Bones Under the Ice, by Mary Ann Miller
Author Interview + Book & Author Info
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Bones Under the Ice
Jhonni Laurent is the first female sheriff of Field’ s Crossing, Indiana— and now she has her first murder case
Two days after a blizzard hits Field’ s Crossing, Indiana, Sheriff Jhonni Laurent discovers the frozen body of a high school senior under a fifteen-foot pile of snow and ice. Murder is rare in farm country, and this death marks the beginning of Jhonni’ s first homicide case.
Just as the investigation gets underway, Jhonni’ s opponent for sheriff from four years ago wages a bitter reelection battle to oust her. Then, Jhonni finds another body, and further complications arise when a century-old feud between two families reaches its breaking point.
Soon, a slew of newspaper articles causes the Indiana State Election Board to doubt her credibility. Jhonni must fight to maintain her reputation, keep the small farming community together, and find the murderer at large— all while demons from her own past threaten to crush her. Can she find the killer and mend her battered spirit before it’ s too late?
To purchase Bones Under the Ice click any of the following links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Books A Million, Google Play, Indie Bound.
Bones Under the Ice — Author Interview
Bones Under the Ice is set in Field’s Crossing, Indiana. Tell us about that community and why you chose a small Midwest won as the setting for your debut novel.
I grew up in a small town, Bartlett, Illinois and I remember when we were young there were cows in a pasture at the end of the street. My parents tell me they bought the second house on the street and they still live there.
After finishing college and getting married, Mike and I bought our first home in Barrington, Illinois, another small town in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. As our children grew up, there was a sense of security, that everyone knew everyone else. We would walk down Cook Street to get ice cream and stop and chat with neighbors along the way.
Small towns are all I know so when it came time to choose a setting, it was easy. Field’s Crossing is a mixture of all of the small towns I have lived in and the one I currently live in, Winter Garden, Florida.
What would you like the reader to know about Sheriff Jhonni Laurent, the main character in Bones Under the Ice?
Sheriff Jhonni Laurent is not a spring chicken. She is 52 years old and down to earth, common sense type of person. She loves music, gardening, and her job, but the past haunts her. When the daughter she gave up for adoption contacts her, Jhonni is shocked and scared. She thought that chapter of her life was closed. Should she open that chapter up again? Will she get hurt again? The uncertainty keeps her awake at night.
Tell us about your publishing journey for Bones Under the Ice.
I began writing during my days as a crossing guard. I was at Ladies Night Out and telling stories about the kids who came through my corner and what they said. One of the women suggested I write the stories down and that led to – what else can I write?
I was fortunate to sign with Dawn Dowdle from the Blue Ridge Literary Agency in July 2021 and she placed my debut novel and the next novel in the series with Oceanview Publishing in February 2022.
How alike are you and the main character?
Many readers think that an author’s first novel is a reflection of the author and in some ways, it’s true. Growing up, I played the violin. Jhonni Laurent plays the cello. I’m a Midwest gardener and so is my main character. Many of Jhonni Laurent’s food and beverage choices are my own, ice tea with lemon, tuna on rye. But some things are the exact opposite. I’m only five feet tall. Jhonni is five feet, ten inches. I always wanted to be taller. Her hair is only beginning to turn gray. Mine started turning gray when I was twenty-five years old.
What can we find you doing when you aren’t writing or reading?
Babysitting my new granddaughter, Emory, who lives seventeen houses away. Landscaping our Florida home. Very different than the Midwest. I’m also a full-time caregiver for my husband, Mike, who suffered a stroke in 2021 and continues to have complications. The next book in the Jhonni Laurent series is ready for submission to my publisher and book three is beginning to take shape in my mind.
Words of wisdom for aspiring writers:
As the song says, “the road is long with many a winding turn …” Stick to it. It took me over ten years to learn how to write and find an agent and I’m still learning. Learn something new every day. Keep your mind and your body active.
Mary Ann Miller — Author of Bones Under the Ice
Mary Ann Miller is a debut author, currently living in Florida with her husband, where she is working on the second novel in the series.
She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northern Illinois University and earned a paralegal certificate with Roosevelt University.
Miller is a member of MWA, ITW, and Sisters in Crime and when not writing, can be found reading poolside or hosting family and friends fleeing the cold winters of the north.
To learn more about Mary Ann, click on her name, photo, or any of the following links: Website, Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, BookBub, LinkedIn
Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell
Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator
Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery
The Foundation of Plot, a Wait, Wait, Don’t Query (Yet!) guidebook. Amazon #1 bestseller
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