I first happened upon Nicole Kimberling when I read Primal Red, the first in the Bellingham Mysteries series. From the very first sentence, I sensed the author’s deep connection to her story’s setting and it’s quirky, oddball cast of characters. Bellingham, Washington emerges as a character all its own in the Bellingham Mysteries series as the author’s love and respect for her town and it’s idiosyncrasies flows through each storyline. Through Peter Fontaine, steadfast reporter for The Bellinghamster aka The Hamster, the author gives us a character able to reflect on his town many foibles from the new agers to the niche farmers, the arty set to the druids and everything in between. Sometimes it’s with humor, sometimes exasperation, a tiny bit of sarcasm, but mostly Peter investigates and meddles with the non-judgmental fondness of someone who loves and appreciates his town and its people.
Nicole Kimblerling’s writing brings her Bellingham into our lives, complete with realistic characters that embed themselves in your heart and mind. I can’t begin to tell you how often I laughed out loud over the antics of Peter or Evangeline or Peter’s editor, Doug Bowles. Nick, Peter’s boyfriend is far too Nordic for the laugh out loud moments but serves as a needed balance for the hijinks and tomfoolery the others are capable of.
Then there is the many subjects that come up during the course of each mystery. One time it was the plein air artists, another ceramic forgery, and during One Man’s Treasure, it was beekeeping and mushroom poisons. She always sends me rushing to further research a subject she has included in her plots that adds another wonderfully authentic layer to her storyline. It’s marvelous and it fills me with anticipation to see what the next novel in the series brings.
I contacted Nicole Kimberling to talk about herself and her writing and the many elements she brings to her books. And this was her reply to my question about the inclusion of the arts in her mysteries:
“Well, I guess I would say that the reason the arts figure so heavily
in the Bellingham Mysteries is that my wife is an artist so I have had
the good luck to have an expert on the visual arts on hand when I need
to know technical details about paint or clay or counterfeiting. And,
of course, I’ve gone to a lot of openings and gallery shows for her
and for her associates so I’ve met a lot of quirky, real-life
The same goes for the characters in the Farmer’s Market. I actually
worked last season there, selling sandwiches, rain, wind and shine and
so I got a lot of first-hand experience with the culture of the market
and of the local organic farmers here in Whatcom county.
Because I live here, I’m constantly discovering new facets of the city
and new slices of society–more than I think I’ll ever be able to fit
into the stories. There are the illegal mountain bike trail builders,
the rustic folk musicians, the unschoolers, the gamers. And then there
are the institutions, like the bible software company that basically
owns two whole city blocks downtown, the Humane Society, the Alternate
Humane Society, the Alternate Alternate Humane Society… The town is
rich with unexplored weirdness.”
Thanks, Nicole. And yes, that does explain so much about Bellingham and its importance in your writing.
Nicole has generously donated a copy of her book, Primal Red, to be given away during series week. To enter the contest, send me your name, email address and your favorite m/m series. I will pick a winner on Sunday.
Nicole Kimberling’s website: http://www.nicolekimberling.com
Nicole Kimberling lives in Bellingham, Washington with her wife, Dawn Kimberling, two bad cats and approximately 100,000 bees. Her novel, Turnskin, won the Lambda Literary Award for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror.
Books by Nicole Kimberling (available at Loose id, Amazon, All Romance):
Primal Red (Bellingham Mysteries #1)
Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Bellingham Mysteries #2)
Black Cat Ink (Bellingham Mysteries #3)
One Man’s Treasure (Bellingham Mysteries #4)
Hell Cop Anthology #1
Hell Cop Anthology #2