Karen Musser Nortman
I have been fortunate to have two very fulfilling careers. First as a secondary social studies teacher for twenty-two years, and second as a test developer for eighteen years. But when I retired, I knew I couldn't be done yet, because in fourth grade, I had decided to be a writer.
A love of mysteries combined with our avocation of camping provided the inspiration for the Franny Shoemaker campground mysteries. My husband Butch and I originally tent camped when our children were young and switched to a travel trailer a few years back when sleeping on the ground lost its romantic adventure. We take frequent weekend jaunts with friends to parks in Iowa and surrounding states, plus occasional longer trips. Our fellow campers are excellent cooks and we partake in wonderful meals. Entertainment on these trips has ranged from geocaching and hiking/biking to barbecue contests, balloon fests, and buck skinners’ rendezvous. Frannie and Larry will no doubt check out some of these options on their future adventures.
One of the interesting things about camping is that one gets intimate peephole glimpses into the lives of other campers. You see people in their pajamas, disciplining their kids, fixing their meals, or in the showers and yet probably don't even know their names. A natural outcome for me is make up stories that explain some of the odder actions. And surprisingly, I find writing a mystery very similar to developing a test item: you need a justifiable solution that isn't too obvious and lots of attractive distractors.