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DROWNING LESSONS (A Red Frog Beach Mystery) by Rachel Neuburger Reynolds is on book tour with Great Escapes Book Tours. The tour stops ...

DROWNING LESSONS (A Red Frog Beach Mystery) by Rachel Neuburger Reynolds is on book tour with Great Escapes Book Tours. The tour stops at Readeropolis with a character interview and a giveaway. Enjoy!


by Rachel Neuburger Reynolds

For many years, I had an idea of writing a mystery about a destination wedding, always with the plan to have the protagonist be the bride herself. After a shot at writing her in Drowning Lessons, I could see that it wasn’t working. At the time, I hadn’t yet had the experience of being a bride, and decided that the best route would be a narration by the maid of honor, and that has worked a charm.

I thought that a Bridezilla out of control would be a really fun part of it, and luckily I’d never had the unfortunate pleasure of dealing with one. Okay, maybe once I had a good friend lock all the doors to the church, leaving all the guests outside for the best part of an hour, but all in the vague realm of normalcy.

So as we writers do: research, research, research. Anecdotally I’d heard stories from friends about their horrific experiences. They were humorous in retrospect, but painful in the moment. I was astounded by some of the insanity that I uncovered on this journey. A friend in Richmond, VA had been a bridesmaid at a wedding, the journey starting six months ahead of time with a contract; items including forbidding the 9-person bridal party to wear bathing suits other than strapless until the wedding, so no tan lines would be in sight on the day of the wedding. It went on to dictate shades of hair and a maximum weight at the time of the wedding. Clearly not being a legally binding contract, I’m not positive of how that worked out in the end.

Knock me over with a feather! The next friend I talked to in New York had me incredulous of what she had suffered (I kid you not) during the ordeal of her best friend’s wedding. I had met her friend, and never particularly liked her, but was told that she’d come down with wedding-itis and this was not truly her.

I was infuriated on my friend’s behalf. She didn’t sound like a friend at all, and I encouraged her to drop the friendship altogether. By this point, they’d been friends since they were sixteen, which constitutes almost being part of the family. That’s the thing: people change.

And thus, the relationship in my book between the maid of honor, Lexie, and Bridezilla Olivia was born. I softened the model of this character. I had to! I started with an event that I still think is hilarious. She had required all the bridesmaids to make sure that they collected all phones, cell phones, and cameras as they arrived at their short trip. In theory, not a terrible idea.

There were quite a few drafts of Drowning Lessons, which I went through before getting to the book currently released. Four people read the first draft, unanimous and adamant about the fact that no one would ever believe that someone would put up with the kind of treatment Lexie went through.

But she did…

I’m a writer who takes all constructive criticism seriously, especially when it’s noted across the board. I rewrote the book three times, softening the bride every time, still receiving that same note about how unlikeable the character was. It doesn’t end there.

I did another rewrite with my agent with the same note, and then my developmental draft with my editor. The comments were becoming softer and less dire, but still here.

Last but not least, the last edit with my copy editor, normally just there to correct grammar and some word usage, returned to me with an email with the suggestion, “Can you soften up Olivia just a little? I think it would help.”

We’ve got to a point where the friendship is believable. Early reviews on Goodreads have pointed out that one thing readers really enjoy is the subplot of the dissolving of the friendship. When you can get up the guts to do it, is a noble event; strong and full of self-respect.

I’ve read on several occasions that breaking up with a friend can be harder than leaving a marriage. I recently ended a 20-year friendship that had been souring over the past five years. Again, the thought always is that they are like family. I’d ended up to saying to friends, “But she wasn’t always like that. She was a good person. You don’t know her like I do. She’s not who you see.”

But she was. And it hurts for a long time. I’ll be honest, it still does sometimes, but not often. The difference between the hurt of a good-friendship-turned-bad, and looking around the room to see love and support, is night and day. It’s the long dark night verious the glorious sunrise on the perfect summer day.

Bridezillas have their place, but watch out! After all these rewrites, they can be comedic alpha-sidekicks, but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Drowning Lessons

(A Red Frog Beach Mystery)
by Rachel Neuburger Reynolds

About the Book
Drowning Lessons (A Red Frog Beach Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Self-Published (May 21, 2019)
Number of Pages: ~290
Digital ASIN: B07PZRR8WC

You are cordially invited to a destination wedding to die for...

Welcome to Bocas del Toro, a remote chain of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama. Five days of glorious sun and lush rainforest await the forty guests celebrating Bridezilla Olivia’s dream wedding—but will a murder sink the catered affair? Before anyone’s got time to start working on a tan, an unfortunate snorkeling accident eliminates a member of the wedding party. Maid of honor Lexie Marino smells trouble, and is thrust into the responsibility of investigating, needing to solve the case before her bestie’s trip down the aisle gets tropically derailed. The show must go on.

Lexie’s a little too tall, a little too awkward, and a little too brokenhearted, but she’s determined to nail the real killer. Can this unlikely sleuth stay afloat as she’s hit by wave after wave of wildly entertaining characters, including an alpha bride, surfing detectives, and a high school flame long forgotten? You’ll find yourself laughing until the very end of Drowning Lessons, a debut cozy mystery that makes the perfect beach read. Rub in some coconut oil, dangle your feet in the crystal-blue waters of Dolphin Bay, and sip a cool drink as Lexie discovers the deductive superpowers she never knew she had. Let the party begin!

About the Author
RACHEL NEUBURGER REYNOLDS is the author of The Red Frog Beach Mystery Series. As a playwright, her plays have had been produced in London, Edinburgh and New York. After 25-years in New York City, she now resides with her husband between London and St Leonards-on-Sea in England. For news about Rachel and the upcoming Red Frog Beach Mysteries, check her out at

Author Links:
Webpage and blog:
Twitter: @rainyday11
Instagram: @rainydaywrites

Purchase Links: Amazon - Kindle

May 21 – Readeropolis – GUEST POST
May 24 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 24 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
May 25 – I'm All About Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 25 – My Devotional Thoughts – REVIEW
May 26 – Teresa Watson – REVIEW
May 27 – Books Direct – GUEST POST
May 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 28 – 4covert2overt ☼ A Place In The Spotlight ☼ - CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 29 – Baroness' Book Trove – REVIEW  
May 29 – Kelly P's Blog – SPOTLIGHT
May 30 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
May 30 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
June 1 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
June 1 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 2 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
June 3 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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1 comment

Get carried away with love!