Beloit author draws on real life as she pens 'cozy mystery' book series

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Photo by Debra Jensen-De Hart Local author Sherry Blakeley has completed her second book in her Auction House Mystery series, titled "The Case of the Belligerent Bidder," published by New Light Productions, LLC. She is pictured in her historic Beloit home where she completes her work.

BELOIT - Attention cozy mystery lovers: the second book in Sherry Blakeley's Auction House Mystery series has been published and is now available.

"The Case of the Belligerent Bidder" follows her first book, "The Case of the Angry Auctioneer."

Readers will continue to follow Jasper Biggs, the main character, on another of life's adventures in the world or auctioneering, love and of course murder.

Biggs becomes an amateur sleuth early on in the novel when she and a date discover a dead body.

From there, things get more complicated and even ghostly as she mixes work, pleasure and sleuthing.

For those who aren't aware, Blakeley's book titles and plots are linked to the alphabet. She is already at work on her third book, "The Case of the Cheating Chanter."

While the first book took the Beloit author about six years to complete, and the second one took three years, the dynamics of that has changed.

"I've learned the structure of a cozy mystery. They are plot driven," she said.

"The murder occurs pretty early on in the book. I think of it as three acts when I'm writing," Blakeley said. "I'm also busy getting the characters presented in the first part of the book."

As a result of knowing the structure, from now on, Blakeley said she plans on completing three to four books per year. She writes in a cozy niche of her historic home, usually about three hours a day.

As for her material, Blakeley draws from some of her real life experiences.

Like her character, Jasper Biggs, she knows auctions and has worked as an auctioneer.

"I learned how to do the auctioneer's chant when I was a professional, licensed auctioneer," she said.

She can still do the chant with a little encouragement.

Blakeley also worked at the Beloit Historical Society when it was located in the Hanchett-Bartlett Homestead.

From those two jobs, she learned about antiques and old houses, which helped provide fodder for writing the cozy novels.

As for the ghostly appearances in her books, just as Jasper Biggs has a twin who is a medium, Blakeley also has a twin sister who is a medium in Colorado.

"But these are not the type of ghosts that frighten people, they are helpful ghosts," she said.

Blakeley earned a Bachelor of Art degree in English composition and literature from Beloit College and is an award-winning author. She lives in Beloit and also attended the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. She previously worked as a journalist and has published several articles about auctions, antiques and other topics. She writes poetry and is a member of the Pen Pals monthly writing group. Blakeley also serves on the Beloit City Council.

Of the series she is undertaking she had this to say: "What I want to do with these stories is to tell a good story and introduce people to small city life in the Midwest," she said.

Those who read the books will see similarities to Beloit.

Her books can be found on Amazon by typing in her name. The first book is $10.50; Kindle is $2.99. The new book is $11; Kindle is $3.99.

Blakeley also will be featured in two author events where those who attend can purchase a book and talk to her.

The first event is from 3 - 5 p.m. on Nov. 23 at the Villager in downtown Beloit.

The second event is set for 7 - 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 19 at the Beloit Public Library for a book talk and signing.

Blakeley said she also is open to speaking to book clubs about her work.

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