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For Immediate Release
April 30, 2015

IPFW Professors Get "Cozy" Writing Murder Mystery Series

IPFW Professors Get
Authors Pam and Joe Reese Print-quality image
IPFW Professors Get
Climate Change, the next Nina Bannister cozy mystery Print-quality image

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Nina Bannister is a dear friend of Pam and Joe Reese. The titular character of the Nina Bannister murder mystery book series reads like one of the family for the married faculty members at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). Pam Reese, who goes by the name T'Gracie as an author, is a speech pathologist and assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her husband, Joe Reese, is a playwright and novelist as well as adjunct faculty at IPFW.

"We’ve been writing cozy mysteries for several years now," said Joe Reese. "We love being in a Nina frame of mind."

Nina Bannister was created while T’Gracie was a doctoral student at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Nina is a retired high school principal who has lived her whole life in the quaint town of Bay St. Lucy.

The couple's latest cozy book in the Nina Bannister series will be out next month, titled Climate Change.

So what is a "cozy mystery" and what does it take to be one? Some of the rules seem relatively obvious: the protagonist is usually an older woman. She may be a retired teacher or librarian or she may be an ex-police officer or coroner. She is clever and usually uses her wits rather than pure brawn to get to the murderer before the police can. There is very little violence, practically no obscene words, and little or no overt sexuality. As the Reeses say, "This is one shade of grey."

A true cozy can take place in any location, but the key is not the size of the city but the author’s ability to make the readers feel as though they are part of a neighborhood, each containing its share of loveable, eccentric characters.

"In Climate Change we take on the notion of a cozy parody," said T'Gracie Reese. "We flip the cozy paradigm on its head and have some fun with it. For example, normally on our book covers Nina is always viewed from the back, obscuring her face. This time, we see her head on."

The Reeses hope their fans enjoy this slight twist as much as they enjoyed writing the novel together. The couple says that a Nina novel usually takes around three months to finish. Joe writes every day and T'Gracie gives input as to the plot and murder scenarios.

"Joe is the funny one and I am the mystery reader and descriptive writer," says T'Gracie. "We see mysteries everywhere and work well as a writing team and as partners because we play off each other's strengths."

The Reeses find inspiration and material during their travels together and from mystery writer organizations and conferences they attend. They thoroughly enjoy teaching at IPFW and mentoring budding novelists.

"The secret is to carve out time every day to write," says Joe. "Write when you are freshest and write every day."

For now, Nina Bannister will continue to please fans with her super-sleuthing ways and shows no signs of slowing down.

"There's still a lot of stories to tell and many mysteries for Nina to solve," said T'Gracie. "We look forward to what's in store for her next."

Climate Change debuts next month and is available from Cozy Cat Press via Amazon and the IPFW bookstore. A new website dedicated to all things Nina will launch soon as well, giving fans unprecedented access into the life and stories of the character they've come to love.

For more information, visit the couple's website or contact T'Gracie and Joe Reese at 260-481-6411 or reesej@ipfw.edu.

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