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New mystery by Lake Clear author explores Adirondack great camp culture

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Lake Clear author Jamie Sheffield recently published another novel in his mystery/crime series featuring protagonist Tyler Cunningham. Sheffield, who teaches at Lake Placid Central School, writes mostly during the summer months. "Caretakers" is the sequel to his debut novel, "Here Be Monsters," and once again pitches Tyler Cunningham, an unconventional hero, into another mystery set in the Adirondacks.

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Todd Moe
Morning Host and Producer

"'Caretakers' explores great camp society, great camp history a little bit. I spent a lot of my summers when I was kid growing up in what I think is a 'pretty good camp,' it wasn't one of the actual great camps, but it was a camp my parents owned on upper Saranac Lake, and a lot of the themes from 'Caretakers' come from my experiences as a child on that camp."

I want the Adirondacks to be a character in my book because I think it's such a unique and interesting place.
Sheffield says there's the Adirondacks' remoteness that makes the area a special place to set a mystery. He says the area's particular history is also appealing: the great camps, and exploring the history of the dichotomy of summer people and year-round residents. "It's a personal thing for me, I've lived here full-time for 16 years but I also grew up coming up here in the summer, and I want the Adirondacks to be a character in my book because I think it's such a unique and interesting place."

Sheffield says writing mysteries is both easy and a lot of work: "The easy part is getting the stories out. I get an idea initially for a story…and then I write, I don't know if it's Earnest Hemingway or somebody else said, 'write quickly, edit slowly.' That's what I do." Sheffield wrote both of his novels during the summer, when he's not teaching school, over a period of about a month. "I would write about 2,000 to 3,000 words a day I guess, and didn't worry if it was perfect, didn't worry about spelling certainly, just wanted to get the ideas of my story out." His wife Gail looks at his draft, and they work together over the next couple months to "knock it into shape. That's the hard part."

This won't be the last we hear of Tyler Cunningham. Sheffield is working on the next novella, and expects it out in about a month. He's also got "a couple novellas on deck," and plans to start his next novel next summer.

"One of my great pleasures," Sheffield says, "is hearing people who live in the Adirondacks tell me how much they've enjoyed getting the details from the books." He also blogs and is active on social media, where he's heard from readers from as far away as Australia (although that one was through the postal service.)   

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