Rolynn Anderson Solves a 1932 Crime!

Today we welcome back a frequent guest: romantic suspense author ROLYNN ANDERSON. In researching her next novel, LIE CATCHERS, Rolynn set sail for Petersburg, Alaska. The small fishing town had an unsolved crime from 1932, the murder of the town’s richest, most beloved merchant: Sing Lee. She’s here to tell us a bit about the real story and how she interwove it with her latest release (which I devoured!)


          by Rolynn Anderson

When: Early 1900’s

Where: Petersburg, Alaska, in the shadow of the LeConte Glacier

Who: Tlingit Indians, Norwegian immigrants. And one Chinese entrepreneur.

Why: The Tlingits and Norwegians made a living as fishermen. Sing Lee, the Chinese entrepreneur, made money off the fishermen.  

How LIE CATCHERS (just released this month) came about:

It’s 2011 and my husband and I are cruising from Washington State to Alaska on our trawler, Intrepid (see picture below).  Never had we covered that distance, much less navigated such difficult stretches of water. Intrepid_at_blue_mouse

We arrived in Petersburg, Alaska, all the strangeness of a scary virgin voyage replaced by our fascination for this charming fishing village.

The town, located on the northern portion of Mitkof Island, was settled first by Tlingit and Haida tribes. Norwegians showed up in the early 1900′s.  Chinese workers soon arrived to gut and package fish caught by the Norwegians.

But one Chinese man, Sing Lee, stood out among the subservient workers. In no time at all, he’d established a country store and built up a reputation as a generous citizen and shrewd businessman. And yes, he may have run a little opium sideline business. (see his picture, below)

Sing Lee

Sing Lee

He was murdered in 1932 and to this day, the crime remains unsolved. I decided to solve the crime in LIE CATCHERS entwining it with a recent murder.

Why? Because I wanted to juxtapose how a crime was handled in 1932 next to a murder managed by authorities in 2014.

My other motivator: absolving the guilt carried by a whole town for never collaring the murderer of an important citizen.

For fun, I stirred in a budding romance between a Petersburg free-lance writer (researching the Sing Lee cold case) and a Treasury agent from Fresno sent to the Alaska town to solve the recent murder. The result is LIE CATCHERS! rolynn_small


 Two unsolved murders will tear apart an Alaska fishing town unless a writer and a government agent reveal their secret obsessions.

Treasury agent Parker Browne is working undercover in Petersburg, Alaska to investigate a money scam and a murder. His prime suspect, Liv Hanson, is a freelance writer struggling to save her family’s business. Free spirited, full of life, and with a talent for catching liars, she fascinates Parker.

Trying to prove she’s a legitimate writer who cares about Petersburg’s issues, Liv pens a series of newspaper articles about an old, unsolved murder. When her cold case ties in with Parker’s investigation, bullets start to fly.

Parker understands money trails, and Liv knows the town residents. But he gave up on love two years ago, and she trusts no one, especially with her carefully guarded secret. If they mesh their skills to find the killers, will they survive the fallout?

I’m wondering if an historical event moved you to research and write a story. Comment on this concept and one of you, chosen at random will win a PDF of LIE CATCHERS (put your e-mail addy at the end of your comment). In addition, I’ll send you a mini-notebook, waterproofed, manufactured by Rite in the Rain.

Buy Sites: Amazon:

Wild Rose Press:



Facebook Page:


Amazon Author Page: Goodreads:


FADEOUT won a RONE award; LIE CATCHERS is a nominee for a RONE award!

Thanks for explaining the story behind the story, Rolynn! Readers, please comment for a chance to win a copy of LIE CATCHERS!

About Sarah Andre

Romantic Suspense That Keeps You Up All Night! I live in sunny FL, love daydreaming, reading and chocolate. I write in the wee hours of the morning before my helpless hubby and 2 male Pomeranian pups awaken with their demands. :) My debut LOCKED, LOADED and LYING is available now.

Posted on April 29, 2014, in Author Spotlight, Sarah Andre and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. A great — and interesting — interview!

  2. We were in Alaska once and would go back in a heartbeat. Great idea. Can’t wait to read the book!

    • Never been. The photos I’ve seen look magnificent but I’m a warm-to-hot weather girl. 😉 Thanks for stopping by, Margo.

      • Sarah, Petersburg, AK is pretty darned nice in June/July. Look forward to my re-visit this summer. I’m organizing a little rendezvous of boats that look just like ours. 5 boats so far. Time for a little lefse and rommegrot! Uff -Da!

      • Sarah, I ALWAYS have a good time on K&T. I’ll keep you up to date on the latest with FEAR LAND and FAINT. Gosh, I find good stories wherever I go…and some of the best come up for grabs on K&T. Thanks for having me…talk to you soon! Rolynn

  3. I’m still so intrigued by this story, Rolynn. I have to find a way to get it, even if my budget cringes. 🙂

    I was curious if there were any legal issues you had to work around in using a real case in your book? How did you get approval to use Sing Lee’s cold case?

