Sacrificing for Research

Please help me welcome Cheryl Hollon as today’s Wednesday’s Guest. Cheryl wrote the cozy mystery Pane and Suffering that I reviewed last Sunday, and she is here to share some of the sacrifices we writers make in the name of research. While she may have struggled a bit to find just the right food and place, it doesn’t sound like it was an awful experience. Smile

As refreshments today, I thought a nice glass of a dark ale might be good. Enjoy….


Hello, Cheryl here with my story of how I selected the brewery for my Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery Series. Thanks so much to Maryann for hosting me and offering the refreshing glass of ale.

Cheryl Hollan headshotThe most enjoyable aspect of writing a mystery novel is the enormous amount of research that must support the story. For my writing to feel authentic, I need to visit a location in person – this is not the case for all writers, but for me, it’s vital. My main character, Savannah Webb is returning to St. Petersburg, Florida, after a five-year absence studying the art of glassblowing. The populace in Seattle spawned a craft brewing revival unique to the Northwest. Savannah loves her craft beer.

While Savannah was gone, St. Petersburg virtually exploded with small batch craft beer brewers. In order to use that as a bridge between the two cities that are meaningful to her, I needed to find a venue for enjoying craft beer. It needed to serve several story needs such as a place to celebrate special occasions and also provide a comfortable environment for discussing the mystery she has agreed to solve.

So, off I went to choose a local brewery by basically visiting every beer bar in downtown St. Petersburg area along Central Avenue. Most were a bit clinical – set up for serious beer tasting with no food and basic furnishings. One was in the right location, but the indoor space was cramped and furnished with high table tops. They served amazing BBQ, but that theme didn’t match with the coastal focus I wanted to emphasize.

Another brewery didn’t have any beers that I liked – I know – hard to believe, but true. It was also very noisy so I couldn’t envision Savannah holding a discussion of the murder investigation if she needed to yell to her posse to be heard.

A highly recommended pub was near the right place, but it was too small and any conversation that the posse might have would be overheard and possibly interrupted by the next patron.

So, just like finding your keys, the last place I looked was perfect. It’s named 3 Daughters Brewing and I found a beer that Savannah would adore. Its called Beach Blonde Ale – delicious. The owner enthusiastically supported the notion of being featured in a mystery series and they have a friendly and inviting space. They have a tasting room in the front and invite food trucks for noshing. They always have two or three new beers to try. The bartenders are experts in beer types and can guide you to a delicious pint with just one or two samples.

The most important aspect of 3 Daughters Brewing is that when you walk in, they make you feel like a regular.

Maryann here, just had to say I love places like that where you feel so at home. We have several here in my small East Texas town, Winnsboro. What about you? Do you have a favorite place to hang out?


Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and the Tampa Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. A mystery conference addict, she regularly attends SleuthFest in Florida, Malice Domestic in Washington, D.C., and New England Crime Bake in Dedham, MA. Cheryl and her husband live in St. Petersburg, FL in a 1920’s Craftsman Bungalow. Learn more at  or visit her on Facebook  and connect on Twitter:  @CherylHollon


Buy link at AMAZON  for Pane and Suffering

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