Newberry Sin by C. Hope Clark, blog tour, video & guest post

Newberry Sin by C. Hope Clark, blog tour, video & guest post

Beneath an idyllic veneer of Southern country charm, the town of Newberry hides secrets that may have led to murder. 

When a local landowner’s body, with pants down, is found near Tarleton’s Tea Table Rock—a notorious rendezvous spot, federal investigator Carolina Slade senses a chance to get back into the field again. Just as she discovers what might be a nasty pattern of fraud and blackmail, her petty boss reassigns her fledgling case to her close friend and least qualified person in their office.

Forced to coach an investigation from the sidelines, Slade struggles with the twin demons of professional jealousy and unplanned pregnancy. Something is rotten in Newberry. Her personal life is spiraling out of control. She can’t protect her co-worker. And Wayne Largo complicates everything when the feds step in after it becomes clear that Slade is right.

One wrong move, and Slade may lose everything. Yet it’s practically out of her hands . . . unless she finds a way to take this case back without getting killed.


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Guest Post

The Origin of Newberry Sin

By C. Hope Clark

“Where do you get your ideas?” is a common question asked of authors. Like there’s a special, hidden wellspring of a hidey-hole in our brains that harbors genius, originality, creativity, even madness.

Most concepts, however, unexpectedly spring on an author while innocently watching television, or hearing lyrics on the radio, eying traffic go by, or even deciding a grocery list. Authors are regular people with normal lives, with the writer part of us occasionally seizing control, probably bored with the moment, perking up and thinking, “What if this was more like that instead?” 

First of all, Newberry Sin is the fourth in the Carolina Slade Mysteries. By book four, an author worries about fresh ideas. Series often die on the vine by book three. The preceding books are Lowcountry Bribe, Tidewater Murder, and Palmetto Poison. In case you haven’t figured it out, the titles are based upon a loose setting / crime pattern. 

So, which comes first, the location or the crime? Location came first in this case. A small town in South Carolina, about 40 miles from where I live, once invited me to appear at their tiny AM radio station, WKDK, and talk about my debut novel, Lowcountry Bribe. These Newberry folk loved the rural nature of the story, and the fact my books are set in real South Carolina settings. Carolina Slade is down-to-earth, and she’s a family-oriented girl. While at first blush it sounds cozy, our girl is deeper and edgier than that. People liked her flaws, her sense of justice, and her Southernisms. I let people think she’s me.

An appearance turned into book club visits, more radio shows, and ultimately a keynote gig at the annual Newberry Friends of the Library spring luncheon. Looking out over that sea of spring dresses, even a few bonnets, and homemade chicken salad lunches, I fell in love with ladies who lived like I always wanted to live in the South. Like I imagined my grandmother socializing in rural Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Over a hundred ladies coming together to talk books, hear an author, and catch up on each other’s families. 

Already starting my third book, I right then promised to use their town in a future Slade book. Hopefully for book four.

But my publisher had other thoughts. They wanted a different series for diversification of my talents, so the Edisto Island Mysteries were born. Four Edisto books later, my publisher was pleased, wanting more. 

“Nope,” I said. “We are putting a Carolina Slade book in this next contract, and it will be set in Newberry.”

I got my way. 

But now I needed a crime. Newberry seems so laid back at first, but in my research I’d learned some of its history. Revolutionary War, ghosts galore, prostitutes, trains, bars, the Opera House, and a proud history of having five signatures on South Carolina’s Order of Secession leading to the Civil War. A Confederate cemetery. A long past of agriculture, mainly dairy, that died with changes in legislation. An orchid nursery and a mattress factory. Hunters and farmers. 

Land and sex. Why not? Every small town had rumors about land deals and backdoor sexual escapades. Throw in some blackmail and old family names, and you have the beginnings of a plot. 

The book opens in WKDK’s lobby, at the station, which I found fitting since that’s where my personal story began with Newberry. The cover is a real house from downtown, picture taken on a fantastic, sunshiny spring afternoon around five. Some places mentioned are real, others not. One or two characters may be the offspring of who’s crossed my path on those small-town streets. And a tagline that reads:

Newberry Sin, set in an idyllic small Southern town where blackmail and sex are hush-hush until they become murder.

Life is stranger than fiction in so many cases, and as always, I love people wondering how much of a story is real. The best way to plant that seed is to pick a real place, mention real landmarks, and emphasize real history. From there, the reader’s imagination can do what it will. Just nobody will think of themselves as a prostitute. . . I think.


About Author

C. Hope Clark’s newest release is Newberry Sin, set in an idyllic small Southern town where blackmail and sex are hush-hush until they become murder. The fourth in the Carolina Slade Mysteries. Hope speaks to conferences, libraries, and book clubs across the country, is a regular podcaster for Writer’s Digest, and adores connecting with others. She is also founder of, an award-winning site and newsletter service for writers.  She lives on the banks of Lake Murray in central South Carolina with her federal agent husband where they spin mysteries just for fun.