Why Shakespeare? Carole asked herself when looking for a theme for her first book. When her daughter moved to Ashland, Oregon, home of the famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Carole attended several plays, including Tongue of a Bird. It was held in the smaller Black Swan theater, and involved a search for an abducted girl. This play takes one to metaphysical, spiritual, and psychological worlds. The characters live in varying aspects of each. In a complex way, everything is going on inside the main character’s head.
Carole found the play to be very poetic in its use of language. It managed to just tell the story and then let it be without theatricality getting in the way. The smaller theater was good for hearing the language and getting inside the heads of the characters. The play was an internal journey where you enter the play through your head and leave through your heart, and this is why Carole decided Tongue of a Bird would be one of her first plays in her first book Twisted Vines. Thus, it became one of the first to be performed at the smaller Blackfriars theater, one of two Shakespearean theaters her main character, Caitlyn Pepper, inherited from an unknown aunt. She signed up for behind the scene tours of the Ashland theaters and later met with a stage operations supervisor who sees that all components of a play come together. Talking with him and his willingness to share opened up more avenues that Carole would include in her book and those that followed.
Carole always thought of herself as a casual observer of repertory theater, but once inside the Festival it was obvious to her how music enhanced and nurtured the story. She was full of ideas for her own theaters by bringing Shakespeare to Livermore, California, where she lives. Years earlier she had taken a class in Shakespeare at Livermore’s Las Positas College. Little did she know then how important that class would become when she retired from her job and started writing mysteries.
Carole fell in love with the Bard and attended many more plays. Twisted Vines became the first book in her Shakespeare in the Vineyard mystery series, followed by Sour Grapes and Vineyard Prey. Each book includes a play at both of the theaters simultaneously. One never knows what will spark an idea for the next book.