Gabrielle Meyer has a special fondness for mysteries. Her aunt loved the genre and Meyers remembers seeing stacks of mystery novels towering in her aunt’s house when she was growing up. Most recently, her daughter has fallen in love with Hallmark mystery movies.
“I’ve always liked the genre,” Meyer told Guideposts.org. “But I’ve actually never written in it. I’m excited to put my hand to [mysteries].”
Meyer’s writing—because of her work at the Minnesota Historical Society—has focused on historical fiction influenced by real people, including stories in settings as far flung as the wild west of Texas and Victorian England. Now she’s embarking on a new challenge by writing a modern day mystery set in a hospital in Charleston. Meyer’s love of history and architecture influenced the story.
“If I see something, like for instance with the mystery at Mercy Hospital, I’ve always been really fascinated by secret rooms,” Meyer said. When she started working on the mystery story, she knew immediately she wanted a secret room to play a role in the plot. “Because I’ve always wanted to find one, [and] I never have!”
Meyer’s mystery focuses on Evelyn Perry, who works in the record department at a hospital. Rumors have floated around for years about a secret room in the hospital and when construction unearths a hidden space, Evelyn must investigate who built the room and for what purpose.
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For additional inspiration, Meyer recently took a trip with her husband to some of the cities her stories are set in. She found Charleston particularly inspiring.
“I grew up in the Midwest and so…The history of Charleston is so much older than the history that I’m used to,” Meyer said. “One of the things that I loved is the homes are just breathtaking. The landscape is so pretty, the courtyards and the vines and all of that.”
Her trip also inspired another idea for the next phase in Meyer’s career. She noticed that most of the tour guides at historical sites didn’t have Southern accents. They were staffed by volunteers from the Midwest or the North.
“That has now become my next dream,” Meyer said. “When I retire—I’ve already told my husband—I want to go south and I want to be a guide at some of these historic sites. It [sounds like] a lot of fun!”