    Congrats and best wishes for your book.

  4. What a wonderful sounding book…look forward to reading it…

    • I know! As soon as I heard the premise I forced her to write this blog. Hope you enjoy the novel, Mona, thank you for coming by to comment.

  5. Welcome back, Rolynn! Have you been in touch with the citizens of Petersburg since you’ve published this? I imagine the novel has been snapped up there…so much authentic sounding scenery, shops, vocab in this story. If I lived in a small town I’d be thrilled to see it described in a suspense.

    What’s next for you writing-wise? Travel-wise?

  6. It’s a pleasure to be back on Kiss and Thrill!

    Margo, Angela and Mona, thanks for your enthusiasm! Calisa, I think we writers have quite a bit of free reign to write about people long dead. So little was written about Sing Lee, that seemed important to fill in the blanks. 🙂 One complaint letter from the citizens of Petersburg to the Fed. marshals helped me flesh out the man’s story.

    Sarah, thanks for hosting me today. I’m glad you enjoyed the setting…and yes, Petersburg residents seem pleased with the book. In fact the harbormaster, a free lance writer (same profession as my heroine, can you believe it!), a history teacher and a store owner, have become my friends through writing this story. I’m holding a book signing at Sing Lee Alley Bookstore this summer…so excited about that!

    Here’s the interview the local free lance writer wrote about me. after a phone interview. Yup, we’re cruising up to Petersburg this summer…it will be a grand homecoming!

  7. What a wonderful premise for a story, Rolynn. I can’t wait to read it! And as far as the question goes, I try to write outside of current time. Since I’m not published yet, I keep the current technology and current events to the minimum. But things change so quickly and it’s hard!

    Welcome to K&T today and thank you for a great interview. 🙂

    • Sharon, thank you for your kudos. You’re right, we want to make our novels survive the test of time…which makes it fun to go back in time and tag on to events we don’t remember. Thanks for the warm welcome! Rolynn

  8. Rolynn, welcome back! And wow!! I adore this concept and cannot wait to read this. Congrats on the accolades and another brilliant concept!

  9. Love the concept behind the book, Rolynn. It resonates because everything I write has a germ from something going on in the real world. In fact, my first manuscript was inspired by the Cox report.

    Thanks so much for being here today!

  10. Rolynn, LIE CATCHERS sounds awesome. I think it’s so interesting to see how past patterns of immigration shape the present day community. Just yesterday I was listening to an interview of author Lauren Francis-Sharma. She was talking about her new book Til the Well Runs Dry and the multicultural history of its setting in Trinidad. So many fascinating places in the world to explore!

    • Trinidad…amazing. I have another example…my brother writes about Liberia, a place where slaves were dropped off by early Americans who figured people from Africa would surely get along with the Liberian blacks. Didn’t work out that way! So interesting!

  11. At the risk of sounding redundant, Rolynn, I love the premise of your book! And Alaska is definitely on our next-five-years list. During summer, of course. 😉 Thanks for joining us today!

  12. I can’t wait to read this book! It sounds so good!

  13. Rolynn, I don’t think you answered this part of my multi-part question this morning. What is next for you novel-wise?

    • Sarah, I got carried away with my other answers 🙂 My editor is reading my polished FEAR LAND, centered on anxiety…with a paranormal touch. I had such fun writing it! I’m also 30,000 K into my third book of the Boutique Funeral Planner Series. Remember, she has syncope…names of the novels: FADEOUT, SWOON, and FAINT. I’ll finish FAINT on the boat…hope to have two books out in 2014! Thanks for asking!

  14. Welcome back, Rolynn! Your premise sounds fabulous–right up my alley. 😀 And LOL – every one of my books is inspired in some way by an actual event and in some cases I interweave the true story into the fiction. 🙂

    Also, I’ve used my share of Rite-in-the-Rain notebooks during field work (I live in the Pacific Northwest, we ALWAYS use RitR!) and now (I kid you not) I use them for when plotting inspiration hits me when I’m in the tub or shower.

    • I’m giggling at your use of waterproof paper in the tub. Brilliant! Rite in the Rain sponsors the dog mushers and the crabber of the Bering Straits, but they also decided to sponsor ME! I’m excited to tell you that I got permission to use their brand name in my novel…from the company AND my small press. My mini-books are so cute…and forever waterproof! You and I may be the only ones who know about them…thanks for sharing!

  15. This looks really good! I love books that solve really cold cases–and this one must really cold being in Alaska and all! (Sorry-couldn’t resist)

    What I especially appreciate is that you gave this community some closure, even if it is fictional.

    Thanks for coming to visit!

    Congratulations, Rolynn!

  16. Wow, the day went so fast, Rolynn! Thank you SO much for writing up such a fascinating blog, and we hope you’ll come back soon with FEAR LAND or FAINT.

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