Though her year-round address is in the Twin Cities, Minnesota author Marjorie Mathison Hance has been coming to Pelican Lake every summer since she was eight years old.
So after retiring from her career as vice president of St. Catherine University in 2012, and turning her attention to writing, it wasn't too much of a surprise that she chose one of her favorite childhood haunts to write about.
"I started writing about people I knew at the lake, just for fun," said Hance.
But when she decided to try and get her work published as a fiction novel, Hance added, she knew she couldn't make any of the characters look too familiar.
"I changed it completely," Hance said of her early musings about life on the lake, which would form the basis of that debut novel, "Murder at Pelican Lake."
"None of the characters are real," she added, though admittedly, some of their personality traits and quirks might have some small similarities to people she's known in real life.
What is real, she added, is the feel of Minnesota lake life that permeates the pages.
"It's what's called a 'cozy' murder mystery," Hance said. "It focuses a lot on the community — and there's not a lot of violence."
Since its debut a year ago, the novel has been quite a success — and to celebrate, Hance will be doing a Brown Bag Lunch presentation at the Becker County Museum this Wednesday, Aug. 28.
"The book is for sale at the museum," she said, as well as a variety of other places in the area — up to and including the Lakeland True Value Store on Highway 59 at Dunvilla, where it has sold 500 copies thus far.
"Isn't that an unusual place to sell a book?" Hance said with a laugh.
In fact, the book has done so well that she's planning a sequel, to be released around Memorial Day next year.
"I'm going to be talking about that a little bit on Wednesday," said Hance, noting that it will be an opportunity for fans to provide a little input about what sorts of adventures will befall her main character, Carley, this time around.
There is no museum admission fee charged during Brown Bag Lunch events, which start promptly at noon. Guests are invited to bring their own lunch, or they can reserve a boxed lunch for $8 by contacting the museum at 218-847-2938 by 10 a.m. on the day of the presentation.