GUEST BLOG: Setting The Book at The Outer Banks by Colleen J. Shogan Plus Giveaway

The latest book in my Washington Whodunit mystery series, Dead as a Duck, doesn’t take place in Washington, D.C. That’s a major departure for me as a fiction writer. Since I began the series with Stabbing in the Senate, I wanted to set a story in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It is a spot of personal significance to me; I have vacationed there for fifteen years. In 2019, my husband and I bought a small house in the northern Outer Banks town of Duck.

Due to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, I spent much more time than usual in the Outer Banks. There were weeks in the winter months when I didn’t see another single living creature on the beach except my dog Conan. I spent many mornings watching the sun rise over the ocean in the morning and then set in the late afternoon hours on the Currituck Sound. During many of those days in the Outer Banks, I worked on revisions and drafts to Dead as a Duck. My time there greatly improved my description of the special coastal setting.

The Outer Banks might be considered “D.C. South” in the summer months. In June, July, and August, hundreds of thousands of people descend upon the Outer Banks for a beach vacation, and many are from the Washington, D.C. area. If Kit Marshall, my amateur sleuth and protagonist, was going to take a summer vacation, it made sense for her to head to the Outer Banks.

There are many reasons to spend time in the Outer Banks. With fewer hotels and high occupancy condo buildings, the beaches aren’t packed, even during the hottest and sunniest days in the summer. There’s a natural beauty to the barrier island that is situated immediately east of the North Carolina coast.

Here are some of my favorite reasons to visit the Outer Banks. Many of these are featured in Dead as a Duck, so please read the book (a perfect summer beach read) to learn more!

    • Watch the wild horses: About twenty miles north of Duck, wild horses descended from shipwrecked Spanish mustangs roam free. There are plenty of tours that enable visitors to observe the horses, but it’s important not to feed or touch them.
    • Wright Brothers Memorial: In Kitty Hawk, see where the story of flight began. Orville and Wilbur Wright first flew a plane at this windy point next to the ocean. The story of the Wright Brothers is one of the most remarkable in American history, so it’s worth taking a break from the beach for a few hours to visit this National Park Service site.
  • Sunrise and sunsets: The Outer Banks is a north-south barrier island off the coast of North Carolina. This means that it’s possible to enjoy both the sunrise (over the Atlantic Ocean) and the sunset (over the Currituck Sound) in the same day! In many popular vacation spots, such as Duck, the island is not very wide. This makes it possible to walk to both the ocean and the sound from many vacation houses.
  • Enjoy the food: The restaurants in the Outer Banks are excellent. Some of my favorites include Roadside (Duck), NC Coast (Duck), and the Rundown Café (ocean view in Kitty Hawk). Most restaurants will feature a catch of the day, which will depend on the season. Crab is always plentiful, with grouper, snapper, and flounder popular in the summer months and tuna and oysters in the winter and spring.
  • Beautiful beaches: Of course, the most important part of a beach town is the beach itself! The Outer Banks is home to two of the top ten beaches in the country (Okracoke and Buxton). In recent years, the Outer Banks has experienced beach erosion due to heightened tropical storm and hurricane activity. Affected towns have undergone beach nourishment projects, which replenish sand and conserve the beach areas. Several locations in the Outer Banks have won awards for their environmentally responsible beach restoration efforts.

About The Book

A Washington Whodunit: Book 7
Publication Date: July 14, 2021

Congressional staffer Kit Marshall is looking forward to a much-deserved summer vacation in the Outer Banks. When the mayor of the beach town turns up dead, Kit and her friends need to put their fun and relaxation on hold to help solve the crime.

August has been a busy month for congressional staffer Kit Marshall. She hit the road with her boss, Congresswoman Maeve Dixon, who is considering running for the United States Senate in North Carolina. After endless town halls and meet-and-greets, Kit is happy to end the tour in Duck, an upscale beach town in the Outer Banks.

Before Kit can relax on her much-deserved vacation with her husband Doug, brother Sebastian, best friend Meg, and beagle mutt Clarence, the body of Duck’s mayor is found floating in the shallow waters of the Currituck Sound.

Kit’s brother Sebastian, who got in a public kerfuffle with the victim the day before, becomes the prime suspect. Solving the mystery takes her to popular hotspots in the Outer Banks, including a private tour featuring the wild horses of Corolla.

Kit must sacrifice sun-filled days of relaxation to clear her brother. In the end, Kit and Sebastian put their own lives on the line to secure a confession from the killer and make sure justice is served.

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About The Author

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at numerous universities. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as a senior executive at the Library of Congress. Currently, she’s a Senior Vice President at the White House Historical Association. A member of Sisters in Crime, Colleen splits her time between Arlington, VA and Duck, NC.



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Dayna Linton
Dayna Linton
Dayna is the owner of not only Novels Alive but of Day Agency, a full-service self-publishing agency for independent authors. She has been assisting independent authors to achieve their dreams of becoming published authors for over 15 years. From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors to the first-time author to every author in between. Dayna is a self-professed bibliophile. While dancing has always been her first love, reading came as a very, very close second, with gardening coming in as a close third. Dayna is also the divorced mom of four adult children and a very proud grandma. She is also a web designer, social media specialist, book blogger, and reviewer. She's a long-time Disney lover and a Utah Jazz, Utah Utes, and Dallas Cowboys fan. See Dayna's reviews here: Dayna's Reviews



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