought up on a cocktail of authors such as Muriel Spark, Anne Tyler, Alice Adams, Sue Miller and Gail Godwin. These are the women who would influence her perspective of the world.

They made her believe that one could write a woman’s story and it would be worth it. They also taught her about writing beautiful prose and character development which has served her well in her career.

Surprisingly, she has also been influenced by Japanese literature. She often travels to Japan to visit her son and has been immersing herself into Japanese contemporary literature since she loves the cultural sensibilities.

She has also come to love the slice of life and slow burn nature of the Japanese novel and likes works from the likes of Banana Yoshimoto, Haruki Murakami, Mieko Kawakami, Aoko Matsuda and Yoko Ogawa.

As for particular books that have been a huge influence, she cites Martha Grimes’ novel The Manwith the Load as her best ever conventional mystery. It was after she read the novel that she knew that if she wrote “Winter Witness” she would get an audience.

She has also loved the relationship building and characterization in Ann Pathet’s “Bel Canto “and Ocean Vuong’s “On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous.” It was from the latter that she was inspired to write flash fiction.

Just like many authors, the publishing experience was slow but positive as Tina deBellagarde initially did not know how to break in. In the early stages of writing she would attend mystery writing conferences and she found a lot of great resources at them.

Some of the best conferences she attended include the New England Crime Bake and the fan based Malice Domestic conference. The former was a great place where she attended craft workshops, critique and pitch sessions that enabled her to know what readers were looking for.

When she pitched her manuscript there was some interest and a lot of helpful feedback. She used the feedback to improve the manuscript but then put it on her shelf for several months as she was not so sure she was ready for the rigors of trying to find a publisher.

Tina has said that she knew that what she had written was the best she could and the fact that it would be rejected made her very nervous. It was during this time that she began penning short stories which is quite unusual. Unlike many authors who start with short stories, she took the other route starting with a novel.

She discovered that she loved writing short stories and it was not long before she published some and started receiving recognition.

“Winter Witness” by Tina deBellagarde opens to the murder of a much loved nun in a small mountain town named Catskill. A grieving young widow finds herself caught up in turmoil that ensues. Bianca St. Denis is looking for acceptance in Batavia on Hudson where she recently moved, even as she is looking for a job.
Her best friend is Agatha Miller, an aging local historian who knows everything about the town and almost everything about everyone. She has shared long buried secrets with Bianca and she uses this to try to unravel the mystery around the murder even as she has to deal with some eccentric neighbors.

But Bianca’s meddling leads to complications in the investigations being conducted by the local sheriff. Will Mike Riley the sheriff be able to be objective to resolve a murder and keep infighting at bay given his painful past. The closer Bianca gets to the truth the more dangerous it becomes.

Will the sheriff be able to resolve the mystery before another person is killed and will the town be able to heal once its darkest secrets are uncovered.

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