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Earlene Fowler is an American author that writes mystery novels. Fowler was born in 1954 in California to a sheet metal machinist and a secretary. She is best known for the ‘Benni Harper’ series of novels. The books follow Benni Harper, a museum curator. The stories emphasize the protagonist’s interest in quilting, which is why the individual books use quilt block patterns in their titles.
Order of Benni Harper Series
|1||Fool's Puzzle||1994||Description / Buy|
|2||Irish Chain||1995||Description / Buy|
|3||Kansas Troubles||1996||Description / Buy|
|4||Goose in the Pond||1997||Description / Buy|
|5||Dove in the Window||1998||Description / Buy|
|6||Mariner's Compass||1999||Description / Buy|
|7||Seven Sisters||2000||Description / Buy|
|8||Arkansas Traveler||2001||Description / Buy|
|9||Steps to the Altar||2002||Description / Buy|
|10||Sunshine and Shadow||2003||Description / Buy|
|11||Broken Dishes||2004||Description / Buy|
|12||Delectable Mountains||2005||Description / Buy|
|13||Tumbling Blocks||2007||Description / Buy|
|14||State Fair||2010||Description / Buy|
|15||Spider Web||2011||Description / Buy|
Order of Benni Harper Collections
|1||Benni Harper's Quilt Album (Short Story)||2004||Description / Buy|
Order of Love Mercy Johnson Series
|1||Love Mercy||2009||Description / Buy|
Order of Ruby McGavin Series
|1||The Saddlemaker's Wife||2006||Description / Buy|
|2||The Road to Cardinal Valley||2012||Description / Buy|
Earlene Fowler Anthologies
|1||Murder on Route 66||1998||Description / Buy|
Fowler was 27 years old when she decided that she wanted to write fiction. The author started by doing her research. Besides reading every book on creative writing that she could find in the library, the author also attended numerous writing classes at a number of Southern California Community Colleges.
She also pursued creative writing at Citrus College (Glendora, California). When she finally sat down to pen her stories, the people that knew Fowler expected her to write mysteries. They knew that mysteries constituted a large part of the books she read.
And yet, the mystery genre was the furthest thing from the author’s mind. At the time, rather than writing full-length novels, she was more interested in creating short stories. Most of her projects were character-oriented.
She remembers experimenting with short mystery stories but she couldn’t make them work. The genre wasn’t the problem. Because she was still refining her craft, Earlene Fowler found that she could not tell plot-oriented stories.
Short character-oriented stories were much easier for the author. The notion of writing a proper novel was too daunting for her because it meant sticking with the same characters for a very long time. She was certain that the process would become either exhausting or boring.
Short stories were thrilling because they did not require so much dedication. But part of her also realized that novels were far more satisfying than short stories. Yes, the journey was much longer. But if you had a solid foundation and a decent plot, the characters would become important aspects of your life and they would stay with you for a long time.
Even though she was more comfortable writing short stories, Fowler had every intention of writing a full-length novel at some point. When that time came, the author relied on the influence of her grandmothers to create the mystery novels for which many people know her.
Fowler’s mother, mother-in-law, and grandmothers lived on farms. That was where the author was raised. The women loved to quilt and Fowler inherited the hobby from them, which is why quilting features so prominently in her books.
Her father is responsible for the western influences in the author’s stories. A native of Colorado, Fowler’s father and his parents (migrant workers) spent a lot of time in the West. Fowler, who has strong memories of the south, tries to blend her Western and Southern influences to produce tales with a wide appeal.
Earlene Fowler Awards
Fowler won the Agatha Award in 1999. She has received numerous Agatha Award nominations.
Best Earlene Fowler Books
The author was influenced by writers like Bobbie Ann Mason, Eudora Welty, and James Lee Burke. Fowler’s best books include:
Fool’s Puzzle: Benni Harper was hoping to start over. That meant leaving her late husband’s memories behind and taking a job at a museum in San Celina. Benni was working on an exhibit when she found the remains of an artist.
Someone had stabbed him. Benni was determined to investigate. But the local police chief did not want her anywhere near his case. She was just a sassy cowgirl that had no business investigating the crime. However, Benni had no intention of backing down, not when she had just unearthed a series of family secrets.
Irish Chain: Benni was a teenager when her crush on Clay O’Hara took root. She did not expect to find herself waltzing in his arms. But that is exactly what happened when Benni decided to lend her talents to San Celina’s senior prom. What should have been a pleasant night ended terribly when Clay’s uncle died.
The other victim, also discovered in one of the resident’s rooms of a retirement home, was an elderly woman. Fortunately for Clay, Benni wasn’t just another folk-art expert. She had a knack for solving complex crimes, and she was determined to get to the bottom of the murder.
When Does The Next Earlene Fowler book come out?
Earlene Fowler doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is The Road to Cardinal Valley and was released on December, 31st 2012. It is the newest book in the Ruby McGavin Series.